Can Guns Be Negligently Discharged?

Many of the guns commonly used and carried today are designed with safety in mind. Even so, you may be wondering if it’s possible for a gun to go off due to negligence. The short answer is yes, it’s something that can happen in certain situations. The firearms safety education professionals from LTC Austin, your premier choice for Austin LTC online training, explore this topic a bit more and offer some tips to prevent the negligent discharge of your gun.

It’s Important to Understand What a “Negligent Discharge” Is

For a gun to fire, the primer needs to be ignited. This happens when a spring-loaded hammer places pressure on the firing pin to push it to the rear of the bullet casing when the trigger is pulled. This action is what ignites the primer and “fires” the gun. “Negligent discharge” refers to any unintentional action that causes a gun to fire.

Modern Guns Are Less Likely to Negligently Fire

You may have visions of Western comedies in which somebody negligently shoots him or herself in the foot when attempting to pull the gun out of the holster. In fact, such instances of negligence did sometimes occur back in the 19th century. However, this was before the invention and widespread use of the firing pin block. Fortunately, many of today’s guns typically have some type of safety mechanism in place to prevent negligent discharge. For instance, revolvers normally have half-cock or hammer safeties.

Not All Guns Have Traditional Safeties

Almost all modern guns have some sort of safety mechanism. This includes pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Because of this, it’s extremely uncommon for a gun to go off when the trigger isn’t pulled. However, not all safety mechanisms will look the same. One pistol may have a traditional safety on the side of the gun, while another may have the safety built into the trigger.

It’s Essential to Be Cautious with Older Guns

In 1968, drop safety tests became mandatory for gun manufacturers. These are tests done to make sure safety mechanisms function as intended if a gun is accidentally dropped. However, if you collect or own older or antique guns, it’s important to take precautions to prevent negligent firing. This typically means:

• Watching how much pressure is placed on the gun
• Locking up the gun when it’s not in use
• Pointing the gun away from you when cleaning or inspecting it

There Are Ways to Prevent Negligent Discharge with Any Gun

Regardless of what type of gun you have, there are some steps you can take to prevent it from negligently discharging. If you have a handgun with a safety mechanism, make sure the safety features are working properly. Also, do a routine inspection of any guns you may have that aren’t used too often. What this does is determine if wear from sitting in storage has affected any key parts, including safety mechanisms. Lastly, err on the side of caution when cleaning or handling your gun, and always keep the barrel pointed away from yourself or anyone around you.

If you already own a firearm or you’re considering purchasing one, it’s essential to know how to use it safely. LTC Austin is dedicated to providing the finest firearms training available. Whether you simply need to learn how to handle a gun and shoot safely or you want to take an Austin online LTC course, LTC Austin has what you need. Give us a call today at 512-766-3039.