When common sense and firearm safety rules are ignored a negligent discharge can happen and, when it does, people die.
A 16-year-old Houston boy is the latest casualty of the Negligent Discharge Games after he and three teenage friends played with a loaded handgun and the firearm ‘went off’.
The handgun didn’t ‘just go off’ of course. One of the four teenagers pulled the trigger, thus ending their friend’s life.
Did they mean to kill this as-yet-unidentified 16-year-old?
I highly doubt it, but the kid is dead nonetheless.
The four were playing with the loaded handgun in an abandoned home located near Beaumont Highway and S. Lake Houston Parkway in Houston, Texas.
A police spokesman said the boys were skipping school and hanging out in the abandoned house when the teenager was struck by a single bullet to the chest. He was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The sheriff’s office added the victim was hit in the chest and a 17-year-old boy admitted to handling the gun when it went off.
The three remaining teens were released to their families. The case is being referred to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for potential charges.
Unanswered questions abound, such as:
- Where did the handgun come from?
- Why were these teenagers playing with a loaded handgun in the first place?
- Why were they never taught proper respect for firearms, including safe handling practices and the four fundamental rules of firearm safety?
The Four Fundamental Firearm Safety Rules
- Always treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
- Always keep the muzzle of the firearm pointed in a safe direction.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- You are not “ready to shoot” unless and until you positively identify your target and what is beyond your target. Only then should your finger touch the trigger.
When These Rules Aren’t Followed Bad Things Happen
Arguably, the most important of those rules is to Keep Your Finger OFF the ‘Bang Switch’.
If you keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, it’s impossible for bad things like shooting your friend in the chest and killing him to happen.
If you’re going to take possession of a firearm, whether legally or not, unless you want to end up like the dead 16-year-old in this story or the 17-year-old who must now live with the fact he murdered his friend, it’s critical to learn the basics of how to handle a firearm safely.
No matter where you live in North America, obtaining proper firearm safety training is easy to obtain.
As I report daily, many people are arrested for illegal possession of a firearm in Canada alone. The numbers are roughly 10 times higher in the United States.
We’re never going to stop people from illegally possessing firearms, but if we can encourage these people to, at a minimum, learn the four fundamental rules of firearm safety, we will save lives.
And if you’re the person illegally possessing a firearm, you may want to make better life choices. The years in prison you save could be your own. You’re worth it. So is the life of the person you injure or kill, whether you meant to or not.