Scary gun store moment...


July 23, 2003, 02:33 AM
Had a near-tragedy at my favorite local gun store the other day.

I came in to drink their coffee and bat the breeze for awhile, as I often do. A customer came in shortly afterward, and browsed along the handgun display case for awhile. He then asked to see a DPMS 16" AR15 from the rifle rack behind the counter. The store owner gave him the rifle without comment - and, unfortunately, without clearing it.

He began to aim the rifle out the window, with his finger on the trigger. The store owner stopped him (he and I are the "resident nags" about gun safety!), and asked him whether he had cleared the rifle and inspected the chamber. He gave a disdainful response about "Well, it's not my job to do that, it's the store's responsibility!". I had a few well-chosen words (reasonably polite) with him about how any negligent discharge would be his legal liability as well, if he pulled the trigger, and he reluctantly agreed to inspect the weapon.

Imagine our surprise (and the horror of the gun store owner!) when a live .223 round popped out of the chamber! There was no magazine in the weapon, but somehow a live round had been loaded. All of us turned rather pale, and there was much heated discussion about how it had happened. In the middle of the conversation, the customer abruptly left.

Turns out that that rifle had been handled that morning by two or three teenagers from the local assisted-housing estate. Our speculation is that one of them thought it would be funny to chamber a round and see if anyone else pulled the trigger. Other than that, we don't have an explanation... but the store owner is now emphatic that his staff clear any and every weapon both before they give it to a customer, and after he/she hands it back! He's also thinking about requiring all weapons to be cleared and inspected before and after business every day - difficult, this, due to the amount of stock on hand, but he may try storing all guns with the action locked open, to make inspection easier.

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July 23, 2003, 02:45 AM
Wow! glad everything worked out. Here locally about 15 years ago a man driving down the street in front of the local gun store was shot and killed in a similar incident to the one you described. Both the guy working the counter and the customer who killed the man claimed to have checked the rifle beforehand. You can't be too safe.

July 23, 2003, 03:13 AM
Glad it worked out.
I may get razzed for re checking a firearm, even it was just checked before handed to me, but it's a habit. My gunsmith doesn't offend me when he does this back to me.

At a now closed gunstore- Number of years ago a fella "tried" to chamber a round he had brought in --don't know intent...he was pointing with finger on trigger, displaying very unsafe gun handling before. Somebody-ahem- had distanced themself, and saw a yellow shell being put into the O/U about the time he leveled it again toward the store owner. "how did this guy wet his pants, and break a finger" one of the the officer asked whom came to collect the guy. "yeah and how did that guy manage to tear his shirt and bust his hand up" they exited, grinning.

Think he wet himself when the store owner threw a model 19 in his face...umm somebody threw coffee cup at the guy and went for the bbl,and was able to get and keep action open darn ejectors were sharp! I liked that shirt too

July 23, 2003, 03:13 AM
I can't remember the last time (if ever) when a gun store salesperson handed me a weapon without checking the chamber first.

Billy Sparks
July 23, 2003, 08:18 AM
There was a story going around about a year or so ago that the anti's had a plan where they would visit gun stores ask to see a weapon and insert a live round in the chamber hoping for a ND so they could start shutting gunstore's down. True or not I don't know but I find it sorta interesting.

July 23, 2003, 08:23 AM
What is rule #1?

Glad everyone is safe. The gun shop I frequent, I'll watch them clear any weapon when they hand it to me, then, I clear the weapon.

July 23, 2003, 10:48 AM
There was a story going around about a year or so ago that the anti's had a plan where they would visit gun stores ask to see a weapon and insert a live round in the chamber hoping for a ND so they could start shutting gunstore's down. True or not I don't know but I find it sorta interesting.

This is not uncommon at gun shows in the more liberal states.

Art Eatman
July 23, 2003, 04:41 PM
Back in the gunshow days before using tie-wraps to lock guns open, I had somebody slip a .30-30 round into a Model 94 on my table.

The discovery definitely created a strong puckering sensation.

:(, Art

July 23, 2003, 05:30 PM
There was a story going around about a year or so ago that the anti's had a plan where they would visit gun stores ask to see a weapon and insert a live round in the chamber hoping for a ND so they could start shutting gunstore's down. True or not I don't know but I find it sorta interesting.

This is not uncommon at gun shows in the more liberal states

that is sickening that some people would sink that low to put unkown peoples lives in danger just to prove their point. they should be hung for that if caught for potential manslaughter

July 23, 2003, 06:35 PM
They shouldn't be hung, but tarred and feathered, whipped, and then shot in the head by the round they themselves put in the chamber.

Standing Wolf
July 23, 2003, 06:40 PM
Every gun is always loaded, even if it's a brand new gun, and you haven't even taken it out of the box.

July 23, 2003, 07:00 PM
Honorary Chaplain

Thanks for sharing that as a reminder. One does not know without looking.


July 23, 2003, 07:16 PM
Salutary tale ... and thankfully one with a safe outcome.

Sadly, there is a bit too much laxity on the part of some gun owners and even store folk. It cannot be stressed enough that EVERY weapon (even a pellet gun, paint-ball gun) IS loaded ........ no other way to operate.

I wish anyone being shown a gun of mine to see clear for themselves ... for their peace of mind and mine. I automatically pick up - point safe direction and either open cyl, open loading gate (and spin cyl) or with auto's drop any mag and lock back slide .... etc. Bolt weapons .... open bolt . semi's .... locked or with OBI. The list goes on.

In fact ...... once a piece is ''on the table'' store or otherwise .. it stays in safe mode. If then a dry fire is required, it is closed under supervision and pointed safe .. after which again it is cleared as if loaded.

Firearm ''accidents'' ..... aren't!!. They result from negligence. We all bear a responsibility to ourselves and others ... not to mention not giving the anti's something else to pounce on when these bad ''incidents'' do regretable (and avoidably) occur.

July 23, 2003, 08:58 PM
WOW when I was in the bis every gun the crossed the counter was cleared and checked. Every shop that I go to clears and checks the guns when they cross the counter and back. I dont hang out long at places were people are not that good about gun safty. Clearing is not a curtesy for me its mandatory.

Thank goodness nothing happened and everyone went home safe.

July 23, 2003, 10:06 PM
I remember being handed several pistols without having them checked, and as they didnt check them I felt as if I was insulting them and the establishment if I checked it. I am glad I am not alone, and will make an effort to do so with all guns (still getting used to being around them, as it hasnt been a normal occurence).

What scares me is when I was at a local armory and the resident psycho behind the counter (really scary guy, views and gun handling:scrutiny: ) starts pulling the trigger of all the milsurps at the display in the middle of the store, while I was standing next to them!:what: I wanted to scream and scram like a scared little girl. I had never encountered such a lack of respect for firearms:fire: :cuss: , much less in somewhere that will be teaching (at the counter) and selling them and their equipment!:cuss: :fire: Thank God they were all unloaded.:uhoh: :eek:

The really bad part is that its the only armory within 50 miles.

July 23, 2003, 10:19 PM
It's a ''MUST'' Mike IMO .. anything handed over uncleared needs cleared ..... no ifs and buts. And, if some dipstick also hands something to you muzzle first (heaven forbid) i think regardless of how wierd they may be .. sweep it to the side quickly ... and if challenged ask if they would like to be on the ''wrong end''!

Most times I think we have to turn things thru 180ยบ if people are sloppy ...... ask them if they like a gun pointed - at THEM .... and assuming it IS loaded .. not just maybe! I did that to a guy once at a range and he paused and said '' I hadn't looked at it that way'' ...... well duh .... at least it made him see different.

July 24, 2003, 12:29 AM
Simple. Every gun is loaded. Even if you "know" it is not. Every gun is loaded and should be treated accordingly. It is a good habit to get into!

July 24, 2003, 05:56 PM
The stores I frequent ALWAYS open the action and check before handing one over. I still get queasy standing nearby at the counter when someone I don't know, but who sounds like a gun novice, is handling a weapon nearby.

July 24, 2003, 06:06 PM
My Sons and I frequent the local gun shows together, here in North Carolina.

Last year, my oldest Son picked up a pellet gun he had previously shown interest in. The first thing he did was to clear the chamber, before handling it in any other manner.

I'm so proud of those boys, I could bust.

July 24, 2003, 08:41 PM
Anyone want to cite any FACTUAL evidence about anti's putting live rounds in the chambers of gun store guns? Maybe they had a hand in their mouths at the time, like the well-known fictional pit bull story?? C'mon, now, I expect better from this board. And not clearing a weapon before handing it over to a customer and taking it back is just plain STUPID. No ifs, ands, or buts. It should be second nature to everyone here.

July 24, 2003, 09:06 PM

It's clear that someone is loading guns in gun stores and at gun shows. Since no one's been caught doing it, it's impossible to say whether they're anti's or not.

Which means that it is as unreasonable to say it's not antis as it is to claim that it is.

July 25, 2003, 09:25 AM
A non-shooting friend of mine (Jim) tells a story about a friend of his who he met at a gas station. His friend was going shooting. Jim asked if he could handle the weapon. They were pretty well shielded from view so his friend complied. Jim asked if he could pull the trigger. His friend said "Sure, it's unloaded". Jim squeezed the trigger and shot the brick wall of the gas station.

Jim TOTALLY understands and appreciates that I always check the chamber of every weapon I've handed to him.


July 25, 2003, 09:33 AM
This gun store local to me checks every weapon before and after handing it to a customer.

Glad nothing bad happened in your situation.

July 25, 2003, 10:12 AM
A while back, I was adjusting the red dot sight on a BB pistol (yeah, I know it sounds silly, but this was a nice one). Thought the thing was empty, and I had my left middle finger over the barrel. Screwdriver slipped, I heard a loud *pop*, and immediately my finger went numb...until I saw it bleeding profusely and turning funny:uhoh: colors. Never ever made that mistake again.

July 25, 2003, 10:17 AM

I was in a pawn shop once and heard someone say, "bang." I turned around and found myself staring down a muzzle. :scrutiny:

Apparently this teenager thought it was cute to pick a rifle off the rack and use my head for a target.


July 25, 2003, 10:46 AM
All guns are always loaded.

I just returned from vacation, where I visited a cousin and his family. His dad and mom just moved in to the cottage next door. Four adults and about ten kids chatting in the living room. Conversation turns to shooting, guns, 2nd Amendment, etc. Very positive on all sides. :D

My uncle says, "Just a sec. I have something to show you." Disappears for a few minutes and returns with a zipped gym bag. He opens it up and retrieves a brown paper bag. From the latter he extracts a Colt Trooper Mk III with four inch barrel. He takes it by the barrel and hands it to me grip first. I'm thinking, "What's wrong with this picture?" :scrutiny:

I took the gun, finger off trigger, pointed it down, opened the cylinder, pointed the barrel up and ejected the six live .357 mag rounds onto the carpet. Dead silence (other than my aunt's gasp).

So. Loaded gun in a paper bag in a zipped case (don't know where it had been stored). Brought into a room full of people, my kids among them. Gun not checked before being handed to me. When it was handed to me, the muzzle was pointing at my uncle's belly. Etc., etc. I was shaken, and proceeded to chew my uncle out in front of several of his grandkids and great-nephews and nieces. I picked up the ammo and made sure it was an unloaded gun that went back in the bag.

The Colt was a very nice specimen, by the way. Hope I get invited back (some year) to shoot it. :rolleyes:

July 25, 2003, 01:46 PM
Turns out that that rifle had been handled that morning by two or three teenagers from the local assisted-housing estate.

What a great term!! Never heard that one, but knew immediately what you meant!!

Glad that no one was hurt in that case....pretty scary!!

July 25, 2003, 02:54 PM
hey Runt:

Was there any reaction from the Pawn shop salesman or was the kid prone on the floor with a knee in his back?

July 25, 2003, 03:05 PM
:banghead: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :cuss:

July 25, 2003, 03:19 PM
Same thing happened at a gunshow here in Knoxville last year. Customer remembered to work the action on a rifle before trying the trigger pull and a round popped out. This set off a panic, and as actions were checked, another live round was discovered.

July 25, 2003, 03:41 PM
now the next time i walk up to the counter in the local gunstore and theres a shotgun laying on it pointing it at me, i wont be so reluctant to make a fuss about it

thats fer sure,,,


rock jock
July 25, 2003, 03:42 PM
Two comments:

1. Preacherman, I would like to hear from a lawyer on this site, but I believe that you are wrong when you state that the customer would be held liable for firing a round. I am pretty sure the gun store owner would bear sole legal responsibility. And I would add, rightfully so. He has to assume that everyone entering his store knows squat about firearm safety.
2. I don't see how folks are able to "slip" a round into a gun. At EVERY gun show table and EVERY gun store I have ever frequented, I am watched continuously as I handle a gun. Furthermore, when I had a gun back, the employee ALWAYS checks the guns to show clear.

July 25, 2003, 03:46 PM
Whether a customer knows anything about firearms or not, the average person is charged with knowledge that firearms tend to go "boom" when the trigger is pulled. Both the customer and the owner would share responsibility for any harm resulting from the customer's negligence, as well as the negligence of the gun shop owner in not checking the weapon before handing it over.

rock jock
July 25, 2003, 06:26 PM

Are you a lawyer? Do you have any precedent to support that? It just doesn't sound right. The average person may know that guns go "boom", but if they are not familiar with firearm safety, they could make a reasonable assumption that the store owner has made the gun safe to handle; otherwise he wouldn't have handed it to the customer.

July 25, 2003, 07:38 PM
About a year ago, I stopped into my favorite gun shop...just lookin', ya know. I did my usual route through the store, cruising the reloading displays, past the handguns, through the holster aisle, and past the ammo table. As I was at the ammo table, there were a couple of hispanic guys on the other side of the table. One of them pulls a small handgun (appeared to be a "cheaper" small-caliber model--maybe a Jennings .25--dunno exactly) out of his back pocket and they were looking at it, apparantly trying to determine the caliber so they could get the right ammo for it. The 'handler' of the gun turned it so that I could see that it still had it's magazine in, but of course, who knows if it was loaded or not, as if that matters.

At just about every gun shop I've ever been in, the clerks here are all always openly carrying something...usually a full-sized large caliber gun. And there's a big sign on the door as you walk in that says "NO LOADED GUNS". But with the layout of this store, my walking back to the armed clerks at the gun displays would have put me in-between these clerks and the guys looking for ammo for their new gun, or whatever else they had in mind. So I go the other direction to the clerk-girl at the checkout counter and tell her what these guys were carrying, and I left the store post-haste.

Now, I didn't hear about some shootout in "my" gun shop, so apparantly it all ended well. I don't know if these guys knew the "4 Rules" or not, but to look at them you wouldn't think so. I'd have to assume (and we all know the alternate definition for "assume") that these guys obtained a new gun, and not reading English, they had no idea what the sign on the door read. Not speaking much or any English, they weren't likely to seek help from one of the clerks. So they were trying to do it on their own...waving around what appeared to be a loaded gun right in the middle of a gun shop.

Nothin' personal fellas, but I don't trust anyone with weapons. I watch everyone like a hawk.

Hot brass
July 26, 2003, 02:18 AM
Inside the local gunshow checking out the goods, and "bang" gun goes off. TOTAL silence in the building. An old man had a .22 rifle and pointed it at the ceiling and pulled the trigger.

Local gun store, moron comes inside lays a 41mag on the counter is tell the employee of the store the gun is unloaded. Points the gun towards the front door and pulls the trigger. 41 mag hole in the wall.::cuss:

July 26, 2003, 03:31 AM
41 mag hole in the wallWonder where the bullet stopped. :uhoh:

July 26, 2003, 03:39 AM
All the shops in my area clear a weapon before they hand it over to me. That doesnt stop me from doing it again as soon as i get my hands on it. Ive never recieved any comment at all on this (save for a compliment on safe gun handling). I always figured it was the normal way of doing things.

July 26, 2003, 08:49 AM
JohnKSa, Again, I ask, where is the hard evidence? I see a lot of stories on this thread about GUN OWNERS or those SEEKING TO PURCHASE OR SELL A FIREARM having negligent discharges in a gun shop. I have been in and out of many gun shops -- four or five mostly -- and have never seen or even heard of an "anti" placing a round in a weapon and leaving. The only hole I've ever seen is in the floor of one shop where a GUN OWNER had a ND. I would bet a lot of these rounds "ending up" in weapons are from GUN OWNERS who want to check the action before they buy a used weapon.

If anyone on this board has FACTUAL EVIDENCE, either through a Web search, NRA site, or their own personal experience, about anti's slipping rounds into weapons, please enlighten me. Otherwise, ... :cuss:

July 26, 2003, 10:23 AM
Yes, I am a lawyer. And as for precedent, if you'd like me to research the particular issue, please send a check, contract, and get a waiver issued by my agency so that I can take perform legal services for you. ;) But I don't have to. It's black letter law that a person is liable for damages which reasonably flow from the breach of a duty of care owed to another person. It doesn't matter if the person didn't know about firearms safety or not, just as a person who gets behind the wheel of a car can't use "I don't know how to drive" as a defense to a charge of vehicular homicide, reckless driving, etc. If you want to play with the toys, the law says "sure, but you're held to a reasonable person standard." A reasonable person would not handle a firearm or pull a trigger without knowing that the foreseeable consequence is that it might go "boom." That's what it's designed to do, as demonstrated by the television shows and movies.

As for making a "reasonable assumption" that the gun shop owner cleared the weapon, that's a defense you argue to a jury to show that the owner's negligence was greater than your own. If your state still has contributory negligence and/or comparative negligence and his negligence is found to be greater than yours, you might get off . . . if the shop is suing you. But if an innocent third party is injured by you and your negligence, your reasonable assumption is absolutely irrelevant to the discussion. You pulled the trigger; you injured that person; you breached the standard of care; and in those circumstances, "I didn't think it was loaded" is not a justification for your acts and a completely unsatisfactory excuse.

By the way, can we all agree that we're not forming an attorney/client relationship here? If you want to know what the law is in your home state, find a lawyer there. Never trust what someone (especially a lawyer) tells you over the 'net without proper verification.

July 26, 2003, 11:41 AM

This had to happen for them to start clearing the firearms?!:scrutiny:

July 26, 2003, 05:27 PM
That's some scary stuff. One of the gun shops I frequent checks before handing you anything you want to look at. It's pretty comforting to see that awareness.

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