Are Negligent Discharges Inevitable?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Night Rider, Jun 25, 2022.

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  1. Resist Evil

    Resist Evil Member

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    Shooting since 1967, carrying since 1974 and I can report I've had no unintended discharges so far. With a firearm. I wish to say also, that when I shot IDPA, the four rules, recited in unison at every match, has become foundational when I handle firearms.
     
  2. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

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    @edwardware has it exactly right.

    Yes. They are inevitable. Humans make errors and with millions of them handling millions of firearms there will be errors.

    That's not really useful information. Here's the useful information:

    YOUR negligent discharge is not inevitable. You can follow a very few, very simple rules and prevent that kind of thing from happening to you as long as you are vigilant.
     
  3. shafter

    shafter Member

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    Not inevitable since many people have handled firearms their whole lives and never have one, but it isn't impossible for anyone no matter who you are. I've known extremely safe people have accidents. I had one as a teenager while hunting and I've been religious about muzzle and trigger discipline since then.
     
  4. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I work in the steel industry and have done for the past someteen years, through a number of a different facilities, where everyone is working with dangerous equipment that can permanently change a life in the blink of an eye.

    Accidents happen. Procedures are ignored, corners are cut, appropriate PPE is sometimes not used. Sometimes it's a totally unforseen circumstances that is only considered an "obvious" hazard after the fact. Usually it's complacency. People are educated, people are warned, people are instructed on how to complete a task safely, and trained on the equipment.

    Accidents still happen. People make mistakes, people cut corners, people get distracted.

    I have on occasion foreseen myself fumble a full cup of water (or whatever else) before I even pick it up. I have told myself "don't do that, don't spill it", and then proceeded to do exactly that. The human brain simply isn't perfect.

    Is a negligent/accidental discharge inevitable? No, I don't think so. But the more time an individual spends with a loaded gun, the more likely it is.
     
  5. PzGren

    PzGren Member

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    Car accidents, accidental discharges, and all other mishaps, including spelling mistakes:) are best to be avoided but they are accidents waiting to happen.
     
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  6. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    I have had three ND's. In all three cases the muzzle was pointed in a safe direction. A negligent discharge is not something to take lightly. Do I feel like I am negligent or unsafe? Others may say yes. But I have probably reloaded close to 100K rounds and never had a squib or overcharge.

    Guns are machines or a tool. Just like a car or a hammer.
     
  7. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    I couldn't say that it's inevitable for everybody -- but most folks I know who grew up around guns -- especially those who've used them as a tool of the job for most of their adult lives -- have admitted to having had at least one ND. I spent 25 years on active duty and another 20 (total) in law enforcement. I've seen incredibly well-trained, intelligent and normally mentally sharp individuals have NDs or tell me about theirs.

    I grew up around guns and carried them professionally through two careers and more than 40 years. I have had one clear negligent discharge in my life that I attribute to total carelessness and an assumption that the pistol wasn't loaded.

    Perhaps there are guys here who've never had a simple brain fart -- that split second where one performs a physical action, without thinking, that is wholly uncharacteristic of one's practices, routine and mindset. But I doubt it.

    I disagree that thinking something like that sets you up for failure. I think it should make one more mindful of one's actions.
     
  8. toivo

    toivo Member

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    Bingo. That's it in a nutshell.

    The closest I've come was on the trap range on a hot, hot day when I was too tired and probably shouldn't have been shooting. After I mounted the gun, I called "pull" and pulled the trigger almost simultaneously. I'm still not sure why I did that. I got some funny looks, but no harm was done. Safe direction, etc.
     
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  9. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I know this will come off as preachy or high-minded, but frankly, this thread is a bit dispiriting. Obviously a lot of folks are breaking the rules of gun handling - and they are very simple rules.
     
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  10. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    I was shot through the right hand due to a negligent discharge from someone else. Not everyone knows the very simple rules. And again, no different than a car, accidents can happen.
     
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  11. Meeks36

    Meeks36 Member

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    This is why I refuse to use public ranges. And don’t hunt public land.
     
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  12. Night Rider

    Night Rider Member

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    I think that's it right there.
     
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  13. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree. It’s sort of making your excuses in advance.
     
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  14. I6turbo

    I6turbo Member

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    Hopefully no desk pops. :) https://duckduckgo.com/?q=the+other+guys+office+pop&atb=v327-7bc&iax=videos&ia=videos&iai=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=948-2Vzgi3w

    On subject of inevitability, I'd say that most people will eventually have an AD if they shoot much. I've had a couple myself, and just missed by about 3 inches taking a .30-06 to the skull via a friend's AD once.
     
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  15. tark

    tark Member

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    They are inevitable if you are stupid. And I'm stupid. I've had two. One went into the air (a shotgun with bird shot ) and one, an AK bullet, into the yard right in front of me. I removed the mag and I racked the bolt , but not far enough, and the live round went right back into the chamber. I pulled the trigger thinking the chamber was empty. Luckily, I at least had the sense to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. The extractor was not broken.

    But my ego damn sure was. It happened right in front of the entire Springfield Armory crew that worked in the Custom Shop, out at the Farm, next to Dave Reece's house. This was 1991. :uhoh:
     
  16. GAF

    GAF Member

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    I am one who thinks an ND is not inevitable.
    Every time I pick up a gun I think about exactly what I am doing and in what order.
     
  17. Palladan44

    Palladan44 Member

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    What is that thing?
     
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  18. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Negligent discharges are extremely rare. Many shooters have mis-defined the term. If no one was injured, if no one went to jail, if they didn't get sued, it wasn't negligent. It was an unintentional discharge. If someone claims they have never had an unintentional discharge they are lying or haven't spent much time around guns.

    To rise to the level of negligence a series of things must go wrong, and the person has to have the knowledge to know they were doing it wrong. I don't know any shooters who haven't had at least one unintentional discharge, but they did everything else right and there were no injuries or damage. I have had a couple of unintentional discharges, but never a negligent one. And if even most of the rules are followed true negligent discharges can be prevented.

    I understand the desire to hold fellow shooters accountable. But it is a mistake to label every unintentional discharge as negligent. Words are powerful and choosing the right one is important. Choosing the wrong words will come back to bite us in the butt.

    That doesn't mean the person who caused the unintentional discharge isn't responsible. But being held responsible is not the same as being negligent.

    One of the methods being used to hurt gun owners is to sue us for negligence any time a firearm is used for any reason. If we, as shooters continue to overuse the term "negligent discharge" then that term will be used against us in a court of law.

    An example.

    You are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you're not using your cell phone or distracted in any way. You are sitting at a stop sign attempting a right turn. You are following the letter of the law, but you misjudge the speed and distance of oncoming traffic. When you pull out to make the turn another car hits you causing a minor fender bender.

    Nothing you did was negligent. You aren't going to get out of the car and start apologizing for your negligent right turn. If you're smart, you'll keep your mouth shut. You may well be responsible for the accident and your insurance company may have to pay. But maybe the other guy was speeding and/or under the influence of drugs and was actually the one responsible. But you've already admitted guilt by declaring you were negligent. It's LE and the courts responsibility to determine negligence. Until that happens it was an unintentional discharge.
     
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  19. Night Rider

    Night Rider Member

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    I'm not talking about strict legal definitions. If you want to call it an unintentional discharge that's fine but if it happened because you did something stupid that you weren't supposed to do that's a negligent discharge
    yyu
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2022
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  20. Pistolay

    Pistolay Member

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    This. If you practice safe gun handling religiously, it may never happen to you, but since the perfect, mistake free human being has never been born, it's always possible.
     
  21. Insignificant bill

    Insignificant bill Member

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    I make it my number one priority when handling a firearm to always be safe.
     
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  22. tmd16556

    tmd16556 Member

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    Accidental discharges will happen at some point. We can lower the likelihood by training and practice. Ultimately it takes layers of safety to make an unintended discharge only an embarrassing accident and not a negligent tragedy. That’s why there are four rules, not just one. You can slip up up on one and the others catch you.

    I had one when I was 10 or so. 22 single shot that had to be cocked manually and it slipped. Missed my foot by about 6 inches but it was pointed to the ground. The other was my sister shooting a Marlin 336 when we were late teens early 20s. She was good with bolt actions and pump shotguns but that external hammer was a new thing and she dropped it right through half cock. Loud and surprising, but good muzzle control meant it wasn’t unsafe.
     
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  23. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    To those who state they will never have a negligent discharge, either because
    or they carefully consider what they're doing every time they handle a firearm, or
    "Every time I pick up a gun I think about exactly what I am doing and in what order."

    I ask: How often did you carry a firearm every single day while deployed for twelve months to a hostile are, often working twelve to twenty hours a day for days on end, humping your firearm, occasionally having to use it, and then returning to your base after three or four or five days with a only a few -- if any - cumulative hours of sleep, then trying to figure out a clearing barrel when your brain was in a total fog state?
    How often did you work forced overtime, past twelve hour shifts, sometimes sixteen to twenty hours a day for five, six, seven days in a row, trying to figure out how and when to do your paperwork, when you had to call your wife, Uber or Lyft to pick you up from work because you knew you were incapable of driving due to sleep deprivation? Oh, and you're administratively handling at least one, sometimes two or three firearms at every shift change....and then another when you get home, or leave again to go back to work. And sometimes you have training sandwiched in between these sorts of days, or something occurs on the job where a firearm is presented into a situation...

    Yes, they are very simple rules. But stuff happens, and few of us are capable of functioning perfectly 100% of the time. Geez, just watch folks try to operate shopping carts in the aisles of grocery stores, or drive their Priuses on the highways...

    It's great that all the hobbyists are so cautious, but the reality is that in the real world, there's large numbers of what you all would class as negligent discharges happening all the time.

    This is a good topic for discussion when folks can keep the self-righteousness and preachyness out of it...
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2022
  24. Beck

    Beck Member

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    I've known several good responsible gun owners who have had it happen to them, including two police officers. One shot a hole in the floor of our department while I was still working there. I wasn't working that shift with him when it happened, but it was all anyone could talk about for a few weeks. He got a lot of ribbing until another officer did something stupid, which took the heat off of him. Great guy... very responsible.

    So yeah, we have at very least "The 4 rules" of gun safety because that thing could go off.
     
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  25. Demi-human
    • Contributing Member

    Demi-human maybe likes firearms a little bit…

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    There is certainly a Scarlet Letter that surrounds an AD, ND, UD around here. That’s why I’ve never had one…:uhoh:
    I would never be allowed to shoot again with them.

    Some near me think that missing the paper with a fresh bore is a Negligent Discharge, even a hole eight inches high on the paper at one hundred from forgetting a scope was set to 600 would lead to a freak out. Learning a new target trigger and having it go off early, even leading to a wonderful group, was tantamount to driving drunk.:confused:

    Somehow extremely poor pistol marksmanship was excused as “too far away”.:scrutiny:(Why are you even shooting at it then?)(It wasn’t.;))

    And now, I don’t shoot with them anyway. Their close mindedness about every other thing Firearms was too much, and slowing my learning.

    The funny thing is, I have been injured building with this guy more than average. He’s careless. I have stabbed him in the hand with a razor knife more than a few times cutting things because he feels he needs to have his hands doing it. I’ve been nearly knocked off a building, 160’ up from his gorilla-ness.
    If I had let him make fireworks or any demolition explosives with me, we would both be dead!


    I believe that Unintentional Discharges are not inevitable. They CAN be avoided. But accidents happen and being careful will mitigate risk. Statistics prove so. They are the reason for the overlapping rules. The important thing is learning from it.
    Like not letting yourself be stabbed in the hand more than once…:)

    But, I don’t understand the ostracizing. (Not in this thread or forum, but personally.)
    It’s the stakes not the risk!
    But has anyone ever ridden with someone who has had a car wreck previous? That is equally as deadly, I’d, with my bias, say more so. Yet we converse and interact with them. Even handing our safety over to them and every other driver. However, someone who has learned a valuable lesson with a firearm should be as a Leper to us?

    It’s those who won’t learn, or those who have never had an accident and thus are careless that worry me. Not the “experienced” and now even more careful, I think.

    An interesting facet to the firearms world.
     
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