Gun enthusiasts often repeat this as the first rule of gun safety: Every gun is always loaded.
The second rule: Never point a firearm at something you are not prepared to destroy.
The tragic story below, reported yesterday from Missouri, encapsulates the paradox of gun advocacy in America.
The gun lobby not only fought tooth and nail for Mr. Looney’s right to own a gun, they helped convince him that he needed one to protect his family — right up to the point he shot himself in the head with it.
From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Jefferson County authorities said that on Friday, James Looney, 40, of the 4300 block of Rock Valley Court, was demonstrating safety mechanisms on several guns by holding them to his head and asking his girlfriend, Kim Thompson, whether they would fire.
The last one did. Looney died Saturday at a hospital. Police believe alcohol was involved in the accident, said sheriff’s Lt. Dave Marshak.
Thompson said Monday that Looney wanted her to learn to use a gun because he recently had accepted a job as an over-the-road trucker that would keep him away from their home two to three nights a week. Thompson said Looney had agreed to raise her 2-week-old son, Cameron, as his own.
“He was just trying to protect us,” Thompson said.
Police said the couple had planned to visit a shooting range the next day.