SD Kids Rank Third in Accidental Shootings, But… Heritage!

Say, that Sioux Falls paper mentioned on Friday that South Dakota ranks third in the nation for accidental shootings involving kids. But don’t expect South Dakota to do anything about all these guns we have lying around waiting to go off unintentionally and killing more innocent people than Syrian refugees and Clinton e-mails combined, because (says Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead of increasing gun ownership and concealed-carry permits)—

“It’s a heritage in our state,” Milstead said. “And now, more and more people are getting concealed carry permits for a variety of reasons, including protection” [John Hult, “S.D. Ranks Third in Nation for Accidental Shootings Involving Minors,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.10.14].

Darn—I thought my heritage was a social contract with robust civic institutions that mean I don’t have to live in such fear of violent death that I don’t need to constantly carry deadly weapons… which end up causing more violent death.


51 Responses to SD Kids Rank Third in Accidental Shootings, But… Heritage!

  1. mike from iowa

    3 year olds are the main culprit in shooting themselves and others according to latest available info. And you thought the twos were terrible.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/us/guns-children-deaths.html?_r=0

  2. mike from iowa

    Let’s outlaw abortions so more children can legally and constitutionally shoot themselves and others. These murderous toddlers are finding guns at home, unless there is an underground pre-school cabal of gun runners out there.

  3. Porter Lansing

    South Dakota won’t be safe until every child has a concealed carry permit.

  4. mike from iowa

    “It’s a heritage in our state,” Milstead said. “And now, more and more people are getting concealed carry permits for a variety of reasons, including protection”

    If you could only conceal the large bullet holes in those precious little bodies, you wouldn’t upset some of us libs so bad.

    Don’t feed me the pro-abortion bs because you wingnuts don’t give a s##t about children after they are born.

  5. Porter Lansing

    In general, sheriff’s want everyone to have guns and police chiefs don’t and want sensible gun safety regulations. Many believe it’s because sheriffs get elected and keeping people afraid helps with their re-elections. Police chiefs see the danger in having guns everywhere and can speak openly about what needs to be done.

  6. This is not a surprise. Very, very sad, but not a surprise. Haven’t been able to see the statistics between handguns and rifles, but that would be very illuminating.

  7. The issue is not whether or not to own guns but how to keep our families safe from themselves while handling guns. In other words, we need to get serious about gun safety so we can save our children from accidental gun deaths.

  8. Super Sweet

    Require trigger locks. After a rash of suicides we once offered free trigger locks and educated about the need to store weapons in a safe manner.

  9. Super Sweet

    CAH, you may recall that effort.

  10. mike from iowa

    Trigger locks are so annoying when we want to shoot first and worry about the consequences later. Never can tell how much danger an unarmed Black person might put you in. Or your son or daughter sneaking in late at night. Better be safe and fire off a round or two. Can’t do that with an annoying trigger lock-free or not.

  11. mike from iowa

    Haven’t been able to see the statistics between handguns and rifles, but that would be very illuminating.

    WHY?

  12. SuperSweet, I might have missed that initiative. Was it during debate season? I may have been distracted.

    Note that the the gun-safety advocates cited in Hult’s article are taking the same tack: recognizing that passing sensible gun legislation is nearly impossible in the Legislature, they are focusing on education efforts.

    Interesting what you note, Porter, about the difference between sheriffs and police chiefs. That difference wouldn’t exist if the NRA weren’t over-exerting itself to influence elections away from sensible policy and toward gun-manufacturer profits.

  13. But….but, South Dakotans are proud of their ammosexual heritage!
    I’m with Porter – concealed carry permits for children!!

  14. If we are fair here, we should have some analysis which shows what percentage of those accidental shootings occurred with guns associated with someone who has a concealed carry permit or someone who didn’t bother and just left a gun at home. Merely having such a permit does not in itself somehow suggest the carrier is somehow more dangerous. (Correlation does not equal causation)

    Many people have obtained permits in the past several years not because they intent to actually carry a concealed handgun, but because the permit is accepted in many other states via reciprocity agreements that it allows a gun owner to transport the gun across state lines without breaking the law. Personally I went in and got a permit just so I didn’t have to worry about being out of compliance when I have a firearm in my vehicle and am traveling to or from a shooting range. I don’t carry it with me any other time nor do I leave it in my vehicle – but better safe than sorry. Gun law violations are no laughing matter, so I don’t fault anyone for wanting to hold a permit that makes it much easier.

    I sincerely would like to know why our state ranks so high in accidental shootings. Are they isolated to certain areas of the state? Are they caused by handguns more than hunting weapons? What are the ages of the shooters etc? I could draw a lot more conclusions knowing some of this data, but the sheer number won’t provide sufficient detail that would be useful in addressing the problem.

  15. http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/child-injured-killed, this site shows zero gun deaths of children in South Dakota so far in 2016. http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/states/south_dakota/, I couldn’t get 2016 data, but this site shows 551 heartbeats stopped by abortion in SD in 2014 and an average of 718 abortions over the past 12 years.

    You push for stricter gun laws to limit few deaths ( I agree 1 death of a child is too many), but work hard to ensure that 700 heartbeats are stopped each year by abortion. Liberals are certainly confusing in their hypocrisy!

    1 to 3 deaths, very bad!
    700 deaths very good!

    Hmmmm!

    Have a good day all.

  16. Ah Stum – welcome back. After you ran out of the board and claimed you wouldn’t “bother” anyone here anymore I assumed it was yet another one of your claims that wouldn’t hold true. Oh how right I was.

    http://dakotafreepress.com/2016/08/24/thousands-protest-dakota-access-pipeline-at-missouri-cannonball-confluence-in-nd/

    In any case Stum, try to stay on topic. You can dislike abortion, but the law acknowledges that an abortion is legal and thus is not the taking of a human life, nor is it murder or homicide. Yes you might disagree, but that is another discussion entirely and has zero to do with accidental gun deaths.

    Just for reference, we are also not talking about lives lost due to the burning of coal, flooding from climate change, military conflicts, refugee crime, illegal immigrants, capital punishment, poorly maintained furnaces, or missing emails from Hillary Clinton’s server. Maybe that will help you stay on topic for a change.

  17. We’re talking about children dying from ammosexuality not fetuses, Stump. Stay on topic.

  18. barry freed

    Perter, \
    You have it wrong. Sheriffs are elected, so they have to respect the wishes of The People or get voted out of office, whereas Police Chiefs are appointed by the town’s good ol boys and reflect their wishes over The Peoples’.

    Answer: Police Chiefs should also be elected positions.

  19. Barry, Cory will not tolerate nasty comments on here.

    Honestly, gun-loving people that leave their guns laying around so innocent children happen upon them deserve to be called ammosexuals. Own up to your gun problem, gun people!

  20. mike from iowa

    Project HomeSafe, 7/5/2002
    South Dakota statewide gun lock distribution, July 2002
    The state of South Dakota has partnered with Project HomeSafe to distribute gun locks and safety information across the state. Link includes day-by-day distribution schedule and more information about Project HomeSafe.

  21. mike from iowa

    https://everytownresearch.org/documents/2015/04/innocents-lost.pdf

    Interesting stats inside on what guns were used( handgun v long guns v unknown). South Dakota doesn’t list stats for gun deaths they claim because of confidentiality laws. They list it as less then 10.

  22. Heartbeats are heartbeats! Death is death! It is funny how you relish in killing many and moan about statistical small number. But I wouldn’t expect anything different from hypocrites! Guns are also legal and the topic was accidental children killed, so nothing illegal there, just poor judgement on the behalf of parents or adults. I truly tried to stay away, but sometime your little close minded lovefest gets to be more than a sane person can handle. If you want stricter gun laws to save a few lives, why wouldn’t you want stricter abortion laws to save many more lives?

  23. barry freed

    Haven’t read anything after I had my moment, and probably won’t, but I would like to think the folks did a better job raising me than my losing it in my last post. Wish I could delete.

    That said, I’ll be moving on. If I can’t withstand the dog baiting and name calling without going blue, it’s time to go. Life’s too short.

    I sincerely wish everyone the best in having the most fulfilling lives they can create.

    zero results for:
    http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/SearchResults?query=ammosexual

  24. mike from iowa

    Fetal tissue cannot feel pain before 24 weeks of gestation. But you do-gooders throw every obstacle in front of women so they can’t get abortions until much later so you can scream fetal pain,fetal pain.

    Living, breathing children can and do feel pain when their bodies are perforated with bullets. They tend to bleed all over-the inconsiderate little S##ts. They are also curious-unlike wingnuts-and can find guns that are not stored safely and then bad things happen to them. Why do you wingnuts want to make it easier for more toddlers to find more guns by encouraging more parents to have more guns in homes where toddlers find them and shoot to kill?

  25. mike from iowa

    Gee, Stumpy, as a man I have no opinion on abortion one wayor the other. I will never have one. I doubt you will, either. Guns,otoh, are a real threat to each and everyone of us each and every day.

    Your side makes women jump through unimaginable hoops to exercise their constitutional rights. Then you turn around and de-regulate one of the most dangerous inventions known to man.

    I would vote to put more restrictions on abortions the moment you bleeding heart wingnuts pool your resources and adopt every available child and every fetus for the rest of time.

  26. “If you want stricter gun laws to save a few lives, why wouldn’t you want stricter abortion laws to save many more lives?”

    If I was convinced that abortion ended an actual human life I might buy into that logic, but thus far the scientific and medical communities don’t appear to hold consensus. Oddly enough, even the Bible has trouble defining when life begins.

    That said, you’re relying upon a red herring argument in an attempt to shift the debate to a topic you wish to argue. Not because you believe the issue with accidental shootings is not worthy of discussion, but instead because you wish to cause controversy and make yourself the center point of discussion. You continue to be nothing other than a troll with nothing of value to add to the conversation.

  27. Stumpy proves his love for the Trump with the white genocide thought train of abortion. Have you ever noticed that the pictures placed for all of us to see are all white?

    I was in Wyoming this past week on BLM land just enjoying the place. It is hunting season there and we were following a hunting outfit that the passenger was handling his rifle like it was a stick. The dude not only endangers himself and the driver, but also us as we were in range. I have never seen such and insult to a firearm in a long time. It is easy to see that we need to be educated like I was educated in the proper handling of firearms. I have nothing against guns, but only have issues with how they are handled and who handles them. We can do a much better job by taking the time to educate while showing the dangers of ownership. A lock is a pretty good way of keeping young hands out of harms way with your arsenal.

  28. I really wish that we could stop referring to the unintended discharge of any firearm as an accident. There are no accidents with guns. In every single case with absolutely no exception, the very least charge should be for felony gross criminal negligence. If a child is involved the charge should be leveled against whoever is responsible for the weapon. Who knows how many times someone has had some grudge, romantic, financial or what have you, and settled it by inviting the unsuspecting victim out for a hunting expedition and having a gun “accidentally” go off and hit their relative, friend, business partner, etc. If you own a gun you will be held responsible for knowing where it is pointed and what condition it is in at all times. You will be absolutely positive as to whether it is secured, whether it is loaded, and whose hands it is in or you will pay with your freedom to move about and comingle with society.

  29. JonD – do you really believe there are no accidents with guns or are you just being overly dramatic on purpose? What about a hunter who stumbles on a rock they didn’t see while walking a cornfield and the gun discharges? Or someone who removes a handgun from a holster but loses their grip as it bounces on the floor? Or someone target shooting and failed to realize someone walked into the firing line without warning?

    Let’s be honest – accidents happen with guns just as they do with cars, garage doors, and swimming pools. Perhaps much of the time it boils down to human error or perhaps even negligence, but and accident is an accident. We need to be fair about the topic. All guns are not evil just as all cars aren’t evil… even when someone causes an accident.

  30. John Wrede

    Stump doesn’t seem to get it! Even if democrats and everybody else decided tomorrow that abortion was murder and passed legislation that condemned it and made the practice unlawful, it would not stand for more than a month until the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Stump, for crying out loud tune into reality. The only way anyone is going to change the law on abortion is a new set of facts and a reversal by the supreme court. And no, that isn’t going to happen by appointing ultra right wing justices wearing white wigs. Read up on the term stare decisis and how that principle works in the judicial system.

  31. Roger Cornelius

    stum

    Donald Trump always thinks he is the sanest person in the room.

  32. Same old blog. One can add nothing to the conversation, unless you fall in step with your viewpoint. Guns are constitutionally protected also. Irresponsible behavior leads to accidental gun deaths and irresponsible behavior leads to unwanted pregnancies, but you only want to make gun owners responsible. If you can not see your hypocrisy you are beyond help!

  33. John Wrede

    Failure to recognize the obvious is not a virtue Craig. Accidents are preventable and firearms accidents are no different. After teaching Hunter education, firearm safety and even bowhunter education for better than 30 years, to well over 5000 South Dakota kids, I’m here to say, unequivocally, that any so called “accident” is not an accident if a person has been previously taught or otherwise notified of conditions and circumstances. For every circumstance you cite, every firearm and Hunt Safe Instructor I’ve ever known or worked with or has read the same manual has taught how to prevent those circumstances. Examples: Person withdraws a handgun out of a holster, loses his grip on it and it falls to the floor and discharges. Prevention taught: NEVER STORE A WEAPON IN A HOLSTER WITH A ROUND IN THE CHAMBER. Get the Batt Masterson cowboy in the street thoughts out of your head. Person stumbles on a rock in a corn field (personally, I’ve never seen a farmer farm a field with rocks big enough to stumble over but that is another issue) and falls discharging the weapon. Prevention taught: “6 APPROVED METHODS OF CARRYING A FIREARM IN THE FIELD WHILE ALWAYS BEING AWARE OF WHERE THE GUN IS POINTED! (Shoulder Carry, Elbow Carry, Two Handed carry, Trail carry, Cradle Carry, Sling Carry, You’ll notice that in each of those carries, the gun is pointed either up in the air or directly into the dirt so in the event of a fall and discharge, the round travels in a direction causing the least potential for harm. Someone walking into the line of fire without warning. Prevention taught: BE AWARE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT IS BEYOND!!! In every one of those cases, it is the shooter, not the victim that is responsible no differently than if they were driving a car and failure to get training is not an excuse. South Dakota has several cases of liability against hunters for “negligent” handling of firearms…… Many states require that individuals complete a hand gun competency and carry course before being permitted and that needs to happen in SD. If a child accidentally shoots himself or another or causes damage, whomever owns that gun should be held liable for it’s security as well as it’s use. The Firearm and Hunter Education Program teaches repeatedly that guns not in use must be cleaned and properly stored and secured so that unauthorized and unqualified persons and children do not have access to them. Hunter Education and Firearm Instructors across this nation have taught for years not to store guns of any kind behind the door, in a closet or left on the kitchen table. If we have been teaching those principles for over 50 years, there is cause and reason for it and just because some people don’t recognize them doesn’t absolve them of responsibility for their negligence and saying ” I should have known” after somebody is dead or laying, incapacitated for life doesn’t lessen the suffering or the responsibility.

  34. No drama on my part whatsoever, Craig. I mean every word. I won’t respond to your examples of forgivable accidental discharges as John Wrede has done that better than I could have. But I want to say that there is some tiny grain of truth in the NRA-fueled hysteria concerning loss of second amendment rights. With each firearms death the general public becomes more concerned about the fact that Americans as a society tend to view guns as toys and props rather than giving them the sober, thoughtful consideration they deserve. If we wish to be an armed society we must accept the terrible responsibility that comes with it.

  35. Only Stumcfar could equate teen pregnancy with a loaded gun and get by with that on this blog. It is good that this blog is so liberal else someone could take that the wrong way…

  36. Roger Cornelius

    JohnD may be right in that we should quit calling these acts as accidents.

    Perhaps the more appropriate phrase should be ‘reckless irresponsible behavior’.

  37. mike from iowa

    Now Stumpy is saying women getting raped is irresponsible behavior if they get pregnant. What if they don’t get preggers, Stumpy? Did they not get raped?

  38. I would mention, however, that walking in a cornfield or anywhere else with a gun that is off safe and ready to fire is a bad idea to begin with. One of the many reasons I like my Mossberg shotgun is the thumb-operated safety right there on top of the receiver. It’s simple to flick it off as the gun is coming to your shoulder without wasting valuable time. Choose guns that suit you and respect them.

  39. mike from iowa

    barry freed-those three little letters uttered today were uttered last week here, although I’m guessing in a different context. FWIW you are not the only one.

  40. John Wrede: “Accidents are preventable and firearms accidents are no different.”

    Sure most accidents are preventable, but one can never say all accidents are preventable. That is why they are call accidents. We understand even the best driver may end up in an accident one day due to any number of factors that had nothing to do with driver skill or preparation. Same is true with a firearm owner, which is why even well trained firearms instructors have been injured or killed or have injured or killed others after having spent hundreds or perhaps thousands of hours in training.

    To suggest all accidents are preventable is dishonest and unrealistic. I don’t care what product we are talking about, it just isn’t possible in our world because our world isn’t perfect.

    “Examples: Person withdraws a handgun out of a holster, loses his grip on it and it falls to the floor and discharges. Prevention taught: NEVER STORE A WEAPON IN A HOLSTER WITH A ROUND IN THE CHAMBER.”

    Members of the military and police officers are often required to have a round in the chamber of a weapon. They don’t have the luxury of taking time to chamber a round before they may need the weapon. Firearms instructors also teach these techniques at ranges where a round is in the chamber when unholstering. We aren’t talking about John Wayne trying to show off to his buddies as he pulls his weapon – even the most highly trained user could lose their grip and it could result in an accident. Humans aren’t robots and mistakes do occur. Is something like this preventable? Sure – just tell them to not drop the gun I suppose, but again if we could predict an accident we wouldn’t have one.

    “Person stumbles on a rock in a corn field and falls discharging the weapon. Prevention taught: “6 APPROVED METHODS OF CARRYING A FIREARM IN THE FIELD WHILE ALWAYS BEING AWARE OF WHERE THE GUN IS POINTED!”

    Again accidents can occur even if they aren’t the “fault” of the person with the gun. I’ve hunted enough to know that sometimes people are out of position from where they should be. I’ve also witnessed other hunters (illegally) enter private land from another access point and it wasn’t until we exited the corn field did we realize they were there. Had someone fell and discharged a firearm – even in a direction considered “safe”, it could have ended badly because people can’t see through cornfields and we can’t always predict where someone would be when they aren’t supposed to be there in the first place. This is even more of an issue with high caliber rifles during big game season when you have idiots who don’t follow the law and don’t wear their orange vests or hats and who trespass on private property.

    “Someone walking into the line of fire without warning. Prevention taught: BE AWARE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT IS BEYOND!!!”

    Let’s get realistic. There are rules at ranges that are designed to prevent people from entering the firing line – and humans sometimes break rules. It is not always the person using the firearm who is to blame.

    We can discuss scenarios all day, but I’ll never concede that all accidents are preventable when you have a human being in the equation. In addition to those above, we also have issues with faulty weapons. Isn’t it Winchester who has a series of weapons which have occasionally fired without anyone pulling the trigger? Now obviously someone shouldn’t be pointing a gun at anything they don’t intend to kill so this shouldn’t result in an accident – but things happen no matter how much preaching we do.

    “If a child accidentally shoots himself or another or causes damage, whomever owns that gun should be held liable for it’s security as well as it’s use.”

    So what if a gun owner locks up a handgun in a gun cabinet, but their teenager breaks into the cabinet and takes the gun to do some plinking, and then later the teenager leaves the gun in his car where a friend grabs it and pulls the trigger shooting himself in the leg. Is the gun owner still responsible even though they took precautions to secure the firearm? Sure the accident is preventable if people weren’t idiots, but teenagers (and many adults) aren’t always known for their strong logic. Some anti-gun people would lock up the gun owner and say they should have done more, but I can’t support that stance just as I couldn’t wouldn’t charge a parent with vehicular manslaughter if their kid steals the car keys and mows down a pedestrian at 2:00am.

    Bottom line, accidents will continue to happen, and not all accidents are 100% preventable in the real world. We can do what we can to minimize them, and we can prosecute those who knowingly break the laws, but I’m not ready to prosecute someone who is a responsible gun owner involved in an accident anymore than I would be ready to prosecute someone who is a responsible driver who is involved in an accident unless there were clear signs of negligence.

    I do find it somewhat interesting however that we put so much focus on gun accidents even though far more kids are killed via alcohol and automobiles… neither of which are protected in the Constitution.

  41. Driverless cars are coming and are supposed to decrease the number of auto accidents.

  42. Yes Jenny – I’m sure they will decrease the number of accidents greatly when they are fully implemented (many decades from now I imagine). However they likely can’t ever prevent all accidents, and in the event a pedestrian runs out in traffic, companies like Mercedes-Benz have already announced they will put driver safety ahead of non-driver safety, so you may still have accidents that result in injury or death even though the “driver” and car are not at fault.

    Humans will always be human. It is our greatest weakness.

  43. John Wrede

    I’m not going to over labor this subject any further except to say that Stumcfars statement that “guns” are constitutionally protected is the commonplace, ill informed rebuttal from people that have no understanding of either the 2nd Amendment or virtually all of the Supreme Court Rulings that have interpreted the intent of the Amendment. Guns are not protected. Period! The individual citizens right to possess firearms is guaranteed but that is where it all ends. The 2nd Amendment does not prevent the states or even the Federal Government from installing “conditions” or “qualifications” of possession and use and that fact is evident in every state in the US. There is nothing in the 2nd Amendment language or case law that represents a bar to government to prohibit possession of specific types of firearms. It would be legitimate and theoretically consistent with the Constitution if government were to restrict ownership and use of firearms strictly to muzzleloading firearms that were the only guns of familiarity to the framers of the Constitution. To suggest that Madison, Hamilton, Wilson and company understood and supported semi-automatic military combat weapons in the hands of civilians is delusional. The mere fact that states require “concealed carry” permits as an example, or that they require training before an individual can be permitted” can not be said to be noxious to the 2nd Amendment any more so than restrictions preventing ownership of machine guns, grenade launchers etc. State wildlife agencies and legislatures have been “regulating” gun use for decades (number of rounds in the magazine for waterfowl, mandatory shotshells for waterfowl and upland birds, no more than 6 rounds in a magazine for big game, caliber restrictions for big game, etc etc. etc. Guns are not constitutionally protected. That is just typical NRA deception and trash talk. The right to possess firearms is what is constitutionally protected and that right is not absolute. What is going to emphasize that reality is the failure of firearms owners to become wholly responsible and accountable for the things that happen with their guns. Like most everything else that can cause personal injury and property liability, gun owners may just likely be required to purchase and maintain insurance to indemnify themselves against injury or loss and if they don’t, it can be made a criminal offense. I’d rather not see it come to that but it might just because there are some gun owners out there that ignore the duties and responsibilities of the whole culture and hang their hat on constitutional language that doesn’t exist. That neglect is going to come back and bite all of us in the butt. If the scuba diving industry can require education and certification before a person can fill a tank with air and go diving, the firearm industry can do a whole lot better than include trigger locks with each new gun manufactured and sold. Something that some manufacturers have been doing as a matter of course to avoid liability. All the signs are there, it is just that some people don’t want to deal with it.

  44. mike from iowa

    “Examples: Person withdraws a handgun out of a holster, loses his grip on it and it falls to the floor and discharges. Prevention taught: NEVER STORE A WEAPON IN A HOLSTER WITH A ROUND IN THE CHAMBER.”

    Isn’t this one of the very first lessons in handling firearms safely? Should be no need to re-learn this. Therefore, imho, it is not an accident but negligent handling and should be subject to penalties.

  45. Again Mike, police officers (and I presume anyone in law enforcement or on a military security type role who would have a handgun) don’t have the luxury of time to chamber a round before using their weapon. This may not apply to your average citizen, but there are some times when it is warranted.

    I’m not saying it is likely, but merely using it as an example of what could potentially occur. In most cases if this did occur perhaps the person is negligent, but I’m not going to far as to suggest they are always negligent 100% of the time and should be penalized or charged with a crime without seeing the details of each individual case. I’ll say that about firearms just as I would say it about power tools, automobiles, or kitchen knives.

  46. mike from iowa

    Craig, where would you draw the line of your personal comfort? How many innocents must die before you decide their deaths are unacceptable?

    Having to allow this to occur even once is a price I am not willing to pay for someone’s alleged 2nd amendment rights to unfettered access to guns.

  47. John Wrede

    Semi-auto handgun manufacturing has come a long way in the last 15 years with advanced, built in, “idiot proofing” that has a likely will continue to prevent unintentional discharges like dropping guns on the ground and causing them to go off. That potential has been greatly reduced but all that new technology doesn’t remove the risk from wheel guns and older semi-autos, particularly those with exterior hammers. When LE used wheel guns, it was indeed common practice to leave the hammer over an empty cylinder. In a firefight, the officer was going to use, and was in fact trained to use, the double action feature that revolved the cylinder to a new, loaded chamber. Newer wheel guns are designed with a hammer stop feature that will not allow the gun to go off without pulling the trigger. Many handguns today have “trigger safety’s” that prevent the gun from discharging unless the trigger is intentionally pulled to full engagement allowing the sear to release the hammer or firing pin. All this is mute. The dropping the gun thing is not that much of an issue except with old firearms and there are still “millions” of those things floating around on the streets and in collections. I’ve got three of them in my collection and they are always in the gun safe. The industry has made great strides in making new firearms safer and there are legal reasons and precedent for them to do that. All that does is mitigate their responsibility in any event that might suggest or involve liability. If you have children in the house, (either your own or the neighbors) it is commonly understood that they are curious and have no understanding of firearms and are prone to play “cops and robbers” or some other game that could end up in tragedy. Knowing that, and still leaving a gun and ammo laying about within easy access, is an invitation to disaster and adults, sane or not, are cognizant of that potential. Failure to provide due care and avoid such circumstances is a duty not a choice. Failure to perform that duty in a satisfactory way is negligence.

  48. MFI: “Craig, where would you draw the line of your personal comfort? How many innocents must die before you decide their deaths are unacceptable? ”

    That is a ad hominem and not applicable to this issue. I made so such claims about my “comfort”, but the reality is there are such things as accidents. If someone is stupid enough to leave a loaded weapon under the seat of their car or in their bedside table and a kid finds the gun and shoots someone then that gun owner should be held responsible. Those aren’t the type of “accidents” I’m referring to. However we need to be realistic and not make blanket claims that suggest every time there is an accident with a gun that someone should go to jail or be held criminally responsible. That type of thinking will get us nowhere.

    John: “Semi-auto handgun manufacturing has come a long way in the last 15 years with advanced, built in, “idiot proofing” that has a likely will continue to prevent unintentional discharges like dropping guns on the ground and causing them to go off.”

    Sure, but such accidental discharges could still occur with the millions of older firearms that exist in our nation, and that example is just that… one example. There are obviously countless ways that an accident could occur and we can’t legislate them out of existence.

    If someone is negligent with a firearm or doesn’t bother to secure them or take precautions then by all means hold them accountable, but I won’t support prosecuting a gun owner for making an honest mistake such as forgetting to unload a round from the chamber before putting the gun in the back seat of the truck or for shooting at a target on private land only to realize someone had trespassed and was hit by a stray round. We don’t prosecute people for making stupid mistakes in vehicles or with lawn mowers – guns shouldn’t be any different and each case should be decided upon its own merits.

  49. mike from iowa

    Craig- In most cases if this did occur perhaps the person is negligent, but I’m not going to far as to suggest they are always negligent 100% of the time and should be penalized or charged with a crime without seeing the details of each individual case.

    You say it is not about comfort, yet you seem to be “uncomfortable” about claiming negligence 100% of the time.

  50. John Wrede

    There are other, perhaps more appropriate ways to hold people accountable and I mentioned some of them. One of them is required insurance. As it stands right now, virtually every form of “accident” that occurs in our society is covered by some form of insurance; be it motor vehicle insurance, home owners insurance, property insurance, liability insurance, medical insurance, malpractice insurance etc etc ad nauseum. Every bit of it operates under the assumption that accidents are preventable and therefore there is culpability. The dilemmas have become so complicated that now, in the case of motor vehicle insurance, we have “no fault insurance” just to avoid the issue of who is at fault and for what. The insurance just pays up for the damage and then argues which company is going to indemnify the other. In law, we have, in this state, several statutes that already criminalize negligent use of guns and other inherently dangerous articles. “Reckless discharge of a firearm”, “negligent homicide” and in the case of a private property owner who charges for recreation on his property, he can be sued for damages etc. for negligence and the torts of his clients that result in harm, death or property damage. Punishment is not the primary goal in any of this. Addressing harm and negligent behavior is and we already criminalize acts of negligence. There is even such a thing as contributory negligence. The rest of the “failure to take due care” issues should be exposed under insurance and indemnification. Insurance pretty much takes care of the “negligent 100% of the time” issue and it also settles the issue of fault- even if it isn’t right some of the time. I’m not advocating the we should install mandatory insurance requirements for gun owners nor am I prepared to support such a measure but what I am asserting is that gun rights advocates seem to want to hang their hat on the 2nd Amendment to the degree that it absolves them of all responsibility for what happens with inherently dangerous instruments. Thus far, we’ve listened to that sort of smoke and mirrors and we shouldn’t. There are a whole lot of us out here that go to extraordinary lengths and training to act responsibly, carefully, and intently with guns we own and there is no reason in the world why we shouldn’t expect the same from every other gun owner or would be gun owner. If those of us who are responsible, don’t hold those that aren’t responsible to some equitable standard, those people in high places with different ideas are going to make every one of us pay the price of more restrictions, more requirements, and fewer options. Gun owners are in the minority and we either clean up our collective act or somebody is going to do it for us.