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Thread: "Accidental" Discharge

  1. #1
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    So first off, i appologize if i offend anybody. i don't mean to be shooting off at the mouth sounding like you guys are wrong. I mean this more in a "just an observation" kinda way.


    So i often see the words "accidental discharge" used here. I would like to find out if anybody has ever actually SEEN a accidental discharge with their own eyes??? The reason i say that is because i do not believe there are "accidental discharges".

    I'll try to explain by using a conversation my wife and me had a while back:

    Wife: ........i'm just worried because what if it accidentally goes off and hurts somebody?

    Me: How in the world does a gun accidentally go off???

    Wife: well lets say a friend wants to see it, and you let him hold it and he accidentally pulls the trigger while it's loaded.

    Me: that is NOT AN ACCIDENT. 1st: if my friend or anybody wants to see it, they can LOOK WITH THEIR EYES and see it just find in it's holster on my hip. 2nd: if for any reason i do decide to hand it over it, i should ALWAYS make sure i remove the magazine and empty the chamber. THEN VERIFY that there is no bullet in the chamber and the gun has the safety on. and then still handle the gun and pass it over as if it was loaded. BUT if for some reason he still finds a way to miraculously discharge a fully emptied gun and injures somebody, then that is still NOT AN ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE. it is NEGLIGENT discharge. and it is MY FAULT. for the very simple fact that the second i reached for my holster to hand over the weapon, it no longer was an accident, but MY FAULT.



    in my opinion, an "accident" would be if the gun was laying on the table and suddenly a earthquake shook the gun off the table and it fired off all by itself. and in all honestly how often does something like that happen???


    so anytime a gun discharges WHILE IN SOMEBODIES HANDS, i believe it should be called NEGLIGENT discharge.





    i've also heard (not sure how true this is) that certain training agencies that handle stuff like SWAT and other law enforcement have removed "accidental" discharge from their training vocabulary and replaced it with NEGLIGENT discharge.

    my wife who was active duty in the military said they always had these "accidental" discharges on base. but when i asked her if she has personally ever SEEN one of these accidental discharges, she said she had never actually seen it, just heard about them. so i explained to her that what most likely happened is that you have thousands and thousands of kids who constantly join the military. therefore there is alot of gun training and handling going on. and probably 1/2 of these kids have no business being around guns because they aren't responsible enough to take them serious, and BANG..................there is your so called "accidental discharge", which would most likely turn out to in fact have been a NEGLIGENT discharge due to lack of precautions or improper handling.

    after i explained that to her, and she realized the fact that she has NEVER seen one of these accidental discharges, she did calm down alot.






    I was just curious what you guys thought about that. In my opinion accidental is just as wrong of a word and can be mis-used by the media the same way assault rifle is constantly mis-used by the media. because "accidental" discharges are just another of the many reasons people are afraid of guns.

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    Regular Member MarlboroLts5150's Avatar
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    I agree 100%. I'm a Navy firearms instructor, as far as I am concerned, the ONLY "accidental" discharge would be a firearm malfunction (i.e. something internal BREAKING), although rare, it does happen.



    Anything else in my book is negligent handling by the user. PERIOD.
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    There are three types of discharge -

    Intentional

    Negligent

    Weapon Malfunction



    If you "accidentally" discharge a weapon, it is negligent. If the weapon discharges due to malfunction then it's a malfunction. The only accidents that involve firearms also involve negligence, in my opinion.

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    CarryOpen wrote:
    There are three types of discharge -

    Intentional

    Negligent

    Weapon Malfunction



    If you "accidentally" discharge a weapon, it is negligent. If the weapon discharges due to malfunction then it's a malfunction. The only accidents that involve firearms also involve negligence, in my opinion.
    I'll have to agree with that assessment.

    However, I have heard of and even experienced mechanical failures resulting in accidental discharges of firearms.

    Not all firearms were made with wonderous levels of engineering and safety.

    I was chambering a round in my Yugo SKS once. A favored, cheap, C&R rifle, some people like to ride the bolt when placing a round into battery, I follow instructions and pull it back and release it letting the nature of the spring do the work, fine that is how the gun is supposed to function. Except the free floating firing pin hit the primer with enough force to cause a slam fire. I consider that a design flaw and therefore an accidental discharge. Thankfully my rifle was pointed downrange and not at the person standing very close to me (whom I scared the living daylights out of). If I hit that person, then we would have been talking about negligent homicide.

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    When talking about firearms, I liken the word accident to the definition that there is some fault on one side or another. In the case of a malfunction,I don't see it as an accident until negligence gets involved. I guess one could look at it either way.

    There are definitely such things as unintentional discharges that are not the fault of the operator. They can still become negligent discharges if the operator is not aware of his/her muzzle direction, target or backstop. Negligence can also come from bystanders, if they choose to put themselves or others in harms way.

    I think we're on the same page.

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I am a victim of a mechanical failure where the trigger was not pulled, and my pistol shot me. Some call this "accidental", but I do not. I consider it negligent, same as every other unintended discharge.

    I am a firm believer in the rule that all guns are always loaded, no matter what. But at the same time, intentionally putting a round in a gun is to intend to make it able to fire. I put a round in the chamber not knowing my CZ52 was so unsafe. That is why it was my fault. I intentionally made it ready to fire, and failed to obey the 4 rules after that.

    A gun cannot make choices, but humans can. Even a gun with mechanical problems cannot choose to go off. It absolutely takes human error, and nothing else.


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    I can't say that I completely agree that any mechanical failure is born of operator negligence. If it was neglect of weapons care or understanding then I do agree, but some mechanical failures are not forseeable by the owner.

    If you have made every reasonable attempt to make the weapon "safe" and it discharges after the fact then I do not consider this negligence. If you park your car and put on the emergency brake, is it negligence on your part if the car rolls out into the street? It might be negligence from the factory, of course, but you certainly did your part.

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    CarryOpen wrote:
    I can't say that I completely agree that any mechanical failure is born of operator negligence. If it was neglect of weapons care or understanding then I do agree, but some mechanical failures are not forseeable by the owner.

    If you have made every reasonable attempt to make the weapon "safe" and it discharges after the fact then I do not consider this negligence. If you park your car and put on the emergency brake, is it negligence on your part if the car rolls out into the street? It might be negligence from the factory, of course, but you certainly did your part.
    Which is actually why I am looking to make the firing pin my SKS spring loaded, in the worse case scenario, (with the gas tube in the on position for normal operatoin) and more than one bullet, these rifles have been known to slamfire every bullet in the magazine until empty or until the forces in play frees up the pin. Thankfully, my case set off a single shot.

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    CarryOpen wrote:
    I can't say that I completely agree that any mechanical failure is born of operator negligence.* If it was neglect of weapons care or understanding then I do agree, but some mechanical failures are not forseeable by the owner.*

    If you have made every reasonable attempt to make the weapon "safe" and it discharges after the fact then I do not consider this negligence.* If you park your car and put on the emergency brake, is it negligence on your part if the car rolls out into the street?* It might be negligence from the factory, of course, but you certainly did your part.

    right AND wrong.

    failure from the start or "manufacturer defect" would not be your fault. injury resulting to OTHERS from the matter would be negligent, because nobody should be in the line of fire.

    but failure due to improper care aside from manufacturer defect such as lack of maintenance, falls under negligent in my opinion.

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    Michigander wrote:
    A gun cannot make choices, but humans can. Even a gun with mechanical problems cannot choose to go off. It absolutely takes human error, and nothing else.
    Well said.

    There are no accidents with a key in the ignition or a round chambered; for the reasons stated so well above.

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    I saw a negligent discharge occur once while in bootcamp. This happened after we had returned to company barracks, froma day of simulated fire battle training (using blanks and muzzle blocks).

    Before we turned our weapons in to the armory we had to clean them, so we all went up to our barracks and dumped our muzzle blocks and grabbed our cleaning kits and came back down to our formation area. I was watching this one soldier as he sat down to begin breaking down his M-16 when he stood it up on it's butt stock and pulled the trigger to decock it and POW Scared the crap out of everyone, including him.

    How anytime we trained with our weapons using live ball or blamks we had to clear our weapons in front of one of the OTC CPL's and show our mags to make sure no one returned to company with ammo. Usually when we cleared for the CPL our weapons would be pointed upwards. On this day, my guess is that the extractor didn't catch on the cartridge to pull it out of the chamber and neither the soldier or the CPL did a visual check of the chamber. Negligence right there. Then assuming that his weapon wasn't laoded when we got back to company, the soldier pulled the trigger and got a surprise. Lucky that it was pointed at the ceiling and was only a blank.

    Yeah, he caught some hell over it. So did the CPL that was suppose to have checked our weapons.

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