Accidental Discharge At Gun Show Reminds Us – All Guns Are Loaded

Bob Irwin highlights the latest self defense and other shootings of the week. Read them and see what went wrong, what went right and what we can learn from self defense with a gun.

Accidental Discharge
Accidental Discharge
Bob Irwin
Bob Irwin

USA –-( The Desert News reports Sept. 25, 2016 in Sandy, Utah that at the South Towne Expo Center a 73-year-old man exhibiting several guns had an interested 49 year old buyer walk up to his table.

The buyer was interested in a Colt .45 1911 handgun. The seller had all of his weapons zip tied and the buyer asked him to cut the zip tie so he could further examine the gun.

Reports are that the customer manipulated the slide, not realizing there was a magazine in the gun. After manipulating the slide, he did notice the magazine and removed it. He then pointed the gun down at the floor and pulled the trigger.

One shot fired, striking the concrete floor.

That sent some chips of concrete and the main part of the bullet ricocheting into a nearby pillar. Chips from the floor hit a 17 year old and a 13 year-old who were standing a few feet away.

An EMT examined the two teens and their parents declined medical treatment. The potential customer who fired the gun will likely not be cited as the case was determined to be an accident.


The incident is a good reminder for all gun owners. Always assume every gun is loaded. The customer pointing the “empty” firearm in a safe direction may have saved a tragedy from happening.

No matter what mistakes are made, Safe Direction makes such events only really embarrassing and clearly educational, but not tragic!

People who handle guns daily as part of their daily lives can have an accidental discharge, never let your guard down, treat all guns as loaded, always.

Bob Irwin, The Gun Store, Las Vegas

About Bob Irwin

The writer is the owner of The Gun Store in Las Vegas and has a gun talk radio show “Fired Up with Bob Irwin” Firedup is now on KSHP 1400 am radio from 5 to 6 pm on Thursdays and at the same time also on YouTube “Fired Up with Bob Irwin.

  • 14 thoughts on “Accidental Discharge At Gun Show Reminds Us – All Guns Are Loaded

    1. I agree…..this was not an AD, but a ND. I recently was looking at handguns at a local gun store in my area. I asked to see a particular weapon. The seller cleared the weapon as he should, then handed the weapon to me. I then went through the clearing process myself, even though I had just watched the seller do it two feet in front of me. As I looked over the weapon, I made sure as I moved and checked out the sights that I never crossed anything with the muzzle that I wasn’t willing to destroy. After I handed the weapon back to the seller, he commented that he wished every potential buyer handled firearms the way that I did. I told him that my Dad taught me right, and that I had never in my fifty years of handling firearms had a ND. You can never become complacent when it comes to firearms safety. A firearm should be considered loaded “always”, and should be handled as such. ALWAYS!

    2. Prepped mag in the mag will of the pistol? Fault of seller. Handing it, inzipped, to a potential buyer without going through ALL the steps of making a weapon SAFE? Fault of seller. Those steps are MAG OUT, BOLT BACK, SAFETY ON, BORE FLAG, and then one can safely handle it, but still.. ALWAYS keep the muzzle in a safe direction. Seems this was the ONLY rule that was followed, but we’re all glad it was, else there would likely have been something besides the concrete floor hit by that round.

      Potential buyer fails to SAFE the weapon himself? HIS fault. This discharge was not “accidental”, it was gross negligence on the parts of two who should have known better.

      Gun show, friend, gun counter at Cabelas or Big Five, even if I watch the guy handing me the weapon safe it, I will go through those same steps myself. WHY? Because once that weapon is in MY hands, anything that happens is MY fault. I cannot point the finger at the guy behind the counter. MY FAULT. Always.

      To the poster above who said that when the mag is out the slide will not close… this might be true of most current productioin weapons, but there are many, particuylarly at gun shows, early enough the slide will close quite normally on a mag in the well empty or prepped. The slide closing is no guarantee of anything except that it is closed.

    3. There is no such thing as an ‘accidental’ discharge. The proper term is ‘negligent’ discharge. #1, what was the dealer doing showing a weapon with a loaded magazine. #2, the buyer did not make sure the weapon was clear before pulling the trigger. Negligence piled on negligence.

    4. Guns put on display should not be loaded. Loaded guns should not be tied, zipped or padlocked.
      Every “rule” about displaying firearms was broken by the seller.
      The “customer” also violated the basic rules and common sense, the only thing he did that was clos to being correct was he didn’t pint the gun at somebody.

      A. If you rack the slide and it closes there is a loaded magazine and the chamber is now loaded.
      B You have to look into the open action to verify that the gun is unloaded, just racking the slide is loading the gun.

      A loaded gun in a proper holster is safe as long as it isn’t drawn to show or display. If you are going to display guns anywhere, they should be unloaded on the table and locked for anti-theft and safety. If you need a loaded gun it belongs in your holster.

      Perhaps a 5 gallon bucket of sand should be at every table at a gun show for dry firing trigger testing.

    5. You can’t accidentally load and insert a magazine, accidentally rack the slide ,and accidentally pull the trigger. It is pure negligence.

    6. Okay, the list…. 1.) Loaded magazine, AT THE GUN SHOW. 2.) In the weapon. 3.) Hand it to a stranger, and DON’T MENTION it’s loaded. 4.) Cut the zip tie. The seller was 95% responsible for this. Yes, the anonymous stranger wandering by was responsible, too, but that’s what a PUBLIC gun show attracts. This story creeps me out because I am a regular at gun shows, and ballistically speaking, every person at the gun show was within range of a .45 ACP round. I do not hold the general public (with all levels of expertise) to the same standard as a vendor. PLEASE follow the basics, it was just one small choice by the customer between a ricochet and a 13 year-old fatality.

    7. Any time I pick up a firearm…gun show or store…I always clear the weapon, even if the person handing it to me just did the same thing. I consider every firearm loaded until I, personally, clear it and this is what I’ve taught my children. Where I live…all firearms at gun shows have their actions ‘zipped’ open or the bolt is removed and magazine wells are also zipped. This is done at the door before you even go in. Removing any of the zip ties…for any reason will get a vendor or attendee…removed.

      1. Here in MD it’s customary to remove and replace zip ties if a customer wants to examine a gun more closely. I can’t imagine, however, the absolute stupidity of displaying a loaded gun for sale on a show table.

      2. Dave, “I consider every firearm loaded until I, personally, clear it…” Absolutely. And that’s any where: shop, range, class. If it was out of my sight, I check it again!

    8. Sounds like stupidity on both parts to me. In my state we zip tie the gun with slide open and zip tie goes through the magazine well. Maybe other states should make this the rule!

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