Today a Lincoln County (NC) deputy sheriff lost her job after her 11-year-old daughter was struck, while at home, with a bullet from the mother's handgun.
These are not the kind of news reports anyone wants to hear about. Regardless of your feelings toward firearms, we all agree that if you are going to possess any type of gun, you must handle it in a safe manner and you must ensure the safety of that firearm at all times.
We hear many stories of children gaining access to a firearm and discharging the gun, but in this particular situation according to reports, the child's mother, a certified law enforcement officer, was showing her handgun to friends during a Halloween party at around 11:00 p.m. Saturday. The gun discharged, the bullet pierced a wall inside the residence and struck her daughter. The incident is still under investigation by state authorities.
The deputy's former boss, Lincoln County Sheriff David Carpenter, said the mother was at fault. "I find gross negligence and the disregard for the safety of others was displayed in the incident Saturday night and therefore Officer Flowers was terminated today. This is totally separate from the SBI investigation into the incident that occurred at her residence," said Carpenter.
This was the second law enforcement agency that the deputy had worked for.
If these type of incidents can happen to trained professionals (regardless what happened the night of the shooting, she is a certified police officer), then those of us who do not carry a gun every day for work must be ever so vigilant of handling our own firearms as well.
Just as the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, and every other law enforcement agency in this country, has their department policies on the safety and security of issued firearms, so too should we as legally armed citizens have our personal, residential, vehicle and office policies of what we will and will not allow regarding firearms in our possession or on our property. These rules must then be strictly enforced.
For example, many people I know who are hosting parties around this time of year mandate that all firearms either be left in the vehicle of arriving guests or are locked in a gun safe inside the residence and are not removed until the owner is ready to exit the property. No exceptions.
If you choose to exercise your right as a legally armed citizen, then you must at a minimum:
- Obtain training on your firearms
- Maintain absolute safe control over your firearm at all times
The choice to own a firearm bears with it a great responsibility. As a mother found out this past weekend, there is no recalling the bullet once it leaves the barrel. Following these simple guidelines might have saved a little girl a great deal of agony and kept a law enforcement officer on the job.