In the latest accident involving a gun-cleaning gone wrong, a man in Ogden, Utah shot not only himself but his wife as well — with a single bullet.
A 67-year old man, whose name has not been released, was cleaning his semi-automatic, .45 caliber handgun at 2:15 a.m. Tuesday. Due to either the lateness of the hour or some other reason, he failed to realize that the gun was loaded.
Next thing he knew, the gun went off and a bullet hit him in the left index finger. But it didn’t stop there. The same bullet also struck his wife, 56, in the thigh.
The couple was treated at McKay-Dee Hospital where they are expected to each make a full recovery.
Approximately 100 Americans are wounded or die each year a result of improper firearm cleaning procedures. In June, a girl in Texas was killed on her 13th birthday when her 19-year-old brother accidentally shot her while cleaning his gun.
An 18-year-old Indiana teenager died in March when he and a friend were cleaning guns. The other teen mishandled a weapon while cleaning and shot his friend in the head.
In a more publicized case, professional baseball player Bryce Brentz, the 2010 first-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox, shot himself in the leg while cleaning a gun in February.
The U.S General Accounting Office addressed this long-standing problem as far back as 1991, when it estimated the simple addition of a loading indicator — a device that lets a gun owner know when a bullet remains in the chamber of an otherwise empty weapon — would prevent 23 percent of all firearms accidents.