A 76-year-old gun safety instructor accidentally discharged his weapon in the cafeteria of Minnesota’s Salem Lutheran Church and School. The instructor resigned following the incredibly ironic incident.
According to the police report, someone in the class approached the instructor with a question about a 1911 Colt 45 handgun that was safely locked away in the instructor’s gun case. The instructor then picked up the gun and used it as a visual aide while answering the question. To his credit, the instructor properly followed the National Rifle Association’s first rule of gun safety: Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. The instructor kept the gun pointed away from the eight children and their parents who were present.
And it’s a good thing that he did – the handgun discharged. Luckily, nobody was injured. The bullet penetrated the wall of the cafeteria.
The problem is that the instructor missed one of the other commandments of gun safety: Always assume that all guns are loaded. The instructor told police that he “assumed the weapon was empty."
The Stillwater City Attorney’s Office chose not to press any charges following positive testimonials from the parents. Despite the adrenaline-pumping scare, the parents acknowledged that the gun was never pointed towards anyone and that the instructor exercised “good muzzle control.”
The instructor was also profusely apologetic. He told police and school officials, “You gentlemen can’t imagine the embarrassment I feel towards myself for what took place. I am completely sorry for the incident that took place.”
In a perverse sort of way, the instructor actually did his job. He successfully demonstrated the importance of gun safety, though the students and parents probably would have preferred pie charts and a cautionary tale instead of a live demonstration. Regardless, the incident served as a lesson that those students and parents won’t soon forget.