A tragic accident over the weekend at a shooting range on the Volokolamsk Highway just outside of Moscow claimed one man’s life. The one responsible for pulling the trigger was a 12-year-old boy who was “playing around” and the entire incident was captured on the facility’s surveillance cameras. The story was first published on the Russian website Life News.
Apparently, according to LiveLeak, the boy was at the range with his mother and her male friend and the three were accompanied by a female shooting instructor when the accident occurred.
The boy’s mother and her friend had gone down range to look at a target they had just shot while the boy sat at the other end of the range with the instructor. The boy picked up a rifle while sitting at a table and the instructor offered to take a picture of him while he held the gun. Unbeknown to either the boy or the instructor, the firearm was loaded.
The boy aimed the rifle at his mother’s friend down range and squeezed the trigger. A shot rang out and the man dropped to the floor. The single shot struck him in the head, killing him instantly, according to the police.
Apparently police place blame on the boy for playing with the loaded firearm, but are also holding the instructor responsible who was supposed to ensure that the gun was secure at the time.
It is unknown at this time if anyone and who will face charges in the man’s shooting death.
The true tragedy here is that this accident could have been avoided had either of the three adults present or the 12-year-old boy simply followed the universal gun safety rules.
According to the National Rifle Association, the three most basic rules for safe handling of firearms are as follows:
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.
ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
All of these rules are set forth in such a way that if, for whatever reason, one fails, the others will help to prevent accidents. For example, if the trigger is accidentally pulled, the chances of an accident are reduced if the gun is already pointed in a safe direction, as it should be. Likewise, if the one handling the firearm ensures that it is in fact unloaded instead of simply assuming so, tragedies can often be prevented, as this seems to be an all too common occurrence, especially among children.
While the topic of what the appropriate age is to introduce children to firearms is a much debated one, even among gun rights advocates, no matter what age is agreed upon, the safety rules should always precede the child ever holding a gun in his or her hands.