Monday, August 8, 2011

Negligent Discharges (for Anonymous)

Since our anonymous friend has such a thing for the time I had a "negligent discharge" with a Reck PK800, an 8mm blank firing gun. I thought I would humour him with this post about the Stansfield Report on Negligent Discharges from the RAMC Journal.

As far as I know, the Stansfield Report is the only one of its kind that investigated the incidence of unintentional firearm discharge and injury across the military, in this case across the UK Armed Forces. The report's conclusion was that Armed Forces doctors should be aware of the incidence of UK Military unintentional firearm injury and the context in which they occur in order to facilitate informed discussion with the chain of command about preventing (preferable) or responding to these injuries.

Of course, is the subject of negligent discharge addressed in a properly informed manner, which I would point out that anonymous's continual comments about the ND with a blank firing weapon demonstrate that they are not. While the Stansfield report pointed out that The UK Armed Forces unintentional discharge rate must be put into context, other country’s militaries do not actively place this sort of information in the public domain. Of course, there is a stigma to this topic since the name Negligent Discharge implies the assumption that a trained soldier has control of his weapon at all times. Thus, there can be no accident involved, but only negligence in handling.

The Stansfield report points out that Over the 5 year period that this study ran, there were 1158 Unintentional firearm discharges, forty three (4%) of which resulted in injury. Fifty five military personnel sustained unintentional firearm injuries during the review period, more than half of which were gunshot wounds and this included one fatality. The Regular Army suffers an average of 7.7 unintentional firearm injuries per 100 000 Regular Army person years

Nevermind that one of the ND mentioned in the Stansfield report was a REME armourer servicing a challengingly blocked rifle. I put it to you that a loaded weapon presents the possibility of an accidental discharge or negligent discharge no matter how well you are trained. As the Stansfield report points out, The comparatively low rate of UK gun ownership may be one explanation; nevertheless UK unintentional general injury fatalities are significantly lower than elsewhere.

I put it to you that there is probably a significant amount of negligent discharge in the US firearms owning population. I point to this post at TTAG: Self-Defense Tip: STFU:
TTAG has an entire series called Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day, wherein we admonish readers to take responsibility for every bullet fired from their gun or guns every time. No matter what.

However, there is a time and a place for everything. The best time for a gun owner to take responsibility for their safety and the safety of those around them: before bad shit goes down. So that it doesn’t. But life is a messy business. People make mistakes. Shit happens. When it does you need to weigh your options before you own-up—especially to the cops.

The first problem with accepting the blame for an ND immediately post-facto (without consulting an attorney): you don’t know how the Man’s going to take it. For example, you might be ready to take the heat for loosing a round whilst pointing the gun in a safe direction. After all, no one was injured. Why not put your hands up?

Because an over-zealous DA could look at a “simple” ND and decide to prosecute you for failure to maintain control of your firearm (check your state’s laws). If he or she’s successful, you will lose your Second Amendment rights. Forever. If not, you’re still going to have a $100k-ish lawyer’s bill to pay.

To protect your gun rights, to defend your ability to defend yourself with a firearm, you have to assume that the police and the DA don’t give a shit about you or your family. They play politics and you, sir, are a pawn. In fact, it’s best to assume that they’re all out to get you.

I think that pretty much sums up the popular belief on negligent discharges.

Especially from our Anonymous friend.


  1. Interesting stats about % of negligent shootings, and how many resulted in injuries or deaths.

    A virtual unknown is how this compares to negligent shootings among the citizens of the U.S. It's hard enough finding data on accidental discharges that lead to death or injury, but it's pretty much impossible to find stats on non-injury accidental shootings. Very few get reported at all.

  2. I was surprised to find this was the only report of its kind. Given that it was done by the Royal Army Medical Corps, I still wonder if there are any non-injury NDs that didn't show up.

    Still, it's probably fairly accurate.

  3. Fascinating report including some percentages. Farago's criminal advice to his friends is typical of the gun-owner mentality. I've attempted to take them to task over that a few times. They're a tough crowd, though.