Firearm Discharge Accidents Are All Too Common In SW Florida

The United States is unique among nations. It has an amendment enshrined within its own constitution that guarantees citizens' rights to own firearms. Florida is no exception in this case, and like every other state, it has many citizens that choose to own guns.

However, a pistol or rifle—as intended by design—is an extremely dangerous, powerful weapon capable of inflicting great harm or even death on targets. As a result, these weapons require a considerable amount of responsibility on the part of the owners. Unfortunately, that responsibility is frequently not exercised, resulting in tragic accidents with firearms.

More Common Than You Think

Statistically, gun deaths, on average, make up only about 1% of the gun deaths in the US, meaning the other 99% are intentional usage of guns to harm or kill. That 1%, however, comprises over 400 deaths, which was the average in 2018. Florida, on average, has over 3000 gun-related deaths per year, coming in behind only California at #2 and Texas at #1.

However, when death is taken out of the equation and injuries are considered, the number of gun-related injuries in the US jumps to an astounding 230+ on a daily basis. That means that someone in the country is injured by a gun every seven minutes.

There are a few reasons for this. The first, of course, is that the guns are so common that there are simply more of them around, which increases the risk, the same as more cars on the road increases the likelihood of a traffic accident. However, many of these injuries are preventable, and they only occur due to an inexcusable reason, which is carelessness or neglect.

The Causes

Gun-related accidents happen for various reasons, some of which are common and expected, while others are more surprising. The factors that most commonly lead to a gun-related accident are:

Poor Workmanship

This is probably the rarest reason, but it does occasionally happen. Nothing is perfect, and sometimes the manufacturing and assembly process of a firearm is at fault for an accident. This can be anything from the subpar assembly of the components to a structural weakness in one of the components during fabrication, leading to an unintended reaction. "Hair triggers" that go off without intention, or even the gun exploding during discharge, rather than shooting the bullet as intended.

In these instances, the injury is usually not the user's fault, as the gun was being used as intended but did not behave as expected.

Poor Maintenance

This is an all-too-common reason, as many people like to own things but fail to care for them properly. Poor maintenance runs from everything from automobiles to water heating tanks to the roof of a home. So it should be no surprise that some people that want to own a gun are negligent about properly maintaining that gun.

Guns must be cleaned regularly to function properly. Every time a gun is fired, powder and other residues build up in the firing chamber and other gun parts. If this isn't addressed, it inevitably leads to an "incomplete discharge," where the trigger is pulled, but the round doesn't leave the gun. If the trigger is pulled again, the next round will impact the stuck round, causing the weapon to explode in the user's hands.

In this case, simple, responsible, preventive maintenance could easily prevent this kind of tragic accident.

Improper Handling

This is even more common than poor maintenance. The term says it all; improper handling is when someone doesn't treat a gun with respect or use it in intended ways. Someone trying to show off, and fire a gun by slinging it behind their back, for example, could inadvertently shoot themselves or someone else since they're no longer aware of how exact their aim is.

Improper Storage

This is the most common reason that gun accidents occur throughout the country. Firearms are dangerous, but many people leave them in easy-to-reach areas as a precaution against home invasion. Unfortunately, if there are children in the house, this often leads to the double tragedy of an accidental firearm discharge leading to child injury or even death.

Children tend to view guns as fun toys, thanks to their portrayal in film and television. They do not fully appreciate how dangerous these weapons are to themselves or the people they may fire the guns at. If a gun's primary function is to protect the family, it's a tragic failure when that same protective device is easily accessed by children who may use it on someone else or even themselves.

If you've been injured due to someone's improper use of a gun, we can help. Contact our firearm accident lawyers to take your next steps toward getting justice and compensation for what's been done to you.

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