Saturday morning became a bit more eventful than planned for those attending this last weekend’s gun show in Bismarck. In what one news outlet called a “close call”, a 71-year-old man pulled the trigger on a Colt revolver he was selling, to demonstrate its single-action. To his surprise — and those around him — it was loaded.
Thankfully, no one was injured or killed.
There’s no question this was unintentional. But it doesn’t change the fact that it was stupid— and preventable. When it comes to these kinds of things, excuses don’t matter. And gun owners shouldn’t waste their time trying to make any for the individual involved. I’m betting he isn’t making any himself.
It’s true that we all make mistakes. But gun owners — and those around them — can’t afford mistakes like this one. A simple check of the revolver would have prevented the entire thing.
Aside from the safety aspect of this, there’s also the fact that it’s a black eye to gun owners in general. It’s no secret that gun control advocates already have their sights set on heavily regulating gun shows. If they have their way, they’ll regulate them out of existence. A flub like this only helps their cause, not ours.
Those who want gun shows gone are even taking their efforts to the local level. For example, a Crossroads of the West gun show took place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in California over the weekend, but only with the help of a federal lawsuit and a preliminary injunction. The board of directors who oversee the fairgrounds voted to suspend gun shows last year. The State Assembly has now sent a bill to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk seeking to ban the sales of guns and ammunition at the fairgrounds.
California isn’t the only example. Earlier this month, the city council in Knoxville, Tennessee voted 8-1 to ban gun shows on city owned property. I think it’s safe to say that we’ll continue to see these kinds of efforts in cities across the nation.
Now, to be fair, I fully realize that North Dakota isn’t California. Bismarck isn’t Knoxville. Yet, it’s worth noting that Tennessee is considered a Republican state. After all, Trump got 60.72% of the vote there in 2016 and their General Assembly is heavily Republican. This illustrates that not all cities are representative of their states as a whole.
Are we likely to see bans in North Dakota? Probably not. But careless moves like the one that took place on Saturday in Bismarck certainly aren’t helpful. As gun owners, we’d better do a better job of policing ourselves, so others can’t claim that someone else needs to do it for us.