Thursday, March 03, 2005

A Guest Blogger

Today, we are bringing you a guest blogger, Seth of Massachusetts. We felt our readers will enjoy a little variety.

When we started this blog, Seth soon found us and has made many excellent comments and sent many e-mails to us. Seth is very knowledgeable about firearms and has been shooting his entire life. He too is frustrated with Massachusetts gun laws. In short, we have a lot in common, although we've never met in person. Our post about gun safety inspired him to write this guest post. So, without any further ado, we give you Seth from Massachusetts. Enjoy.

Don’t touch that gun, it might be loaded – Well, perhaps you should

The other day Denise blogged about gun safety. Thought it would be a good time to describe an incident I was a witness to which involved an egregious violation of the rules and how it came out right by sheer accident.

The year was 1963 or 4, perhaps a little later, my memory of the exact time is not clear. The place was rural New Hampshire, in an old barn serving as an antique shop. It was a rainy day, which often means good business for antique shops, when the summer tourists are unable to do their usual outside activities, so they go antique shop hopping.

The owner of the shop had problems with pigeons in his barn, and to keep them under control, he had a .22 caliber single shot, manual cocking bolt-action rifle. Unfortunately, he was not fully schooled in proper handling and thought once the piece was cocked, it would not be un-cocked without firing it. On that day he had loaded and cocked the piece with the intention of taking out a Pigeon, but had not had the opportunity to fire, and so laid the rifle down on one of the tables in the loft of the barn/shop.

In mid-afternoon in came five customers, a young couple, an older couple to whom the young couple were cousins, and their 13/14/15 year-old son. As they were poking around the shop, the kid wandered off alone and made his way up to the loft. Can you feel bad vibes coming on? Cue the music that plays in the horror movies when the audience yells “Don’t open that door!” The kid had taken a small amount of training in riflery at summer camp, but had no other practical experience with guns (and had never seen or handled a manual cocker). He had, however, been eagerly digesting every gun and shooting book and magazine he could get his hands on (his room at boarding school had a stack of back issues a couple of feet high). Of course the first thing he noticed was the rifle. Without even realizing what he was doing, his hands went on autopilot. He picked up the rifle, clamped his thumb firmly over the cocking piece, pressed the trigger, and eased the striker down. Then he flicked open the bolt and was stunned when a live round flipped out.

He stomped down to the main level with the rifle in one hand and the round in the other and gave the shop staff a piece of his mind. The owner not at all pleased with being talked down to by a kid, marched the kid out to the front door and made him demonstrate his un-cocking procedure.

Well, that kid was me. I violated one the basic rules of gun safety that day “don’t touch that gun, it might be loaded,” and I’m convinced that somewhere in this world there is someone who is either alive today or lived out a normal life expectancy because I got to that gun before someone else did and unloaded it.

So, if you don’t want your gun handled, don’t let me get within grabbing distance of it, because if I do, I’m going to open the action.

Seth from Massachusetts

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