I’ve experienced something few people ever have: a self-inflicted gun wound. Not from the business end of the gun, thank God, but the butt of it. Yes, like our hero from A Christmas Story, I still have both of my eyes. However, where little Ralphie used a classic Red Ryder BB gun, I was using a .410 shotgun.
I was about six years old, and we were out shooting on my Grandfather’s farm. He set up three orange clay discs in a triangle, leaned against a board. Thirty feet away I was sitting ready to unload on the targets. One trigger pull later, and I was headed for the hospital.
The shotgun was a single shot break-action cocked by hammer (not unlike the article photo). Being as young as I was, I couldn’t lift the gun very well, and it took the effort of my entire body to line up the shot. That meant my face was down low on the stock, right in line with the hammer. I squeezed the trigger and *pow,* the recoil pushed the firearm back, slipping through my small hands, and the hammer slammed into the left edge of my left eye.
Blood filled my vision, and my face felt as if I’d thrown myself into a brick wall. I started seeing stars and my family rushed me to the nearest Children’s Hospital. It turns out I was okay. Just a flesh wound and a headache. But if my neck was bent only half an inch lower, the hammer would have punctured my retina, and I would have lost sight in my left eye. An inch closer to the hammer and I would have fractured my eye socket.
Today, those who meet me might notice that I have something like crow’s feet on my left eye but not my right. Those aren’t the signs of aging, that’s the scar from the hammer tearing my skin open. A constant reminder to me that firearms are nothing to screw around with.
See, my story is not a tale of gun control, but gun safety. The classic joke being: ‘the only gun control I need is the correct grip.’
Correct grip was not what I had that day at all. However, what I’ve had since is a healthy respect for the damage a firearm can do, no matter which way it’s pointed. There is an inherent danger when handling guns, just as there is an inherent danger whenever you climb into a car. But treating firearms with respect– not posing with them NWA style, or using them as a sexualized prop— will save you a trip to the hospital. Or the morgue.
Gun safety is no joke. Every time I see some whack-job on social media posing stupidly with a gun, or just being an idiot while shooting, I want to tackle them like this range safety officer. Observing the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety is the very least you can do to ensure your own livelihood and the likelihood of those around you. Thinking twice about shoving a Glock into your waistband for a cool Instagram pic doesn’t make you “less cool.” It makes you smart. Instead of “Common Sense Gun Control,” let’s work on “Common Sense Gun Safety.”
When I finally got to the hospital after my accident, the doctor immediately asked me how many of the targets I hit.
“Two out of three,” I replied. He chuckled, and I was out shooting, safely, again the next month.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.