One of Those Days – Something Other Than Election Crap

By Don McDougall

Weapon Retention Gun Grab
One of Those Days – Something Other Than Election Crap
Don McDougall
Don McDougall

Fairfax, VA -(AmmoLand.com)- The club had about 25 shooters out for the match. IDPA didn’t exist yet, and IPSIC was struggling with how to deal with race guns.

Each stage was short and aggressive. It was fun. The club was mostly Marines (50-year-old Marines now working as engineers.) and the HRT of one of the larger local law enforcement groups in the County. These guys were good and did national training.

One of our plank holders brought a New Guy he met at work. The New Guy was mouthy and a bit weird. I chocked it up to nerves. It was my turn to be Range Officer (RO) that day. We just cleared the 3rd shooter of the group, and I heard a yelp like a car had hit a dog. Got the shooter to clear and holster (safety first) before turning to see that was going on.

The New Guy is on his knees; his right arm is straight up in the air, and the wrist is turned backwards. It’s held there by the head of the HRT. We’ll call him Mr. LEO. A small crowd has gathered around them and as the RO, they’re all looking at me. Oh goodie…

Walking over “What’s up”… There was another yelp as the New Guy tried to talk and was quieted. “He tried to touch my gun” … I tried to ask…” was it on the bench or in your bag?” Mr. LEO’s eyes faired “It was in my holster, he came up behind me and tried to remove my duty gun.” Mr. LEO was angry. Never a good thing. There was a yelp, and the New Guy was cut off again. I pulled over a bench and sat next to the New Guy. “What’s wrong with you, you know who these guys are?… you’re lucky you were not shot.” Mr. LEO snarled “Too much paperwork.”

Ok, as RO how can I end this and regain balance to my shooting world? The man who bought this guy was hanging behind the now larger crowd. “John, take his firearms, all of them, and place them in your truck.” John didn’t move. John did three tours in Vietnam; the USMC denied him the 4th tour as they felt he enjoyed it too much. “He’s just some guy at work I don’t know him well…” I barked back, “PLEASE just lock up his firearms. Thank you.”

John took the New Guy’s car keys and gun bag. Checked the vehicle for weapons and put the bag and anything else he found in his truck.

So I leaned over to the New Guy. “So what were you thinking.” He looked up at Mr. LEO a quarter nod in my direction translated as “Answer him.”

“I wanted to see what a cop gun looked like.” … I thought about it and said the only obvious thing to say. “Get OUT! John will return your firearms to you when he sees you next.” The New Guy got up and saw the faces of the men around him. He walked about 10 feet then ran to his car and drove off. John offered some half-assed explanation about not knowing the New Guy and after getting things settled down, we went off to finish the match.

Right before we break for lunch a black and white vehicle drove onto the range. We were at the end of a long unpaved path about ¾ of a mile down from a dry river bed. It was an isolated site, and we liked it that way.

The younger officer opened the back door and out pops the New Guy. He is jumping up and down yelling and screaming and pointing at me. He’s yelling about me stealing his guns. The rest of the club don’t close on the cops, but they all turn to face the two officers. The younger officer places his hand on his gun. 25 white guys with 1911’s on their hip have all turned to face them. I keep my hand visible, smile and start to walk as unthreateningly as I can to the two new officers. The New Guy is still screaming, the cops are increasingly nervous, and Mr. LEO jogs by and grabs my shoulder and says “I got this.”

“Tom, Jorge… how are you guys?” The two officers call Mr. LEO by his 1st name, the more gray-haired of the two officers walks over to have a private conversation with Mr. LEO. They’re all smiles, and the New Guy is now silent. The two officers talk and the younger one looks at the New Guy and says… “You’re lucky you weren’t shot.” We get a, “sorry for the interruption” and the officers drive off. Someone in the crowd announces “LUNCH,” and we all pack up and head to a little Mexican place that had handmade tortillas.

The New Guy tries to get into John’s truck to come along for lunch. The discussion was inaudible from where I was, but it was clear John didn’t want a guest.

John was the next to last car out. The RO leaves last to make sure the range is policed and clean.

I see the New Guy in the rear view as I drive off, standing in the parking lot alone. The walk back to the main office was just over ¾ of a mile and slightly uphill. A small gully crossed the road about ½ way through, and was still muddied. I remember thinking that the New Guy was not going to enjoy his walk back to his car.

Some pistol clubs are odd ducks, loyal to their own and sometimes difficult for a new shooter to join. But in this case the new guy was a odd man. Given how he acted sooner or later, he was going to be a problem.

About Don McDougall:

Don McDougall is an NRA instructor and member of the Los Padres “Friends of the NRA” committee. If he’s not at the range you will find him setting the record straight with on gun issues and gun safety on AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

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Tionico
Tionico
5 years ago

I’ve been involved with the Appleseed Program for a few years as an instructor. On any given shoot, we always have a number of folks who have never fired a gun before, including some who stopped on the way down Friday night, bought new guns, and took them out of the box for the first time Saturday morning. We begin every shoot with the Safety Meeting…… the Four Rules duly spoken, expanded, memorised, repeated back. We make it VERY clear the range rules, and that whoever is “calling the line” is absolutely to be instantly obeyed by all. One shoot… Read more »

Dillon Archibald
Dillon Archibald
5 years ago

I pity the ignorant. In an attempt to gain knowledge makes an unforgivable mistake, that teaches him (the hard way) a fundamental lesson. I’m honestly surprised he convinced the other person to take him with. It’s sad that this level of ignorance is able to thrive in this country.

NutherChans
NutherChans
5 years ago

Well told story. Humorous while getting the point across. New Guy sounds like a Darwin Awards competitor who’ll eventually get a gold medal.

5WarVeteran
5WarVeteran
5 years ago

Sweet.
I cannot for the life of me reason out why the “New Guy” remotely thought he could just grab and check out someone else’s gun? Especially without asking.

I wonder if he would do that with condoms as well??

Does he stand around the locker room checking out everyone else’s junk too?

Creepy McCreepensteen.

Robert Thomas
Robert Thomas
5 years ago

That’s the number one reason I don’t take anyone to the range until I know them well. I don’t even let on I have any guns to strangers. People today just seem to be disconnected from reality. The few I have taken to the range, two of them, despite REPEATED admonishments prior to touching a gun, including me making them repaeat the rules aloud, still crossed me with the muzzle. Then they wondered why I freaked out. I’ve had almost no problems with people that are already “gun guys” at the clubs and ranges I attend, and the few issues… Read more »

Carl
Carl
5 years ago
Reply to  Robert Thomas

The muzzle crossing is all to often ignored by many. More people have been injured by unloaded weapons than is often reported. I have been a party to a couple that ended with only bent egos.

Lynn Zaring
Lynn Zaring
5 years ago

I got into firearms in a big way about 1969. I was I was a pimply faced 16 year old, and the weekend range officer (RO) at the Ft. Bliss Rod & Gun Club (when it was around the corner from El Paso information Center, and the horse stables) on weekends during high school from 1971-72. I scooped up lots of brass. I repaired and issued targets. I took “chits” and issued targets to shooters. I wore the red “range officer” cap. I was a too young and innocent, but I was the right price for the job. And I… Read more »

Nite Owl
Nite Owl
5 years ago

As a Range Safety Officer at my gun club, I would have taken exactly the same action. Good call. This is also the main reason that all applicants are reviewed by the club board before being granted membership in most clubs. The “odd fellow” would not have made the cut.

durabo
durabo
5 years ago
Reply to  Nite Owl

As an RSO, I may have unintentionally broken the Noo Yawkah’s wrist. Adrenaline, y’know?

MrApple
MrApple
5 years ago

Strange story.

Vanns40
Vanns40
5 years ago

Good story, good ending. It was handled just the way it should have been.