Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shooting Range Suicide

The Los Angeles Times reports on another gun range suicide.

A Los Angeles man shot and killed himself at the Firing-Line indoor shooting range in Burbank, police said Friday.

It was at least the third suicide at the range in the last few years.

Last year, Stephen Daniels, 64, of Burbank shot himself in the head at the firing range. Daniels’ death came about a year after a 25-year-old Glendale man rented a handgun and shot himself in the head.

The firing range has instituted an assortment of safety measures in response to the incident, officials said.

One safety measure they haven't tried yet is a big padlock on the front door. I'll bet that would stop the suicides.

I'm sure the pro-gun crowd can live with the percentages, the number of suicides divided by the total number of customers is probably low enough. What do you think? Is this acceptable?

On the site of the shooting range I saw an interesting thing.

If you bring your own ammunition...
It must be Full Metal Jacket (FMJ, TMJ, CMJ) or completely lead.
Hollow point, steel core, or soft point/semi-jacketed bullets are NOT allowed.

Wolf Brand ammunition is NOT allowed

Is that what they meant by "instituted an assortment of safety measures in response to the incident?"

What's your opinion? What "safety measures" can a shooting range implement anyway that will prevent folks from blowing their brains out?

Please leave a comment.


  1. I really doubt that anything can be done to stop a person that's determined to kill themself.
    I have to wonder, though. What possible safety benefit could come from limiting shooters to the most ricoche-prone type of bullets (FMJ)?

  2. Of course there are thousands of shooting ranges where zero people commit suicide.

  3. "What's your opinion? What "safety measures" can a shooting range implement anyway that will prevent folks from blowing their brains out?"

    Are there any "safety measures" that can prevent folks from driving head on into stationary objects?

    Of course not. People will use whatever means available to kill themselves. And as long as they don't hurt innocent people, I have no problem with that.

    As far as I am concerned, the right to defend your life comes with the right to take your life.

  4. "One safety measure they haven't tried yet is a big padlock on the front door. I'll bet that would stop the suicides."

    No, that would only stop the suicides from happening THERE.

    Let's review:
    Gun range, in LA (Burbank) where guns are harder to buy due to onerous laws and restrictions, than say, Oklahoma or New Mexico.

    Gun range rents firearms, though, at a fraction of the cost of buying one with no waiting period. The individual doesn't have to save up money, or wait five days to off himself.

    Despondant or suicidal individual recognizes that a gun is effective, and generally works well for the purpose of ending their life.

    Suicidal individual rents gun (with minimal cost compared to having to buy it, plus no waiting period) and kills himself at the gun range because it was a simple and effective way to get the gun and simple and effective way to kill himself.

    Had the laws in California been less restrictive, this person would have likely done the deed at home, but still would have likely done the deed. Conjecture? Sure. But it is just as much conjecture on your part to believe otherwise.

    The reality is, that individuals bent on suicide are going to continue to do this as long as guns exist and there is a simple way to get them. They are going to kill themselves (or attempt to) because--get this---they are suicidal.

    Making it harder to get the guns will only reduce the number of suicidal people who use a gun to kill themselves. It will not change the number of people who commit suicide overall, as gun control countries such as Australia and Great Britain show perfectly. The suicide rates there are fairly static, despite having taken away the option of guns.

    Suicidal people will find other methods of ending their lives.

    Suicide, while tragic, is a separate issue.

  5. I don't see why they've banned hollow-points, soft-points and semi-jacketed rounds. There's no rational basis for banning those.

    Steel core rounds I understand, as my range has a ban on those as well since they tear up the backstop.

    Some places ban Wolf because it's cheap and steel cased. The range makes money off of spent brass and doesn't want to have to sort out steel cases.

  6. "There's no rational basis for banning those."

    Remember, even though this is a gun range, it's still in California.

  7. Another reason for banning Wolf that I've heard at the local indoor range is that Wolf is dirty. It doesn't just foul up the insides of the gun, but it also is pure hell on the indoor air filtration. Don't know that it's true, mind you, but it has been put forth as a reason to object to it.

    The steel case is probably the more likely reason.

  8. If that were the reason, why not ban Blaser's aluminum cases or anything using a berdan primer?
    Probably the dirt in them, or they didn't want to hear complaints about gouged up non-chromed chambers that have no business cycling steel cases.

  9. FWM said, "Of course there are thousands of shooting ranges where zero people commit suicide."

    Now who's guessing? Or is that just a feeling you have? It's OK, I understand how people like to make statements based upon their feelings and pass them off as facts.

  10. "I understand how people like to make statements based upon their feelings and pass them off as facts."

    No, that's what YOU do.

    It should be fairly easy for you to disprove FatWhiteMan's number, if you're correct. You can do a post on it. Please show your work.

  11. Hollow-point are typically banned due to their purpose: fragmentation. At an indoor range, shooting at the re-bar reinforced target frame with rounds that expand and fragment on impact, as close as 7 feet to the shooter can end in a very bad day for everyone on the line. While chances of of a fragment making contact with someone is slim to none, it is a possibility. Steel cased, Russian ammo like Wolf, is garbage and bad for your gun. Period. The angles of the range and frames are designed to minimize FMJ ricochet.

    In training I have stood more than halfway down the line, where the shells from the shooter next to you literally bounce off your head. After probably 20,000 rounds we have never experienced a ricochet with FMJ ammo.

    The sarcastic comments of the reporter are amusing and ignorant. Guns are here to say, have been for hundreds of years. Everyone has the right to choose when they die, regardless of what the government tells you. It is your right as a creature of free thought. I disagree with cheap gun rentals, however the right of every individual to keep and bear arms is not up for debate. We might let you think it is, and impose some silly restrictions, but watch what happens when they come for all of our guns and a healthy fear of the people shall be restored to the government.

  12. Also Mikeb, it is absolutely factual that a VAST majority of shooting ranges with proper safety procedures never experience a fatality on the line. I have personally attended hundreds of ranges around the US and while everyone knows of a fatality that happened somewhere, at some time, they have never had the experience at any of the ranges I have been to.

    In fact it is an extreme rarity: "Firearms are involved in 0.5% of accidental deaths nationally, compared to motor vehicles (37%), poisoning (22%), falls (17%), suffocation (5%), drowning (2.9%), fires (2.5%), medical mistakes (1.7%), environmental factors (1.3%), and pedal cycles (0.7%). Among children: motor vehicles (41%), suffocation (21%), drowning (15%), fires (8%), pedal cycles (2%), poisoning (2%), falls (1.9%), environmental factors (1.5%), firearms (1.1%) and medical mistakes (1%)."
    If you want to save people, ride a bike. Guns are scary, and therefore make alot of waves in the media. Its all Hollywood people. Look at the statistics before you make an asshat of yourself.

  13. Finally on the flip side honestly if I wanted to kill myself, and I didnt have any money, I would rent a .22mag for 10 dollars at my local range and blow my brains out too.

    I believe gun RENTALS should be illegal. It puts firearms in the hands of any inexperienced jackass that wants to give it a go. While serving as a volunteer range officer, 90% of the issues I had were with people who rent guns for recreation. They simply dont know what they are doing. They are also the majority of folks who would give us backtalk because you know, trained professionals who are around guns 5-10 hours a day dont know what the hell they are talking about.

    Proper operation and understanding of a firearm requires money, forethought, and training. Not a saturday afternoon.

  14. Anonymous, why don't you give yourseld a name so at least we can distinguish your comments from the other anonymous commenters.

    Thanks for all those percentages you threw out there. Too bad you limited your remarks to accidents, which are the least of the gun violence problems. Strange that you did that since the post was about suicide.

  15. The safety measures they were referring to where not renting to loners, The ammo restrictions have always been there and are for general safety. Depending on the length of the range and the type/quality of the backdrop/berm not all a ammo is safe. FMJ is NOT the most ricochet prone against indoor backdrops.

  16. this is simply not a gun control issue, it's a suicide issue. Long before guns people still killed themselves, the only thing that has changed is the method. It's not even an ease thing really, it's just as easy to jump off a building as it is to go to a firing range and rent a gun. Not that I would oppose the same sort of checks for rentals that are used for purchases (where I live the check for purchasing handguns takes 10 seconds), but that does increase the cost. I think the cost here for the history check is $6, and when the range fee is only $6-$12, that's a fairly hefty premium. Of course if you're renting, trips to the range are expensive no matter how you cut it :)

  17. It is a gun control issue, Fred, in that there appears to be a far greater frequency of gun suicides than say, jumping suicides. Further there are extensive studies which show that gun suicides appear to be far more the impulsive method of choice in suicides, and are more frequently fatal than other methods. And they are particularly a dangerous method of choice among children and teens.

    You can't make a fair argument that all methods are equal for suicides; they aren't.

    Reducing gun possession significantly reduces suicides in ways that other efforts to reduce suicide do not.

  18. Fred, I agree with Dog Gone. It's not just a suicide issue.

    I read a survey of gunshot suicide survivors. Everyone of them were glad they survived and never tried it again.

    Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and guns are too often unforgiving.