We covered a story a while back about a mom who, while driving, was involved in an accidental shooting. The most heartbreaking part was she was shot in the back by her four-year-old son.
Accidental Shooting | How to Prevent It
We covered it here, give it a read if you need a refresher on what happened. The Truth About Guns picked up on a statement made by the mother on her Facebook page that has since been removed—likely because people didn't like what she had to say. I'll provide the link at the end of the article if you want to read it. But for now, what I'm going to do is break this thing down and unearth a valuable lesson all gun owners must know to prevent accidental shooting.
The Facts of the Story
Let's do a bit of backtracking here and go through the important details of the story. Here are the most important parts of her statement:
- Her son was buckled in a booster seat (many accused her of not buckling him).
- He dropped a toy and unbuckled himself to retrieve it (my kids can unbuckle themselves too, though they don't while I'm driving).
- Jamie Gilt put her gun under her seat to store it while driving (more on this in a bit).
- The gun was not the 1911 we were told it was. It was a Springfield Mod.2 (gonna cover this one, too).
- She admits she made a mistake and wants to improve (as anyone would want).
- She hopes her story will make sure this never happens again (we agree).
It's my desire to help her make sure it never happens again, and this is precisely what this article is about. This is in no way an attack on her because she said she's learned from her mistakes. We all need to be willing to move on.
Although those above bullet points are an important part of her story, what I want to focus on here is taking a couple of those points and expand on them a bit. Let's start with the lessons we learned from this accidental shooting incident.
1. Kids can manipulate safety devices.
The first lesson is safety devices, no matter how well we want them to work, can still be manipulated by a small child or completely fail. The Mod.2 is one of the safest guns on the market with a grip safety, trigger safety, and other features. However, if a child has enough time, he can manipulate it to fire.
2. Do not place your gun under the seat.
Second, and more importantly, because this can prevent all such accidents from happening, keep your weapon on your person at all times. Driving with a gun on your hip can be incredibly uncomfortable. If it is uncomfortable, you need to figure something else out. Placing a firearm under the seat is unacceptable—and should never happen.
At the bare minimum, if you choose to not place your gun on your body while driving, do the next best thing which is holstering it in an actual, secure holster attached to your car. There are numerous companies out there making products for you. Spend the $50 and pick one up. If you don't have the extra cash hanging out in your wallet, sell your gun and buy something more comfortable on your hip.
Off-body carry is not something we recommend here at Gun Carrier. However, if you must do so, even a concealed carry is better than putting it under your seat because the firearm is still secured. Though, as I'm writing this, I'm reminded of two other similar stories where children rustled through mom's purse, retrieved a gun, and killed a mom and a sibling respectively.
Again, because it bears repeating, carrying on your body is the best method. Furthermore, it doesn't leave your body until you're ready to put it away. It's that simple. Under the car's seat is never an option. If you do it, stop.
3. The name of the game is control.
You don't realize it, but I'm a mind reader. I know right now, at this very second, some of you are thinking, “but I don't have little kids so this doesn't apply to me.” Yes, it still does!
Let's break this down a bit further because this is very important: Why do you have a gun to begin with? My guess is because it's for self-defense, right? If someone tries to carjack you while you're driving, with or without children, you may not be able to get to your firearm if it's all the way under your seat. However, if it's holstered next to you, under the steering column, or better yet – on your body, you can retrieve it to defend yourself much faster.
But, if you have to reach under your seat, fumbling for it, you may not get it in time thus getting your ass kicked or killed, with a stolen car and/or wallet. And don't even get me started on how dangerous it could be for you to fumble around for a gun that may have moved. What if you push on the trigger while reaching for it? Bang! That's what happens.
The name of the game here is control regardless of who else is in your car. When your firearm isn't on your body, you don't retain control of it. You need to have control of your firearm at all times. If you don't, someone else can pick it up. From that point on, they're in control of your firearm.
Keep the Gun With You at All Times
Okay, let's do a short review, shall we? Children can figure out even the safest of firearms if they have enough time to do so. However, if the child doesn't have access to that firearm, they can't shoot it. The best way to keep small hands away from a gun while driving is by keeping it on your body, holstered in a proper holster. There are other, less-than-good options as well, but should only be used as a last resort. Even if you don't have little kids, it can be dangerous to keep a gun under the seat of your car.
SensiblePrepper shows a video on finding cheap ways to secure your guns and gear in your vehicles:
If you ever do make a mistake, make sure you learn from it like Ms. Gilt apparently has. We all make mistakes and what's important is we take something away from them and apply what we've learned to our lives. Remember, accidental shooting can happen in a split second! My friends, stay safe, shoot well, and shoot often. Before I forget, here's the statement as posted on The Truth About Guns.
Do you have any more lessons on concealed carry guns in your vehicles to avoid accidental shooting? Please share it with us in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.