Editor’s note: This is a guest post written by Renick Morris, who is a new contributor to not-your-average-mom.com and sharing insights and stories from the male perspective.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE MOM DID NOT SHOOT HERSELF, AND NEITHER DID HER HUSBAND.
After reflecting for a very long time on my EPIC DADDY FAIL, I think it would be important to also talk about what I learned from this experience.
Before I do that, when it comes to safety, the fundamental NRA rules for safe gun handling are:
1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.
3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
Guess who broke all three!
I’ve gotten a lot of questions from people wondering how I could be so irresponsible. Asking me why I would point my gun at a wall and pull the trigger? Why would I point the gun at my leg and pull the trigger?
These are valid questions, so let me explain briefly.
The handgun I was using that day has springs in it. There is typically a spring connected to the trigger and when you gun is ready to fire, the spring is compressed. Most people, pull the trigger when there is not a bullet in it to release the tension on the spring. Releasing the tension on the spring could increase the lifespan of the spring.
So when I pointed my pistol at the wall, I believed there was not a bullet in the barrel and I wanted to release the tension on the trigger spring and the only way to do that is by pulling the trigger. I hope that explains why I was pointing it at the wall and my leg.
I also want to clarify one other thing. Because people wanted to know why I kept a loaded gun in the desk drawer in my house.
My office is not inside the house, it is actually in the garage and it’s a separate room from the rest of house. My kids know not to come in my office, but hindsight being 20/20, kids don’t always follow the rules, and I seriously regret keeping a loaded pistol in my desk drawer.
After shooting myself, I sold every handgun in my house, and I didn’t shoot a handgun for about a year. I didn’t want to hold one, I didn’t want to look at one and I didn’t even want to talk about shooting. I just had to detach and I did.
After my family and I had some time to process the whole incident, I eventually got some more guns. Because shooting was something I grew up doing, and I wasn’t going to let this incident dictate the rest of my life. But I was going to use it as a really big learning experience.
Now I own two handguns. One is taken apart, it’s not a revolver, and all of its components are in a bag hidden in my office. I’ve take it apart because I know for a fact that my children don’t know how to put it back together.
To cover the off chance that one of them sneak in my office with a friend who might know how to put my handgun back together, I have a combination trigger lock on it. A combination trigger lock covers the entire trigger of a handgun and renders it useless until you unlock it.
I also have shotguns that are also disassembled and locked in their cases.
All of my firearms are locked up in my office when I’m not in it. The only measure I haven’t taken yet is to buy a 1500 lbs safe to lock them all in and that is something I plan on doing soon.
If I want to (and I don’t), I could remove every firearm in my house and get rid of them all together.
Some people will say that I’m a total asshole for doing what I did and I wouldn’t disagree.
But here is what I’m not going to do: not shoot firearms again or dwell on what could’ve happened.
How I handled my epic blunder with my kids was simple; I didn’t run away from the issue. I dealt with it head on.
I wanted them to know that despite what I did to myself, I wasn’t afraid anymore and after twelve months and numerous conversation with my wife, we agreed that if the boys wanted to learn how to shoot smaller target rifles like 22’s we were going to do it.
I joined a local FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) and every other weekend my boys and I went to the FOP rifle range and we together shot steel targets using a small caliber 22 target rifle.
Prior to doing any shooting, we talked about what happened to me. I answered any questions they had.
The catalyst for this decision was when I was younger, I did a lot of shooting with my Dad and it was a real self-esteem booster for me and I enjoyed it. It was also a time when my father and I would bond. He would sight in my rifle and tell me how I was shooting. We would shoot skeet and make fun of each other. We would bet a dollar on each round of skeet and whoever lost had to sign the dollar with the score and that person held on to it until we shot again.
At the very least, I wanted to give my kids the chance to do the same thing if they wanted to.
So before we went shooting, we went over safety. We went over all of the components of the rifle. We talked about how we clean it, we talked about range etiquette and what it meant when the range was “Clear”.
We obviously talked about never pointing a gun at anyone. EVER! We went over the mechanics of the rifle. How it works. How the bullet works. What happens with the firing pin hit the bullet and why it reacts the way it does. We walked about how to using the rifle sites and where you want to hold the rifle when trying to aim at the target. We talked about the importance of breathing and holding your breath. We talked about slowly squeezing the trigger and we talked about what to do if the gun malfunctions.
After about 6 months of doing this, the boys lost interest and we moved on.
We haven’t been shooting since.
There is a lesson to be learned in almost everything we do. I choose to look at mistakes as opportunities for growth.
Call me stupid. Call me whatever you want actually. But if you aren’t growing, you are moving backwards.
So I took some very important lessons away from this scary and stupid and eye-opening experience.
And now I choose to move forward.
Renick Morris writes about life with his family, bacon, football, being a Dad, marriage, being awesome, growing up, lifting weights, getting healthy, making mistakes, failing and just enjoying the time we have here on his blog The Renick Morris Project and on also on Facebook. Check it out, and Welcome to the Project!
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