Brickbat: Going Out with a Bang


In Georgia, Philip Woodward, the Juvenile Court judge for Whitfield and Murray counties, has announced his retirement, a week after a newspaper revealed he had fired a gun in his office at the Whitfield County courthouse several months earlier. Woodward told a sheriff's office deputy who responded to the shot he was just getting a feeling for a new Glock pistol. Woodward said he took the magazine out and racked it to make sure it was empty. He said when he put the magazine back in he must have inadvertently chambered a round. He then pointed the gun to the floor under his desk and pulled the trigger. The sheriff's office closed the case administratively without filing any charges.

NEXT: Former S.C. Congressman Mark Sanford Launches Longshot Primary Bid One Day After GOP Cancels S.C. Primary

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Sounds like proper gun handling. Point it in a safe direction and pull the trigger.

    1. Any floors below?

  2. “Inadvertently chambered a round” ought to be added to the cop unions’ legal advice literature.

    1. “Inadvertently chambered a round”
      Not my nickname in school.

  3. This is my rifle,
    This is my gun,
    This one’s for killin’,
    This one’s for fun!

    (But not here in the office! Rent a room! Or go to the shooting range, fer Chrissakes!!!)

    1. No, not at the shooting range. We don’t want to see that shit here either.

  4. Hey, I did my first desk pop!

  5. Woodward said he took the magazine out and racked it to make sure it was empty. He said when he put the magazine back in he must have inadvertently chambered a round. He then pointed the gun to the floor under his desk and pulled the trigger.

    So if the chambering a round was inadvertent, was the taking out the magazine and racking it to make sure it was empty and the pointing the gun under his desk and pulling the trigger inadvertent as well? I mean, if you’re going to make sure the gun is unloaded before you play with it, and then you load the damn thing and play with it some more, what the hell was the point of making sure it was unloaded the first time?

    1. This was a new purchase and he was apparently just fucking around with it. Of course doing so is risky, as a number of airline pilots can attest. When the FAA required them to perform a “chamber check” there were more than a few negligent discharges in the cockpit.

      1. When I was down range, I worked for a COL who killed a couple of clearing barrels. He just couldn’t remember how to clear his weapon correctly. He would pull the slide back, then drop the magazine, then point into clearing barrel and squeeze the trigger. I almost shit myself the first time.

        Enlisted people lost rank for that kind of shit. I never heard of him suffering any consequences.

  6. Well it is a Glock.

    1. I’m no expert, but I have been told that Glocks suck! Don’t be a sucker for these pieces of shit! Don’t be a Glocksucker!

      1. I’ve shot a few Glocks and I don’t like the trigger. As a general rule I’m not a fan of striker fired pistols anyway. The weight and balance was good for Eurotrash plastic, and they fell right on target after each shot. Couldn’t miss. I just prefer a single-action trigger with a hammer.

      2. Glocks are like most other semiautomatics. You need to eject the magazine, before you rack the slide. If you reverse that, as the judge almost assuredly did, you load the next round into the chamber when racking the slide, and then it stays there when you eject the magazine.

        What Glocks don’t have, that some semiautomatic handguns do have, is an interlock that prevents the gun from firing when the magazine has been removed. And this is partially because they have to be dry fired before they can be field stripped (removing the slide, barrel, and recoil spring).

        I have a couple Glocks, a 9 mm G17 and a 10 mm G20. Here in NW MT, G20s are very likely the most popular semiautomatic bear gun sold. One of the advantages of a 10 mm semiautomatic as a bear gun is that they give you typically 2.5-3 times as many rounds as a revolver, and there appear to be brown bear / human interactions every year when the human has expended most of his 15 round magazine into the bear before finally killing the bear. One problem with 10 mm is that it is significantly more expensive than most handgun ammo. But 10 mm Glocks are fairly unique because they can also successfully shoot .40 S&W (which was developed as cut down 10 mm), which is significantly cheaper. Which means that you can mostly practice with .40, but load with 10mm bear loads when in bear country.

        Why Glocks? While not idiot proof, they are bomb proof. They shoot dirty. Drop them into mud. Don’t clean them for a thousand rounds. They still work just fine. Other guns can do that now, but that used to not be the case. You just have to train yourself to always eject the magazine first, before racking the slide, then checking the chamber. And be careful when holstering of catching something in the trigger guard.

    2. Ah, the notorious Glocksidental discharge.

  7. You have to resist the urge to play with your things at work. My Glock stays in the holster. Don’t need to get fired.

  8. Not his fault. He was preparing for the same eventuality that Judge Fleming faced in “In Justice for All”.

    Gentlemen, need I remind you this is a court of law?

  9. He probably locked the slide back after the chamber check. IIRC Glocks will automatically release the slide when you insert a loaded mag, I bet that’s how he “inadvertently” chambered a round

    1. Nope. I just tried it. Inserting a loaded mag into a Glock with the slide locked back does not release the slide.

      1. some will some wont and its not dependable so always check

        1. If you slam the magazine in it will release the slide. If you insert the magazine gently it will not release the slide. I imagine the same holds true for other guns, the 1911 for example.

          It is dependable, but always check is good advice, for all guns.

    2. Equally likely is doing the chamber check by pulling back the slide before ejecting the magazine.

  10. “There are two types of gun owners – those who have had a negligent discharge, and those who will have a negligent discharge”.

    Dry firing on top of a loaded magazine is definitely not a recommended best practice.

    1. and some guns, California, have to have the magazine in to dry fire so always check the mag as well

  11. Haven’t we all done this a handful of time?

    1. Not in a courthouse. Hopefully he was on the first floor and just made a hole in the carpet and chipped the foundation. Though, I will give him some props for gun safety. Proper gun handling means that even if you mess up badly, you are unlikely to hurt anyone.

  12. The sheriff’s office closed the case administratively without filing any charges.

    Judge Sinnott says the case is still on.

  13. Did the deputy’s report include an observation of a whiskey bottle and shot glass on the judge’s desk?

    FFS the firing of the gun was an honorable discharge, amirite?

    Remember, the judge would anticipate firing downward from the bench so not sure if he was just practicing or trying to be safe.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.