Don't Try This at Home, Kids

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The Drug Reform Coordination Network notes that a DEA agent in Florida recently shot himself in the leg during a presentation on gun safety at an event sponsored by the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association. Not only was it a dramatic way to demonstrate the importance of gun safety; it also showed the folly of trusting the government to control guns.

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  1. “Of course, he also should have made sure his firearm was unloaded before bringing it to the classroom.”

    Hell, no! Those classrooms are dangerous places, filled with drugs and weapons and free thought (ok, maybe not free thought)! You can’t expect an agent to go in _there_ without an appropriate level of lethal force backing him up, now, can you?

    Anyway, depending on the type of gun, it’s perfectly possible that he had a slam-fire, unrelated to his finger/trigger relationship, but I’m not betting on it. Many of the police officers I’ve seen handle guns unsafely, compared to civilian shooters.

  2. “Sure Timmy, I carry a gun. Well, I suppose we can look at it, but we have to be very careful. As you know, handguns can be very dangerous. Mr. Simmons, you don’t mind? Well then Timmy, the first thing we need to do is made sure that it is unloaded. There, now it is safe. This is called the magazine; it is where the bullets are kept. Now, to make sure that it is safe, we need to pull back the slide and look inside. Timmy, would you like to come up and AHHHH! Oh shit! I mean ‘Oh shoot’ – Ah shit that hurts! Sorry kids, calm down, OK? Mr. Simmons, call an ambulance! Officer down! Officer down!”

  3. If I were giving a lecture on gun safety to kids, I’d probably clear the chamber before I started waving the muzzle around, but that’s just me.

    Note to self: Asking a grade schooler if there is a round in the chamber is no substitute for looking yourself. Do you think this was a ‘scared straight’ ploy?

  4. Class, This is Mr. Stedenko. Mr. Stedenko is a narcotics officer. That’s better, class.

  5. At least we know what gig s.m. koppelman has on the side (don’t bother flaming me, my lunch hour is over).

  6. If the floor was concrete or carpet on top of concrete, the bullet could have ricochetted. Depending on how the agent was holding the pistol, he could have been hit far worse – or hit a nearby student. Seems rather extreme for demonstrating how not to handle guns…

  7. the agent … removed the magazine, then pulled back the slide

    O.k., this also makes no sense because removing the magazine and pulling the slide back would empty it. Perhaps there was a round in the chamber, and he didn’t pull the slide back far enough to eject it, but even then, the internal safety should have prevented it from firing when the slide was released.

    I think someone’s version of events is a bit off.

  8. My take on it is that this guy is actually a man who is deeply attracted to narcotics, whose waking mind has placed him, out of self-protection, in a job that is in direct opposition to what his subconscious mind desires most. Hence his subconscious mind has finally rebelled by causing him to shoot himself, leading to his being taken to the hospital to be treated with, you guessed it, narcotics.

    Thank you.

  9. CodeMonkeySteve,

    The guns the DEA carries really don’t have an internal safety per se. They carry Glocks, which have three built in safety’s, all of which are deactivated when the trigger is pulled. Having said that, I own a Glock as well and have had the gun fire when the slide is released and there is a round in the chamber. Some friends of mine that are in law enforcement have seen someone drop a Glock and it just went off from the force of the impact. Before anyone starts a rant about why any law enforcement agency would carry a gun that has quirks, Glocks will fire under any condition (i.e. covered in mud, under water, not cleaned regularly, etc.). Glocks are great quick draw/fire weapons, which makes them perfect for undercover work like the DEA does.

  10. “Glocks are great quick draw/fire weapons, which makes them perfect for undercover work like the DEA does.”

    …but no match for a 1911.

  11. CodeMonkeySteve:

    Hmmmmm… I’m not sure which pistol the agent was carrying–the article mentioned it as a “.40 caliber”–but not all semi-automatic pistols are “magazine safe.” It’s entirely possible that he attempted to eject the round after pulling out the magazine, failed to pull the slide back far enough to extract it, released the slide therefore putting the round back into battery. Assuming the pistol was not magazine safe, it could still be fired.

    However, this still doesn’t explain what his finger was doing on the trigger in the first place.

  12. That quick draw/fire comes in especially handy when raiding medical marijuana facilities and attacking sick people.

  13. db,

    Big fan of the 1911 myself. Probably one of the best handguns ever made.

    CodeMonkeySteve,

    The agent was probably carrying a Glock Model 23, which is a compact .40 that is easy to conceal. All Glocks will fire with no magazine. I agree w/ your assumption that he probably didn’t pull the slide all the way back.

    Ben,

    You putz. I have a lot of respect for the DEA. I don’t agree with raiding medical marijuana facilities, but that agency does a lot good. Plus, they’ve got the highest mortality rate of any other law enforcement agency in the US b/c the work they do is so damn dangerous.

  14. Douglas Fletcher: ROTFL

    Seriously, what this guy did was reckless in the extreme. To show people how to remove a magazine or to check to see if a chamber is empty it is not necessary for the gun to be loaded. The gun should have been unloaded before it was brought into the classroom

  15. wabrams:

    Yeah. They probably also have the highest kill rate for innocent bystanders (and family dogs) while raiding the wrong addresses.

  16. wabrams announces: “You putz. I have a lot of respect for the DEA. I don’t agree with raiding medical marijuana facilities, but that agency does a lot good.”

    The DEA does a lot of good? Like what, pray tell?

    I have nothing but contempt for the DEA, but then I’m not partial to jack-booted thugs who crusade against the right of each citizen to own their body. It has, you know, a virtual moratorium on debating with anti-prohibitionists for the simple reason that it cannot defend itself against a well-informed opponent. Nevertheless, it has published a facile debate manual which describes how to lie, evade and misdirect.

    I spit on them, and the prison-industrial complex they have spawned — to the enormous detriment of many incarcerated citizens and to the nation at large.

    –Mona–

  17. If you’re looking for a good ploymer-framed, DA-only, auto pistol, give the Springfield Armory XD line a try. I got an XD-40 over the winter and it’s a fantastic gun. Unlike other DA-only pistols, it has a firm, crisp, trigger pull. Not at all like the “cap gun” feeling you get from a Glock.

    Shoots right off the top of the sights too.

  18. The XD series is also highly reliable. I have only seen one jam once in about 3 years of watching one of my buddies shooting one, and that was probably due to bad ammunition.

  19. Said Vivian Farmer, who attended the presentation with her 13-year-old nephew. “Everyone was pretty shaken up,” Farmer told WKMG. “But the point of gun safety hit home. Unfortunately, the agent had to get shot. But after seeing that, my nephew doesn’t want to have anything to do with guns.

    The point of gun safety training is not to scare kids into ignorance and fear of firearms.

    First, a police officer should never demonstrate firearms safety with his service weapon (he might need it).

    If it were me, I would have brought a weapon with training rounds (dummy solid aluminum rounds with no powder and with a small rubber cushion where the primer normally is). These are safe even if you screw up, and also allow people to illustrate loading, unloading, and making weapons safe – without the possibility of weapon discharge.

    I wonder what kind of gun DEA agents in that area use.

    People seem to forget that semi-auto handguns may have a round in the chamber. This can lead to the situation where a novice removes the magazine and thinking it is then unloaded, fires the round that is in the chamber. (A fire-instructor friend tells me that Smith & Wesson weapons have a safety that prevents firing without a magazine in the magazine well)

    To safe a weapon, I always take the following steps.

    1) NEVER put your finger near the trigger.
    2) Engage the safety (if so equipped).
    3) Remove the magazine.
    4) Hold the slide open with the slide catch lever.
    5) Visually inspect the chamber to ensure that no round is present.

    …and even then I avoid pointing it at anything I don’t want to destroy, I keep it on safe, and I keep my finger away from the trigger.

    Maybe the guy was nervous and skipped a few steps. Still, I’d have a certified firearms instructor teaching people and not just “Joe DEA Agent” or some civilian.

  20. wabrams said:


    Glocks will fire under any condition (i.e. covered in mud, under water, not cleaned regularly, etc.).

    This FAQ has some good details (see bottom of page):
    http://www.topglock.com/info/faq.htm

    Some items of note, only the Glock 17 is designed to be used with an modification that allows it to fire underwater more safely, and only then with special ammunition. Most glocks can’t be fired safely underwater.

    Even when fired underwater, it’s useful range of a Glock 17 is about 10 feet.

    Heckler & Koch on the other hand has a gun (the P11) that really shoots underwater with a range of 10-15 meters (since it was designed specifically for the purpose instead of as a sort of add-on hack like for the Glock 17).

    Unfortunately, it must be sent back to the manufacturer to be reloaded.

  21. wabrams said:


    Glocks will fire under any condition (i.e. covered in mud, under water, not cleaned regularly, etc.).

    This FAQ has some good details (see bottom of page):
    http://www.topglock.com/info/faq.htm

    Some items of note, only the Glock 17 is designed to be used with an modification that allows it to fire underwater more safely, and only then with special ammunition. Most glocks can’t be fired safely underwater.

    Even when fired underwater, it’s useful range of a Glock 17 is about 10 feet.

    Heckler & Koch on the other hand has a gun (the P11) that really shoots underwater with a range of 10-15 meters (since it was designed specifically for the purpose instead of as a sort of add-on hack like for the Glock 17).

    Unfortunately, it must be sent back to the manufacturer to be reloaded.

  22. XD = Glock – Sproingy feel + better pointability

    I have never understood the cult of the 1911. I put some 30,000 rounds through a P7 over an extended period of time with not a single failure to feed and go bang when I pulled the trigger. I know people with SIGs that have similar experiences. There is no 1911 that can do that – certainly not out of the box. I’ve seen Wilson’s, Kimbers, and other top shelf 1911s that all required an inordinate number of tap-racks to go bang.

    I’m retiring the p7 now, and am probably moving to another HK.

    There is something very comfortable about the good ole firearms fanboy conversation you’ve been having for years …

    The more modern designs have a lot going for them.

  23. As far as 1911 reliability goes, I have about 7,000 through my Kimber in the last year and it’s been flawless on factory ammo. The only failures I’ve had can be attributed to my reloading cartridges that are too short in overall length. The Kimber 1911s, from what I’ve seen, are easily as reliable as the newer designs you mentioned.

  24. db:

    Hehe. I was just fishin’ …

  25. Jason:

    I _always_ take that bait 🙂

  26. Glockies and 1911-ites are easy that way. Now, what to buy, what to buy …

  27. Just yesterday, in San Antonio, EMS picked up a patient with a concealed handgun license legally carrying a 9mm.

    Per procedure the EMT secured the handgun in a lockbox on the way to the ER. There he called for law enforcement to take charge of the pistol.

    The officer (over 30 years on the job) removed the handgun from its holster, ejected the magazine, and fired a bullet into the pavement.

    The incident is under investigation.

    Procedure for unloading a semiauto handgun:

    1. Remove the magazine.
    2. Lock the slide open.
    3. Inspect (not glance at; inspect) the chamber and magazine well to make sure no cartridges are present.
  28. Larry, got a link to that San Antonio EMT story?

  29. Pop the mag, cycle the slide, drop the hammer, click.

    Pop the mag, cycle the slide, drop the hammer, click.

    Pop the mag, cycle the slide, drop the hammer, click.

    Pop the mag, drop the hammer BANG! Shit!

  30. Can someone tell me what ROTFL means?

    IHATGIA — I hate all these goddamn internet acronyms.

  31. Douglas: Rolling on the floor laughing.

    –Mona–

  32. The pistol was pointed at the floor, and when he released the slide, one bullet fired into the top of his left thigh.

    This doesn’t make any sense. If the pistol was pointed at the floor, how was the bullet fired into the top of his thigh? Also, unless the pistol was defective, it wouldn’t have discharged merely because the slide moved forward.

    I suspect the DEA agent violated two cardinal gun safety rules: Always point the gun in a safe direction, and keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. Of course, he also should have made sure his firearm was unloaded before bringing it to the classroom.

  33. this clearly shows that even cops can’t be trusted with guns. what about the children (in the classroom)?! we must promptly disarm our police. cops with guns creates a culture of violence,

  34. Neb Okla:

    Sorry. I haven’t figured out how to link to the 10:00 PM TV news yet.

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