I agree in principle that people have free will and it’s not the job of the state to make decisions for them. But in some cases, allowing people to make really stupid decisions that affect others (what if this guy hit the gas tank?) — well, maybe the state should sort of guide them away from their own worse instincts. Like this guy:
A Spotsylvania County man with a valid concealed-weapon permit died after a semi-automatic pistol without an external safety discharged as he tried to adjust the weapon, which was tucked into his waistband, investigators have concluded.
The 45-year-old man was sitting in the front seat of his family’s minivan in a shopping center parking lot on Sunday when his .40-caliber Glock discharged, authorities said.
“For some reason, maybe for comfort, he reached out and went to adjust it,” said Spotsylvania sheriff’s Capt. Liz Scott. “The detective thinks that in doing so — in just grabbing it — he inadvertently grabbed the trigger.”
“This particular weapon does not have an external safety,” Scott added.
The single shot struck the man in the hip and he bled to death in a matter of minutes, the captain said.
The incident is at least the second in Virginia in 15 months in which a concealed-carry permit holder accidentally shot himself in public.
On Sept. 11, 2010, a Bedford County man with a permit accidentally shot himself in the thigh at a Lynchburg restaurant as he apparently reached into his pants pocket to pay a bartender for a beer. The .45-caliber Glock 36 was unholstered. Permit holders are not permitted to drink alcohol in restaurants while carrying a concealed weapon.
The man was later convicted of recklessly handing a firearm, given a 30-day suspended jail sentence and fined $500. He also was ordered to give up his concealed-carry permit for a year.
In the Spotsylvania case, police said the victim was sitting inside his family’s van with his four children outside the Giant grocery store in the Harrison Crossing shopping center.
As emotionally traumatic as it was for these kids, imagine if he’d shot one of them instead. He’d be up on charges of reckless endangerment! That’s the thing that drives me nuts about the NRA absolutists: They’re not even sensible. Allowing every single person who wants one to strut around carrying a handgun – especially without any kind of training – is just stupid. You wouldn’t let a teenager drive a car without anyone teaching them. How much more dangerous is a gun?
The man’s wife was about halfway out of the van, intending to walk to the store to return a DVD, when she heard a pop, which she and the children, all younger than 10, initially believed was a balloon bursting. There were balloons in the van.
The man threw the gun to the floorboard and said, “Oh my God, I think I just shot myself,” according to Scott.
The man was pronounced dead after being taken to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg.
This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.