There are a lot of different kinds of people who enjoy shooting guns. Some of them are real sketchy.
I have yet to come across someone who I thought should be told to leave. Until last Thursday.
It wasn’t a Gun Culture 2.0, Operator Wannabe, Military or used to shooting in the field hunter type. It was two older gentlemen.
They were quite reserved and their safety violations were without any drama. It was their complacency and reckless disregard to safety that crossed my personal boundary.
Regardless, the did not follow range safety rules. It started with not wearing eye protection. Then it was not un-casing guns in the booth, not taking loaded weapons out of the booth, and not being able to properly unload a pistol.
This usually doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve always provided correction to people. I’ve grabbed barrels, pushed hands downrange, slammed cases out of the booth shut. I like explaining rules over and over refining my spiel to be concise and clear. I actually like this part of educating people on safety procedures especially correlating safety to having fun shooting. Good procedures allow you to relax which makes you shoot better and have fun.
I could not get to these guys. They didn’t even try the “no I didn’t” denial approach. I’m not on a control or power trip so they can deny all they want. I’m cool with that, just be aware and be safe. There was no awareness.
Nothing sunk in. My colleagues called me back to these guys when they were walking around with loaded weapons behind the line.
I showed up and one was actively shooting in a different booth he started in. It was clear he carried his loaded pistol to this booth. The case was still sitting on the bench. It’s one thing not to know and another if you are told more than once that guns must be cased if they are not in the booth.
I started talking to him and he didn’t even respond to my questions. I asked him to unload his pistol. He dropped the magazine and lay the pistol down with a round in the chamber. I asked him if his gun was unloaded. No response. I picked up his pistol and racked the slide and a round came out. I set the gun down action open chamber up and told him to put the gun down this way.
I asked if he understood. No response. There was no “okay”, no nod, no “I knew that”, nor a “I didn’t know that”. I couldn’t reach this guy! I took off my mask and raised my voice just in case he didn’t hear me. I finally got a response of he was going to leave.
I had no intention of asking them to leave. A colleague came up to them and told them they violated numerous safety rules and needed to leave.
I can only guess at what they were thinking. Maybe it was the “I know better than you, I’m older than you and have owned this gun longer than you have been alive” mindset.
The sad part is this is how tragic gun accidents happen.