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Freedom Loving Citizen
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This topic always brings in many variations on people's opinion about what is what, but IMHO, when dealing with firearm incidents, there are only negligent discharges and I can't think of a single instance where it is an accident.

To identify it as an accident removes ownership of responsibility and accountability.

I have always stressed the four rules of firearm safety to anyone I introduce to shooting. I thought that if the four rules were followed, no negligent discharges could ever occur. A recent incident taught me otherwise. That incident deserves it's own thread, so I won't get into it here, but I do admit it was negligence that led to the incident.

Anyone believe accidents really do occur? I'd like to understand of such a case and why no one is directly responsible for such an instance.
 

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Accidents occur when all safety precautions and best practices have been followed but the unexpected/unpredictable happens. Imagine an undetectable defect in a firing pin that causes it to shear, an action is cycled per normal loading procedure, and that loose firing pin fragment wedges deployed or slams home hard enough to ignite a primer. When that round goes down range and slams into the backstop instead of a bystander because you followed all the rules, you have just had an accident.

That differs significantly from dropping the release on an action but with a finger on the trigger and having a round go down range and slam into a backstop because you only followed 3 of the 4 rules. That's negligence.
 

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Freedom Loving Citizen
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Accidents occur when all safety precautions and best practices have been followed but the unexpected/unpredictable happens. Imagine an undetectable defect in a firing pin that causes it to shear, an action is cycled per normal loading procedure, and that loose firing pin fragment wedges deployed or slams home hard enough to ignite a primer. When that round goes down range and slams into the backstop instead of a bystander because you followed all the rules, you have just had an accident.

That differs significantly from dropping the release on an action but with a finger on the trigger and having a round go down range and slam into a backstop because you only followed 3 of the 4 rules. That's negligence.
Good examples...I guess I was completely overlooking device failures.
 

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American
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In the old days on selective fire weapons one could have an AD, or series of ADs, if the selector indicated single or short burst but the weapon was actually at auto.
 

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i agree with your sentiment that the word "accident" is only an attempt to remove responsibility and accountability. this is not limited to firearms. automobile "accidents" are a prime example. i think the results of taking away that accountability are more readily apparent there because of the frequency of occurrence. the result is a bunch of uncaring, flippant, crappy drivers...no less deadly than the guy with a gun.
 

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Atlanta Overwatch
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I had an AD similar to what 45_fan described.

I had a CZ52, there is an issue with some of them and defective/worn safeties. After getting it, I tested the safety on the range. With a round chambered, and pointed down range, I activated the decocker and the chambered round fired.

After having repairs made to it, I still checked it after every range visit. To this day, I point a gun in a safe direction before using a decocker, and test decockers on the range.

Can I really call it an AD if I was testing to see if it had a known issue?
 

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Accidents occur when all safety precautions and best practices have been followed but the unexpected/unpredictable happens. Imagine an undetectable defect in a firing pin that causes it to shear, an action is cycled per normal loading procedure, and that loose firing pin fragment wedges deployed or slams home hard enough to ignite a primer. When that round goes down range and slams into the backstop instead of a bystander because you followed all the rules, you have just had an accident.

That differs significantly from dropping the release on an action but with a finger on the trigger and having a round go down range and slam into a backstop because you only followed 3 of the 4 rules. That's negligence.
That reminds me of the problem reported with some Rem. 700's. Drop the safety and the rifle fires. I would call that an accident as long as all safety rules were followed.
 

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Man of Myth and Legend
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Can I really call it an AD if I was testing to see if it had a known issue?
No. It was a test to determine if the issue had not been corrected.

Nemo
 

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Man of Myth and Legend
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Anyone believe accidents really do occur? I'd like to understand of such a case and why no one is directly responsible for such an instance.
No. No such thing as an AD. If the weapon has a problem and fired when unintended, or multiple discharges, that is a maintenance problem due to negligence in keeping weapons properly operational.

Nemo
 

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And yet we all say "I was involved in a car accident." I've never heard anyone say "I was involved in car negligence."
 

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Lawyer and Gun Activist
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"negligence" is based on deviating from a reasonable standard of care AS KNOWN TO YOU, or as you SHOULD HAVE known it, based on your circumstances.

A casual gun owner who doesn't shoot much, but bought a shotgun from WalMart 20 years ago and took it bird hunting twice, and who now keeps it by the bed for home defense, is probably NOT going to be expected to know, or follow, a long list of rules for gun safety. Probably not even Cooper's four fundamental rules.

On the other hand, an experienced shooter who has a big gun collection, been a member of gun rights groups for years, who has attended numerous matches, and also several gun shows, and who regularly shoots at public ranges where "safety rules" are posted WILL BE EXPECTED TO KNOW MORE, and take more precautions, than a newbie.

So, I think an "accidental discharge" that is not negligent is not only possible, but more likely to happen to a newbie.

EXAMPLE: Shooter fully loads gun. Doesn't use safety. Picks it up and does NOT touch trigger. But, fumbles with the gun. Almost drops it. As he grabs it frantically to keep it from falling to the ground, one of his fingers presses the trigger. BANG. Shot hits man in next booth at shooting range. Accident. Not legal "negligence."

EXAMPLE: Shooter puts magazine in gun, cycles the slide or bolt, takes aim, and gun goes "click." Shooter immediately points the gun off to the side and reaches for the action to open it and inspect the chamber, to see if a round made it into the chamber.
BOOM! The gun fires on its own. The round was a hang-fire with a 3-second delay between primer impact and full ignition of the propellant.
The round leaves the shooting range without coming near the backstop and hits a house a quarter-mile away. Accident, but probably not "negligence."
 

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This is really pretty simple:

Accident: An unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.
Negligent: Failing to take proper care in doing something.

To say an "accident" (particularly in relation to a car collision) is "an excuse to try and absolve one of fault" is not accurate; it is still an accident since most likely the texting ******* didn't intentionally cross the center line and hit you when they were texting.

And somewhat related (well, as far as accidents go), USAA had to pay out $104 for every $100 in premiums they took in. The number one cause? Crossing the center line resulting in a collision when brakes are NOT APPLIED. I can't count how many times in any given trip that I have either oncoming traffic come into MY lane or when I follow someone who is bouncing between the lines and frequently crossing them. So...PUT DOWN THE F*ING PHONE!
 

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Freedom Loving Citizen
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sorry gunsmoker, I believe both examples you used are negligent.
To own a firearm and not know and use proper safety operating procedures is pure negligence. Lack of knowledge is no accident...it is negligent.
 

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Sorry gunsmoker, I believe both examples you used are negligent.
To own a firearm and not know and use proper safety operating procedures is pure negligence. Lack of knowledge is no accident...it is negligent.
If the dropped gun scenario was a glock there is no safety. The hitting the trigger while trying to catch the gun is truly accidental. You can not negligently hit the trigger when catching something. And it is human nature to try and catch something as expensive as a gun.
 

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American
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No. No such thing as an AD. If the weapon has a problem and fired when unintended, or multiple discharges, that is a maintenance problem due to negligence in keeping weapons properly operational.

Nemo
Simply wrong. Parts break, wearing occurs, and sometimes it happens despite excellent gun smithing and inspection.
 

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Freedom Loving Citizen
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If the dropped gun scenario was a glock there is no safety. The hitting the trigger while trying to catch the gun is truly accidental. You can not negligently hit the trigger when catching something. And it is human nature to try and catch something as expensive as a gun.
I don't think it's human nature at all. It's negligent to attempt to catch something that you aren't sure if the trigger will be depressed upon that attempt to catch it.
 

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Man of Myth and Legend
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15,156 Posts
"negligence" is based on deviating from a reasonable standard of care AS KNOWN TO YOU, or as you SHOULD HAVE known it, based on your circumstances.

A casual gun owner who doesn't shoot much, but bought a shotgun from WalMart 20 years ago and took it bird hunting twice, and who now keeps it by the bed for home defense, is probably NOT going to be expected to know, or follow, a long list of rules for gun safety. Probably not even Cooper's four fundamental rules.
No, ownership and handling of firearms requires one know and maintain proper safety precautions.

On the other hand, an experienced shooter who has a big gun collection, been a member of gun rights groups for years, who has attended numerous matches, and also several gun shows, and who regularly shoots at public ranges where "safety rules" are posted WILL BE EXPECTED TO KNOW MORE, and take more precautions, than a newbie.

So, I think an "accidental discharge" that is not negligent is not only possible, but more likely to happen to a newbie.
An experienced shooter will likely be more comfortable with proper safety precautions, but all gun owners are required to know and maintain at least minimum safe skills and precautions.

EXAMPLE: Shooter fully loads gun. Doesn't use safety. Picks it up and does NOT touch trigger. But, fumbles with the gun. Almost drops it. As he grabs it frantically to keep it from falling to the ground, one of his fingers presses the trigger. BANG. Shot hits man in next booth at shooting range. Accident. Not legal "negligence."
No. It is negligence. Did not engage safety and lost control causing, fumbling leading to discharge. Negligence.

EXAMPLE: Shooter puts magazine in gun, cycles the slide or bolt, takes aim, and gun goes "click." Shooter immediately points the gun off to the side and reaches for the action to open it and inspect the chamber, to see if a round made it into the chamber.
BOOM! The gun fires on its own. The round was a hang-fire with a 3-second delay between primer impact and full ignition of the propellant.
The round leaves the shooting range without coming near the backstop and hits a house a quarter-mile away. Accident, but probably not "negligence."
No, it is negligence. Muzzle was not kept pointing in safe direction until such time as chamber is verified clear. And gun did not fire on its own. 3 seconds prior to discharge the shooter pulled the trigger. Negligence.

Nemo
 

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Lawyer and Gun Activist
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So it's "negligence" to pull the trigger on the firearm ??
At the range, aiming at a target, using the correct ammunition for your gun?
You must have been negligent a lot in your lifetime.
 

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Lawyer and Gun Activist
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Another example:

You pull your SKS out of your safe and take it to the range.

You are about to shoot the last of that cheap 10 cents per shot corrosive Communist ammo you got a case of a few years ago.

You charge the mag with 10 rounds from the stripper clip, pull the bolt back and let it snap forward, while the gun is pointing downrange, and...

... and it fires off 4 rounds in fully automatic mode, then jams!

One round hits the ground in front of the backstop and ricochets over. One round hits the backstop safely. Two more fly OVER the backstop, and one of those damages a house a mile behind the shooting range.

It turns out your gun's firing pin was rusted in the fully forward position.
No other parts of your gun are rusted, and there is no sign of rust on the exterior of the weapon.

Are you saying this is negligent? Shooting the gun without having disassembled it and inspected all its small parts carefully before trying to chamber live ammo?
 

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Lawyer and Gun Activist
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A real example:

You go rat hunting at the local dump one winter night.
It's cold and it begins to rain. Freezing rain, turning to sleet, turning to snow.
You shoot a few rats, but it's not very comfortable weather, and you're thinking of giving up.

Then when you take aim at one rat, you pull the trigger and nothing happens. You try to cycle the bolt, but it's jammed.
That's it. You quit for the day.
You take out the magazine, press the safety "on" (but it doesn't move much; it seems to be stuck).
You put the rifle in its padded rifle case, toss it on the back seat of your car, and drive towards home.

20 minutes later, at a red light in front of the Tim Horton doughnut shop where two cops are having a break, that rifle fires and puts a hole through your rear door. The heat of your vehicle finally thawed out the frozen action, releasing the sear fully-- the sear that you partially released when you pulled the trigger trying to shoot that last rat.

Where's the negligence?
 
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