Denver Cop Shoots Self in the Can

Actually he shot himself in the hand. He was in the can at the time. That is, he was in his master bathroom testing a handgun to replace one that had earlier malfunctioned at the shooting range. He was dry firing the pistol but then inserted a magazine. I guess he forgot he had loaded because he again pulled the trigger, shooting himself in the hand (ouch!) No one else was injured.

There are four basic safety rules for gun handling:

1.  Treat all guns as if they are loaded;

2. Never point a gun at anything you aren’t willing to destroy;

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot; and

4.  Know your target and what is beyond.

[Digression: Dry firing is recommended practice for anyone trying to maintain and improve shooting skills.  There are specific rules for dry firing.  First and foremost is to never have any ammunition in the same area where you are dry firing.  Ideally, you would also choose a backstop to aim at which will catch and retain bullets, just in case.  Several inches of old newspapers against a concrete wall in a basement, for example.  This can be excellent practice if you have laser sights and can see the laser dot bounce around when you pull the trigger.  When you get so the dot no longer bounces, you’re in the flow.]

Usually it takes a violation of at least two of the four gun handling rules before anything grim happens. This Denver Police officer, presently working as a detective,  appears to have violated rules 1,2, and 3, and possible number 4 as well.

Since the officer was in his home which is located in Jefferson County, Colorado, the incident is being investigated by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.  They are calling it an “accidental shooting.”  Savvy gun owners call them negligent discharges.  Gun owners schooled in firearms law know there is really no such thing as an accidental shooting, at least not in the since that you can say you’re sorry and go on about your business.  Any such incident by a citizen is likely to result in some sort of criminal charge, even if only a misdemeanor.  Any damage or injury that occurs will probably be the subject of a civil suit.

The officer may not be charged with a crime but he is surely suffering embarrassment and possible damage to his career.  It’s not nice to be hard on anyone with a gunshot wound to the hand, so I won’t.  The ones I’ve seen in photos look devastating.

This story was reported in the Columbine Courier.

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