Dont Use a Rifle as a Crutch
A recent horrible accident in Oregon is highlighting the basics of firearms safety with the most tragic of punctuations. Sadly, mistakes such as these have consequences that are unavoidable, which is even more reason to follow the four basic safety rules.
The incident in question
On June 27, 2013, in the small town of Grants Pass Oregon, a tragedy occurred. One Jon Andrew Meyer, a self-professed lead bouncer at a Mexican restaurant, suffered a negligent discharge. Any unintentional firing of a gun is dangerous but this particular incident ended in perhaps the most earth shattering of ways. You see the firearm in question was a potentially illegally modified select fire rifle and it sent a burst of through the ceiling of the room in which Mr. Meyer was sitting. This room was the in the two-story apartment of a friend and the burst traveled up through the ceiling of the first floor, into the floor above and the rounds injured an adult and killed a 5-year old little girl upstairs.
While details are sketchy, it appears that Mr Meyer was using the rifle as a crutch to help get him off his friends couch when it went off. The legal team of the alleged shooter is treating the incident as a horrible accident and states that Mr. Meyer did not know the firearm was possible of firing fully automatic.
(Mr. Meyer, AP photo from Grants Pass Police Department)
Let's go over the basic safety rules and see how this could have been avoided.
Rule No 1
Always treat every gun as if they are loaded. Any arm in your area of responsibility, whether it's yours or not. Whether it's real or not. Whether it's functional or not. Should always be treated as if it is loaded and capable of firing. This means rules 2, 3, and 4 are all-time 24-hours a day, 365 days a year in effect.
Rule No 2
Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire. The trigger well of a firearm should always be clear of fingers, toes, sticks, and any other thing that can depress said trigger and make the gun fire until you are aligned with a safe target that you want to destroy and are aware of what is beyond that.
Rule No 3
Be sure of your target and all that is beyond it. This means that whatever you are consciously aiming at is ready to take what you are bringing. An example of a safe target is a paper silhouette held to a box frame stand made of 1" timber in front of a dirt berm higher than your target is tall. A ceiling of a domestic dwelling with people upstairs is not a safe target.
Rule No 4
Never point your firearm at something you are not ready to destroy. For more information on this rule, go back to rule number three and read it again.
These four basic rules, a sum total of 41 words, are what makes responsible firearms owners and save lives.
Meyer is being held on $250,000 bail on charges of manslaughter, assault, and unlawful possession of a machine gun .