Bad day at the gun store (long)


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Universal
June 6, 2005, 10:08 AM
I would like to share my weekend adventure at the gun department at a large sporting goods store. This place has everything and that includes row upon row of long guns. All these are supposed to have trigger locks on them so everyone is free to handle any gun they choose. There are signs posted that no one under 18 can handle the weapons. Funny enough, most of the clerks there look to be no older than 18 themselves. Now, up until now I have liked the place and they do have pretty good service and I really can not blame the store for what happened. I was checking out some used rifles when, out of the corner of my eye, noticed a guy with his two little kids walk up to a rack down row from me, pick a rifle up, bring it up looking for something to aim it at and chose to aim directly at my chest. My reaction was to get the heck out of the way and I must confess I got rather upset. I told him to please not do that and he said sorry. Then his kid piped in and said that the gun was not loaded. I told the kid that it did not matter and that it simply was poor gun handling. The dad then got mad and said that he did not actually aim it at me. At this point I wanted to punch the guy but felt that it might be out of line. I did not want to be the person to lecture the guy in front of his kids, nor did I feel that it was my responsibility to teach his children about gun safety. I thought of ten things I could have said but did the grown-up thing and simply walked away. I thought about saying something to the clerks but they were standing around not paying attention to anyone. I have decided that I am not comfortable going to big gunstores like this and I prefer that any given store have most of their weapons, if not all, behind the counter.

Anyway, thank you for letting me went and feel free to comment.

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roo_ster
June 6, 2005, 10:20 AM
What did Mark Twain write about those unloaded guns?

Dad should have taken the situation in hand and kept his kiddo from covering folks with the muzzle.

TonyB
June 6, 2005, 10:22 AM
This is why they need a policy of having a clerk with a customer who handles a gun.....maybe write the store and suggest it.
Of couse I've had the same thing happen(unsafe handling)with employees of gun shops too......people are basically morons..... :D

foghornl
June 6, 2005, 10:33 AM
What I said to a MORON DAD a few weeks back...

"...Here Pop, you stand over here where I was, I'll go over to where your unsafe kid is, and do what he did. See if you think it is pointed at you or not, and if you are sure it is empty."

End of discussion. Pop and kid left store.

SASS#23149
June 6, 2005, 11:48 AM
it was the DAD doing the deed,not the kid.The kid prolly knew better.:(
I agree it's a little better to have not so many guns available to so many people at one time to (mis)handle.On the other hand I do like being able to handle 'em ,so it's a catch 22.

sssteinkamp
June 6, 2005, 12:07 PM
Reminds me of my father's last words.

"Don't, son! That gun is loaded!"

Mr. Smith

Spreadfire Arms
June 6, 2005, 12:14 PM
i suppose the right thing would have been for an employee to intervene and moderate the issue. if i had two guys in a pickle over this i'd certainly try to moderate it and explain that it is a bad practice to point a firearm, either loaded or unloaded, at a person. however there is no need for this to escalate.

kfranz
June 6, 2005, 12:19 PM
At this point I wanted to punch the guy but felt that it might be out of line.
It would have been. Good choice there.

I did not want to be the person to lecture the guy in front of his kids,
Nobody wants to, but sometimes (like this one) it needs to be done. Really didn't need a lecture either, just pretty much to do what foghornl said.

nor did I feel that it was my responsibility to teach his children about gun safety.
It isn't your responsibility to teach them about gun safety, but I think it was a good time to give the kid a reminder of the 4 rules.

I thought of ten things I could have said but did the grown-up thing and simply walked away.
You did the adult thing when you called Dad on his poor choice of targets. Walking away at that point probably was a pretty good idea, although I certainly would have replied to his "said that he did not actually aim it at me" while walking away.

mmike87
June 6, 2005, 12:24 PM
You should have just asked him how he would have felt if someone pointed the "unloaded" gun at him or his kid. Would that be OK? The answer had better be "yes."

In order for safe gun handling to become a habit, you have to do it ALL the time. By doing it ALL the time, then you'll automatically do the one time when it really matters and probably prevent a tragic accident.

DigMe
June 6, 2005, 01:40 PM
Personally I don't think this would cause me to stop going to the store (Gander Mountain by chance?) because I've heard of this happening a lot in smaller, independent gun stores and I've seen it and had it happen to me in gun stores as well. It's definitely not something that only happens in department stores.

brad cook

Tharg
June 6, 2005, 01:42 PM
Even tho the "odds" are good the gun ain't loaded - i'm of the same mind you are.... don't be pointing farking barrels at me!

Thinking of proper handling.... i went to Dave and Busters w/ my friend a couple of weeks back and was playing that time cops or whatever game... (toy gun - cable out the bottom etc)

I had to giggle at myself... when it was a pause in the action, or a cut scene or any time when i was NOT shooting at something i had my finger off the trigger, gun in a safe direction(in the middle of a D&B's... up is about it... rofl) ... it struck me as funny as hell that its that ingrained in me, on a big light blue plastic gun w/ a thick re-inforced cable comming out of the bottom.

<sigh> rofl

J/Tharg!

spacemanspiff
June 6, 2005, 01:48 PM
so far i've been lucky. working for wild west guns on saturdays, i havent had to witness bad gun handling. in fact, every gun i hand to a customer is returned as i handed it to them, actions open.


tharg, i do the same thing. funny thing is, i always seem to get higher scores than the kiddies that shoot 'banger style and keep their booger-hooks on the trigger at all times. and my game time lasts longer cause i wait behind cover until the enemy stops shooting.

Universal
June 6, 2005, 01:48 PM
I really appreciate all your input. I was a little worried that maybe I had overreacted. My wife's response was "I am surprised you did not take him down." I am a former police officer and I really hope that if he had been closer to me, that I at least would have pushed the weapon out of the way since that is what I was trained to do. I am glad that my reaction was to move and look for cover. I did this without even thinking.

I agree with the fact that it is a catch 22 because I like handling the guns without a clerk holding my hand but I also do think they need to be there to at least step in when someone is acting incorrectly. I do think I might call the store and at least tell them about.

NHBB
June 6, 2005, 01:52 PM
I was at a gunshop a few weeks ago when a man was handling I believe an AR with his children around. he swept me once or twice, his children even more. had me at a boiling point to say something, but he was having a friendly rapport with one of the owners... but I drew the line in my mind... one more sweep and im saying something. these are not amateurs running the place, and I was surprised they didnt say anything to him, but still, a frustrating experience.

Universal
June 6, 2005, 02:05 PM
I took some advice from some of you and called the store. I explained the whole thing to the manager and he said that it will be mentioned to the employees and that the two clerks standing around should have been walking around looking for people to help. I was happy with his concern and will probably give the store another chance. I did tell him that I do not hold the store responsible for another customer's poor habits.

Standing Wolf
June 6, 2005, 02:53 PM
People who work in real gun shops pay attention to both the guns and the customers.

Shorts
June 6, 2005, 03:36 PM
As dumb as people are, posted signs might be in order. I know, "regulate, regulate, regulate". But with idiots who don't know The Rules, maybe it'd be a very good way to inform them without completely embarassing them and bruising their delicated ego :rolleyes:

I don't ever recall seeing good informative signs in a gun shop. I guess the rules and ettiquette are all assumed to be know, because if you're in a gun store, you know guns. But that isn't always the case. Newbies walk in each and every day, window shopping or trying to learn. Might as well teach them the first things they need to know about buying/owning/using a gun.

nitesite
June 6, 2005, 03:54 PM
I fully support your outrage and feeling of being in possible danger from the unsafe handling of a firearm. Dad sure set a poor example for his children, one that I hope he someday corrects.


I must remind myself, however, that I have probably had hundreds (or 1000s)of weapons pointed at me at large gun shows that were either behind me, to my left or right, or so far across the room I never even realized it. Heck, I bet the handler never even realized it either. Happens all the time in a big crowd.

dolanp
June 6, 2005, 04:01 PM
Yeah every time you walk into a gun store there are handguns in the cases pointing right at you. And if you CCW and sit down at a restaurant, you must be sweeping a lot of people with a loaded gun!

Guess it depends on how anal you want to be about it.

TMM
June 6, 2005, 04:38 PM
If someone did that in MY [imaginary, but one can dream] gunstore...

they'd be out the door REAL fast, and i'd give them a sheet of gun safety rules...

~TMM

Old Fuff
June 6, 2005, 04:45 PM
Universal:

On two different occasions while working in a retail gun store where the used guns were racked (and unsecured) where the public could handle them, I found a rifle with a chambered round. I sometimes made it a practice to go down the row and check each gun to be sure it was unloaded. On one other occasion a customer found a loaded gun. Fortunately he was smart enought open the action before he went any further.

You may have upset the guy's feelings, but I can assure you everyone would have been a lot more upset if that gun had gone BANG!! I can assure you that if the insurance company that carries that store's liability policy knew what happened that store wouldn't have any insurance as of this morning.

What you did was 100% correct. It is they, not you who were wrong.

CowboyEngr
June 6, 2005, 04:58 PM
Kind of along this same line, except the gun IS loaded: How many of you have ever looked through your binoculars at a fellow "hunter" an seen him looking through his rifle scope at you? Still makes the hair on my neck stand up! Some people are just idiots! (I don't know, I don't think he was wanting to shoot me, just wanted to see me better!)

Guy B. Meredith
June 6, 2005, 05:12 PM
There are few stores where I do not feel the need to 'duck and weave' when firearms are being handled. Personally, I don't handle firearms unless there is SOMEWHERE I can point it where it is not sweeping people.

MudPuppy
June 6, 2005, 05:31 PM
A friend of mine got shot in the foot with a 30.06 some time back.

First guy:"Hey, watch where you're pointing that thing!"
Second guy: "It's not lo-"
Gun:"Boom!!"
First guy:"Owiee."

Fortunately, it was a richocet (that kept him off his foot for a couple of weeks) and not a amputee situation. I always think of that when I hear that phrase.

Harry Paget Flashman
June 6, 2005, 05:40 PM
Universal. You were right to point out the man's unsafe practices. Since the man had his kids with him what I might have done was to inform privately, out of earshot of his kids. Kids and dads stick up for each other, right or wrong, sometimes.

All around bad situation. In your shoes I'd have been tempted to flame spray him and his kids...pretty much a no win situation which would have hardened attitudes and have yeilded no lessons learned. I wasn't there, but would have to say that leaving when you did and avoiding escalation was the right thing to do.

stv
June 6, 2005, 05:42 PM
ďDonít you meddle with old unloaded firearms. They are the most deadly and unerring things that have ever been created by man. You donít have to take any pains at all with them. You donít have to have a rest. You donít have to have any sights on the gun. You donít have to aim, even. No, you just pick out a relative and bang away, and you are sure to get him. A youth who canít hit a cathedral at thirty yards with a Gatling gun in three-quarters of an hour can take up an old empty musket and bag his grandmother every time at a hundred.Ē

óMark Twain ďAdvice to YouthĒ speech, 1882

CleverName
June 6, 2005, 08:11 PM
Possible response to "It's not loaded."

"I couldn't tell that from where I am and I don't feel like giving the benefit of the doubt to anybody."

Ala Dan
June 6, 2005, 09:06 PM
"All guns are loaded, all the time"

Seems like this guy forgot the cardinal rule~

cracked butt
June 6, 2005, 09:17 PM
WOw! my 2 1/2 year old is smarter than the combined intelligence of that father-son duo.

I bought a toy rifle for my son 2 weeks ago from a Gander Mountain, because he wanted to "shoot stuff just like daddy." The four rules are a little much for a 2 year old, so I gave him one to folow to start with "don't ever point the rifle at people" the other rule is that it has to be put away when he is not using it- leaned up against a corner in his bedroom. So far he has been 100% in compliance with my rules and asks me every day to take him in the backyard to pretend to hunt birds. The other day I had to make a concession when he asked me if it was ok to shoot Barney :evil:

Waffen
June 6, 2005, 09:40 PM
A quote that has served me well in situations where I have been muzzle swept is:

"It's amazing how many accidental shootings have occurred with unloaded weapons"

I agree with what you did 100%. Hindsight is 20/20 I understand, and in the heat of the moment you don't have the luxury of playing Monday morning quarter back, but I think the best course of action would be to take the dad aside and let loose a verbal bitch slap. Parents most of all should realize the value of life, and what it would mean to someone else to loose their child because of his nonchalant attitude in safety.

Children are fragile and can easily take on the "beaten puppy" syndrome. If the offender was a child, I would defiantly have corrected them quickly and firmly, but offer constructive criticism, and offer a way for them to learn the proper way. It would be a shame to turn away a future responsible shooter/hunter/gun owner because of a childish mistake you had to turn into a an "expirence" they will never forget.

I am sure that everyone here has expirenced a "range officer" or "that guy" at the range who was more than a little more than overzealous in their teachings. Do you're best not to be any one of the above mentioned to a future shooter.

ralphie98
June 6, 2005, 10:08 PM
One thing I like about Gander Mountain, at least the one I frequent, is that they have a bunch of mounted animals up high on the walls. These are perfect when you feel like safely pointing at something.

I don't think it would be a bad idea to have the "4 rules" posted in multiple locations. If some tool still doesn't get the message, at least you can point to a sign and end the conversation

Waffen
June 6, 2005, 10:52 PM
After thinking about this more I opted for the comedy option of hiring a "gun shop linebacker" akin to "Terry Tate - Office Linebacker" to absolutely lay bone-crushing hits to anyone breaking the rules. I can only imagine a massive crush put down by terry followed by "DON'T CHAMBER THE ROUND IF YOU CAN'T CHAMBER THE PAIN WHOOOOOOOO". :evil:

Hilarity would ensue as they day went on. It would almost be a spectator sport. :evil:


Terry tate video's (Must see if you have not) below.
http://www.milkandcookies.com/keywords/terrytate/

Hawkmoon
June 7, 2005, 12:57 AM
I did not want to be the person to lecture the guy in front of his kids, nor did I feel that it was my responsibility to teach his children about gun safety.
He pointed the rifle at you. Who better to lecture him about firearm safety? Too bad if it was in front of his kids. If he doesn't want to get lectured in front of his kids, he shouldn't do stupid/dangerouis things when his kids are with him.

peacefuljeffrey
June 7, 2005, 01:31 AM
If someone did that in MY [imaginary, but one can dream] gunstore...

they'd be out the door REAL fast, and i'd give them a sheet of gun safety rules...

Hear hear!

And I like what you said about a sheet of gun safety rules.

I think that would be a GREAT policy for gun shop owners to adopt. In fact, I think that a great policy would be any time a customer approaches the counter about a gun purchase, and it is not someone known to the clerk, a sheet or placard with the four major gun safety rules should be handed to them, and they should be instructed to read it. Customers dismissive of it would be barred from handling any weapons whatsoever. Don't like it? Too f'in bad. Not having someone shot in my store is worth your indignity, buster. So sorry about your ego.

But above all else, anyone who has to be corrected or reprimanded for breaking a major safety rule (finger on trigger, muzzle covering a person, etc.) should be given a sheet of the rules, with the particular rule they broke highlighted in bright yellow for them so they know.

-Jeffrey

DigMe
June 7, 2005, 02:58 PM
People who work in real gun shops pay attention to both the guns and the customers.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!.....

Whoo...

That's good. Have you not seen the dozens,perhaps hundreds, of posts here detailing how gun shop workers were NOT paying attention to the gun or the customer or both?! I've seen it many times myself! Maybe you should have said "good gun shops."

brad cook

DarkKnight01
June 7, 2005, 04:11 PM
I would've drew my weapon, found the nearest useable cover and ordered them to put the weapon down NOW!! (seriously) pointing a weapon at someone is no joke... if they had done it to the wrong person there may not be any such verbal commands.... just shooting.... I didnt clear that weapon, they probably didnt clear that weapon.... and the idiots working there likely didnt clear it... so who really knew if it was loaded or not?

I must confess to say that the gun-shop I do most of my shopping at, is a great shop, great fella behind the counter, but for some reason, he doesnt clear a weapon when he hands it to you, this makes me a little uneasy.... I immediatly take it eject the magazine, and rack the slide, or open the cylinder depending on the weapon.... (pointed in a safe direction of course) and then place the magazine back into the weapon/close cylinder, and only then do I begin my up close inspection...... Guess you cant have it all at your fav shops.....

entropy
June 8, 2005, 01:27 AM
I would've drew my weapon, found the nearest useable cover and ordered them to put the weapon down NOW!! (seriously)

And if you are LEO, your IA would like a word with you. If you are CCW, revocation would probably be the result. And if your are carrying illegally, well, you might as well go ahead and fire, cuz' you are in deep. :rolleyes:

Universal did just fine in the situation. We have had a few people bring guns in for repair with rounds chambered. :what: The guys at the counter do check religiously, thank goodness. When I get 'em, they are often in pieces already. The closest I usually get to that is muzzleloaders that failed to fire because the owner forgot to fire off a few caps before loading. :D

DarkKnight01
June 8, 2005, 01:16 PM
And if you are LEO, your IA would like a word with you. If you are CCW, revocation would probably be the result. And if your are carrying illegally, well, you might as well go ahead and fire, cuz' you are in deep.

Hmm Really? thats interesting.... But I beg to differ.

Ability to use lethal force: Check, Having a bead on you from a long gun would certainly grant the ability to be lethal.

Reasonable fear for life: Check

I dont care if the person pointing a weapon at me is 8 or 80, They are a deadly threat however you slice it.

I never said anything about using my weapon until I had to, I highly doubt any court judge or jury would see a problem with drawing a weapon and having it at the ready when someones holding a bead on you... In most places you would be justified in shooting.

People need to use their heads for something other than a hat rack, and parents need to teach safe gun handling before letting their child pick up a gun in a store.... and start drawing beads on people.

pawncop
June 8, 2005, 05:13 PM
Universal - No way were you out of line. That dad was not teaching rule number 1 and 2 of safety Treat all guns as loaded and do not point a gun at anything w=you do not wish to destroy.

Cracked butt - Let him take out Barney!

MudPuppy
June 8, 2005, 08:53 PM
I think Ralphie has stated an EXCELLENT suggestion--those rules ought to be out everywhere weapons are sold. Likely wouldn't have made a difference with this particular tool, but i love the idea. I'm going to print 'em out and put them on the gun safe.

entropy
June 8, 2005, 11:15 PM
Darkknight 01, you must be a hoot at gun shows! ;)

DarkKnight01
June 9, 2005, 01:04 AM
I rarely go to gun shows in the first place......

Universal
June 9, 2005, 09:33 AM
Yesterday I went to a gun store where I felt pretty comfortable that no one would point any weapons at me. It turns out that one of the people working there remembered me from a shoot at a range in a nearby city. Anyway, we chatted a bit and I told him about what had taken place and he told me that he was not surprised. I told me that company that owns the store I was violated in, has a second store in another city where the gun displays are right next to a huge window overlooking a parking lot. The store has posted a sign there asking customers to not point guns at people in the parking lot due to the high number of incidents of people doing just that. After everything you people here have shared I can't say that I am surprised but it really does worry me.

Anyway, thank you all for your input and reassurance that I did not overreact. My trip to the store yetesterday was a much productive trip and I am now the happy owner of a Smith & Wesson model 640 in .38 special. Just what I wanted and I got it for $280 out the door and into my pocket. I also picked up two boxes of fifty of ammo for $6.96 each. Can't beat that.

DarkKnight01
June 9, 2005, 01:54 PM
280$ for a 640, sounds like a good deal to me :) any pics of her? and we expect a range report when you get around to it :D

Universal
June 9, 2005, 02:27 PM
No picture but I will gladly share my impressions of the weapon once I get a chance to shoot it. I think my first chance will be later this month when I will take it to the state law enforcement qualification course. That should give me a pretty good idea where I stand with this one.

svtruth
June 9, 2005, 04:10 PM
A couple of halloweens ago, at a large party in Menhattan, a PO was called for some reason. While he was there, a guest, dressed as a PO, in another room, through a glass door, drew his replica gun and pointed it at the real officer. He did not survive. The officer was exonerated.

M99M12
June 9, 2005, 04:15 PM
SW from CO speaketh the truth, agin.

Tory
June 9, 2005, 06:39 PM
"A couple of halloweens [sic] ago, at a large party in Menhattan [sic], a PO was called for some reason. While he was there, a guest, dressed as a PO, in another room, through a glass door, drew his replica gun and pointed it at the real officer. He did not survive. The officer was exonerated."

I believe that was on the LEFT Coast, in Lala Land or its immediate environs.

stevesmith7
June 9, 2005, 11:02 PM
Maybe it was just my dad but when I grew up part of "Treat all guns as loaded" included checking any gun handed to you to see if it is loaded. I can remember watching him reassemble something from pieces and have it handed to me only to get a lecture if I didn't check to see if it was loaded. There were no exceptions.

Steve

NHBB
June 10, 2005, 01:59 PM
what if it was that fellow that was mentioned in a thread about idiots with guns who "instinctively dropped to the floor and drew his 1911" after someone in a family, some wife and some kids accidentally swept him :D that'd be a sight.

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