The Easter vigil mass at the Blessed Sacrament church in Altoona, Pennsylvania, had some unexpected excitement Saturday night when a parishioner’s gun discharged during the service.
‘Clinging to Guns Or Religion’
How prophetic that then Senator Obama was referring to working-class voters in Pennsylvania and the Midwest, when in 2008 he said,
“And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Last Saturday evening, one Pennsylvanian gun owner proved Obama correct, while embarrassing himself and all 2nd amendment supporters when his legally carried weapon accidentally discharged during Saturday night’s Easter service.
The so far unidentified gun owner, claiming the trigger caught on his pants, told police the gun discharged when he stood up during the service. The bullet grazed his hand while smoke filled the area. Police officer Christy Heck said the safety was ‘apparently not engaged.’
Jason Wagler was attending mass with his fiancee. Wagler said,
“We were standing for a few minutes and just before the final procession started, the gunshot went off. I immediately took a step back and was about to take cover. You never know if you’re safe anymore in this world. It’s a shame to know you can’t go into church without having something like this happen.”
Unsure what had just occurred, Wagler said some people thought a speaker had blown. But when he saw smoke, Wagler knew it was a gunshot. Using his phone he was able to take a few photos showing the small automatic’s handgrip. Wagler said,
“I noticed the gun was handed to another gentleman. He immediately concealed it in a white program, so I took pictures of the gun inside this program.”
To be clear, not all weapons have a safety to prevent firing. As a long time concealed carry permit holder, I carry everywhere I go. Yes, I’ve even carried my weapon while attending church services. However, and I know this is controversial, I was always taught to never leave a round chambered. Even with a safety, I do not carry with a round chambered. Not EVER! I just don’t do it.
If you’re one that believes that extra tenth of a second it takes to chamber a round may make the difference, then at the least I hope your weapon has a safety and you keep it engaged. My personal carry weapon, the Kel Tec PF9, does NOT have a safety.
If that weapon sounds familiar to you, George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin with a Kel Tec PF9. Which means Zimmerman was walking around with his weapon, without a safety, and with a round chambered. It takes 2 hands to chamber a round. Think how things might have been different if Zimmerman had shoved that weapon in Martin’s face to break up the fight, de-escalating the situation without firing a shot. We’ll never know.
Thank goodness no one was seriously hurt. This example of an idiot having a gun could have ended in tragedy if another mass attendee had been injured or killed.
Police said the man was taken to the hospital for treatment. At this point, no charges have been filed.
The constitutional right to own and possess firearms as a function of citizenship is unique to America. But with that right, comes responsibility. There can be no excuse for an accidental discharge.
Guns are powerful tools for hunting and personal protection. But the responsibility for every round placed in that weapon, the responsibility for who has access to the that weapon, and for the security of that weapon lies 100% with the owner.
This gun owner has displayed he has neither the knowledge nor personal responsibility to be a concealed carry permit holder.