Yesterday a 13 year old boy was accidentally shot at what we like to call “The Wild West Range” since it’s the only unsupervised public range in the area. I’d like to say I’m shocked by this, but it’s surprising to exactly no one who’s ever been out there. Because there are no RSOs, no lanes, no check-in, and no enforcement of any rules that may be posted, I never go to this range alone and for a long time wouldn’t go without wearing soft body armor (Yeah. I’m that guy). Everyone who’s been there more than a couple of times has a story of where they were down range putting up targets and Bubba and Cletus start blasting coke bottles 3 or 4 lanes away.
This range is the reason that Oddball and I took a gunshot wound treatment class from the late Paul Gomez. I encourage everyone who is more than a once-a-year shooter to take a similar class and put together a simple GSW treatment kit. I keep one in each vehicle we own and one in my range bag.
Now, all that being said, this is the first accident I’ve heard of in the 15 years I’ve been going to that range. Bubba and Cletus are technically correct when they say “c’mon, man! You’re way over there! I’m not that bad a shot!” It’s highly unlikely that anyone is that bad a shot, but I’d prefer not to find out.
This tragedy appears to have happened not because someone started shooting during a cold range, but because of a series of handling safety failures:
The boy, whose identity and hometown was not released, was shot with a .22 single action revolver, said Randy Cromer, who oversees the CMWA.
He was taken by Life Flight to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.*
Cromer said the boy was there with his father and another family member. They were checking on their targets when the shooting occurred.
He said several firearms were on a bench when a woman moved them and that’s when the revolver discharged, hitting the boy in the lower abdomen.
What appears to have happened, based on this limited report, is that someone left a single action revolver loaded and with the hammer cocked on the table. Then, a person who wasn’t familiar with the firearm started fiddling with it while people were down range. The negligent discharge happened because that person violated rules 1, 2, and 3.
Now for the good news:
Cromer said the injuries appear to be non-life threatening.
I told my wife last night that everyone is very, very lucky this happened the way it did. The boy was hit in the abdomen (rather than the chest or the head) at 25 yards (the closest target stand to the bench) with a .22LR (rather than, say, a .44 or God-help-us a rifle round) fired from a pistol (rather than a rifle).
The kid, and the woman who had the negligent discharge, are very lucky.
PS: I will happily and enthusiastically promote any GSW classes you can find. You can leave them in the comments or shoot me an email. I may make a new dedicated page for providers if I can find enough of them. Please, please, please take a class and make a GSW kit.
Edit: Reader Kevin suggests this class with dates across the country.
*I’m glad that we now know they will send LifeFlight to pick up an accident victim at that range. It’s probably 25 minutes away from the nearest emergency room, and Vandy is a level 1 trauma center.