I trust most of you by now have seen the footage or have at least heard of the incident involving the FBI agent who lost his firearm while showing off his over-the-top dance moves. If you have not seen the video clip, you can see it here. FBI Agent Loses His Gun During Dance-Floor Backflip, Accidentally Shoots Bar Patron.
I have several close acquaintances who are current and former federal law enforcement officers – many include agents who hang their coats with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I do not personally know the FBI agent involved, but have good reason to believe that he is feeling quite embarrassed in the company of colleagues because of his epic buffoonery.
Four Fundamental Rules of Firearm Safety
To determine what went wrong, it’s important to revisit the four fundamental rules that guide all users, every time, in handling firearms in a safe manner:
1. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded. Don’t pretend this to be true, be deadly serious about it.
2. Never let the muzzle of your firearm cover (point at) anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you are prepared to shoot.
4. Be sure of your target, what is on line with it, and what is beyond.
These are the rules. Plain and simple.
I would like to draw attention to the Negligent Discharge of the agent’s firearm that resulted in injury to an unsuspecting bystander.
A closer look at the video reveals the direct cause of the Negligent Discharge. What seemingly began as a display of showmanship, in an instant turned into an episode of carelessness.
Upon realizing that the firearm had become dislodged from his small of the back holster after performing the standing back flip, the agent hastily groped for his pistol resting on the floor and placed his finger on the trigger.
The lesson that can be taken from this is that a negligent discharge of a firearm, in almost every instance, can be attributed to a violation of one or more of the Four Fundamental Rules of Firearm Safety.
We can witness and review firsthand what occurs when the rules—in this instance rule number three—are violated. The agent and bystanders are fortunate that no one was fatally injured.
In an unscripted and unorthodox manner, the agent provides a valuable lesson on the responsibilities of firearm ownership and handling. Learning the rules and adhering to them dramatically reduces the danger of triggering a potentially catastrophic event.
I am reminded of a scene from the highly acclaimed film Blackhawk Down. The setting unfolds as soldiers are lining up for a meal. Hoot, played by actor Eric Bana, is approached by an infantry officer who challenges the operative after noticing that the mechanical safety is not engaged on his firearm. Hoot’s off the cuff response is classic. Hollywood generally gets it wrong, but in this instance the arrogance is pure cinematic genius and delivers a valuable teaching point. If you haven’t seen the film, add that one to your list of must-see movies.
Make certain to engrain the Four Fundamental Rules of Firearm Safety in to your training regimen. Doing so will help keep you and those around you safe.
Carry On and Carry Often