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Attorney fires gun in office
Hickory Daily Record ^ | June 19, 2002 | KIM GILLILAND

Posted on 06/20/2002 11:07:13 AM PDT by Henrietta

NEWTON — District Attorney David Flaherty Jr. says he won’t take any action against Assistant District Attorney Jason Parker for accidentally firing his pistol in his office at the Catawba County Justice Center on Friday morning beyond making him pay for a broken window.

Parker, a candidate for district court judge, and Sean McGinnis, another assistant district attorney, were at the county firing range Friday morning brushing up on shooting skills, according to Flaherty. When they returned to Parker’s office around 8 a.m., Parker’s .380 semi-automatic accidentally discharged, according to Maj. Coy Reid of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office.

The bullet put a hole in a window overlooking the smoking area in front of the Justice Center. No one was injured.

“I am disappointed in him (Parker),” Flaherty said. “He is a friend and a good district attorney. I know he reported it immediately to those who were supposed to be made aware of the incident.”

Flaherty said he put a note in Parker’s personnel file, but no charges would be filed.

“The only thing I would consider charging Parker with is reckless endangerment, but the bullet traveled out the window, not into the building iteslf,” said Flaherty. “I will make him pay for the plate glass window, however.”

Flaherty, district attorney for the 25th Prosecutorial District, said he got a phone call from Parker around 8:15 a.m. on Friday saying that he accidentally fired a pistol in the office that was once used by Flaherty.

Reid said the handgun had a mechanical malfunction with the ejector slide.

Sheriff David Huffman said Parker turned the handgun over to authorities and asked that it be destroyed by the State Bureau of Investigation.

“I was on vacation when it happened, but I think that Parker was so shaken by the incident that he just wanted to get it out of his sight altogether,” he said.

When someone asks to have a gun destroyed, the SBI checks the serial number to verify the history of the gun before destroying it.

Huffman said his department will also run a check on the weapon today.

Huffman said he assumed the pistol had been registered to Parker, but he was not sure.

“North Carolina law does not require a handgun to be registered with the state,” said Huffman. “When you purchase a handgun, you must first fill out a permit to purchase, which asks for all the pertinent information, such as where you live, why you need the gun, etc. This is essentially the same information that registering a handgun would provide.”

When asked about the legality of carrying a handgun into the courthouse, Flaherty said he saw no problem with it.

“We are law enforcement officers, and there is no problem with my assistants or me carrying guns,” said Flaherty. “I carry one myself occasionally, although it is not concealed.”

John Bason, public information officer for the state Attorney General’s Office, disagrees with Flaherty’s assessment of the law.

“Bottom line is, district attorneys or their assistants are not law enforcement officers.

Therefore, they must abide by the same statutes that apply to anyone else who is not a sworn officer of the law,” said Bason.

Huffman agreed.

“I did not know that DA’s were considered law enforcement officers. To be in law enforcement, you have to go to law enforcement school, even though I could swear you in right now.”

Huffman said he has had several attorneys in the past request permission to bring a firearm into the courthouse for protection, but that the sheriff’s office would assign an extra deputy instead.

Retired Superior Court Judge Oliver Noble said it was unwise and improper for Parker to bring a gun into the courthouse.

“I have never seen him with a gun,” said Noble. “I don’t know if that’s against the law or not, and I have never seen anyone prosecuted for this. However, I have never heard of a law allowing a gun in a state office. If I were to guess, I would say there isn’t.”

As far as any charges that could have been filed, Huffman said that you have to look at each situation differently.

“We treated this as if it was an accident,” said Huffman. “We don’t condone bringing handguns into the courthouse by district attorneys. However, nobody was hurt, and the gun malfunctioned. You have to have some breathing room regarding the law. However, it is possible that I would go back and look at the situation further.”

• Reach Kim Gilliland at 322-4510, Ext. 249, or rgilliland@hickoryrecord.com.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: attorney; banglist; gun; lawenforcement
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Flaherty said he put a note in Parker’s personnel file, but no charges would be filed.

Oh, yeah, that'll stop him from doing it again...just put a note in his personnel file. This puke should be charged with reckless endangerment. District Attorneys are NOT law enforcement officers...but they sure are treated as such when they screw up, negligently discharge weapons in a public place, and endanger the people they "serve."

1 posted on 06/20/2002 11:07:13 AM PDT by Henrietta
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To: Henrietta
The ADA was probably aiming high. He wanted the DA's job.

Better luck next time.

2 posted on 06/20/2002 11:08:50 AM PDT by elcaudillo
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To: Henrietta
“The only thing I would consider charging Parker with is reckless endangerment, but the bullet traveled out the window, not into the building iteslf,” said Flaherty.

Yup, nothing but targets and other Peons on the outside of the Hall of Justice, eh Flaherty?

3 posted on 06/20/2002 11:10:45 AM PDT by the
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To: Henrietta
Why did he have one chambered? Why was he playing around with it?
4 posted on 06/20/2002 11:11:41 AM PDT by Sir Gawain
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To: Henrietta
If one of the little people mad this mistake, you can bet he would be charged.
5 posted on 06/20/2002 11:15:36 AM PDT by hopespringseternal
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To: Sir Gawain
Good questions. I would think a mandatory remedial safety course would be in order.
6 posted on 06/20/2002 11:16:50 AM PDT by TheDon
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To: Henrietta
"Broken ejector?" Didn't the assistant DA notice no cartridge come out?

The gun wouldn't shoot itself anyway - not just because the ejector was broken. Someone has to pull the trigger.

7 posted on 06/20/2002 11:21:16 AM PDT by glc1173@aol.com
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To: Sir Gawain
No Doubt. One NEVER should chamber a round unless you are in front of a target getting ready to fire, or you hear someone in your home and you know you can't rely on the cops to get to you in time and you want to save the tax payers some money by sending the perp to his eternal rest.
8 posted on 06/20/2002 11:24:39 AM PDT by OXENinFLA
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To: Squantos; Lion Den Dan; Travis McGee; harpseal
If one doesn't put the last round into the magazine this cannot happen. ;)
9 posted on 06/20/2002 11:28:43 AM PDT by SLB
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: Henrietta
From the article: "Reid said the handgun had a mechanical malfunction with the ejector slide. Sheriff David Huffman said Parker turned the handgun over to authorities and asked that it be destroyed by the State Bureau of Investigation. "

Pretty smart. Once the gun is destroyed, even an assessment that the gun was in fine working condition can be challenged very successfully since some sources of malfunction can be very subtle and cause problems very infrequently.

My guess would be that the trigger was pulled while a round was in the chamber and the gun "malfunctioned" by firing. Chalk up another statistic for the anti-gunners to use against the Second Amendment.

11 posted on 06/20/2002 11:31:34 AM PDT by William Tell
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To: Henrietta
Hmmmm, in Missouri prosecuting attorneys are officers of the court and as such may carry a concealed weapon.

How come my employee can carry and I can't?

12 posted on 06/20/2002 11:33:03 AM PDT by Politically Correct
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To: Sir Gawain
Why did he have one chambered? Why was he playing around with it?


Exactly! Hmmmmm I think they kinda "missed" these questions somehow......
13 posted on 06/20/2002 11:36:46 AM PDT by kever
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To: Henrietta
So are they R's or D's ?
14 posted on 06/20/2002 11:38:59 AM PDT by stevio
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To: Sir Gawain
If you don't carry your weapon with a round in the chamber, it will be of no use to you when you really need it. This is a bunch of baloney about a slide malfunction. He was playing with it and it went off IMHO.
15 posted on 06/20/2002 11:41:55 AM PDT by Vinnie_Vidi_Vici
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To: Vinnie_Vidi_Vici
If you don't carry your weapon with a round in the chamber, it will be of no use to you when you really need it.

That's BS. It takes me less than a second to have my G17 chambered.

16 posted on 06/20/2002 11:44:07 AM PDT by Sir Gawain
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To: William Tell
My guess would be that the trigger was pulled while a round was in the chamber and the gun "malfunctioned" by firing. Chalk up another statistic for the anti-gunners to use against the Second Amendment.

You may be right, but his story checks out with the way most .380's work. Most, but not all, are cheap Saturday Night Specials. Most utilize a 'blowback' action which is prone to fire on impact or being dropped.

Regardless, he did not have control of his weapon. Either he had not properly unloaded it or, instead of keeping it concealed, he was playing with it in his office when he dropped it.

Either way, negligent discharge.

If he replaces it, I hope he gets something a bit more serious, that .380 was more than likely to just piss off a bad guy.

17 posted on 06/20/2002 11:44:50 AM PDT by TC Rider
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To: Sir Gawain
That's BS. It takes me less than a second to have my G17 chambered.

The G17 is a nice weapon.

How long does it take you to rack the slide with one hand?

Maybe it's paranoid, but I don't want to take the chance that I might have already been winged when I present my weapon. I can rack it with one hand if I have to, but it takes me more than a second. Most gunfights are over in 3 seconds, I'm not willing to give the BG that much of an edge.

18 posted on 06/20/2002 11:48:51 AM PDT by TC Rider
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To: Hobey Baker
This raises the old question of the proper condition in which to carry a semi-auto pistol, especially a single action like the M-1911.

The proper way to carry a 1911 style is cocked and locked, period. It was designed to be carried with a round chambered, the action cocked, and the thumb safety engaged.

The proper way to carry a DAO or DA/SA semi is decocked on a chambered round. You may or may not engage the external safety if one is available. In modern semi, the firing pin cannot impact the primer unless the trigger is pulled.

The proper way to carry a modern revolver with a transfer bar is with all cylinders occupied (contrary to NRA instruction, which advocates having an empty chamber under the hammer -- which is necessary on old-style revolvers with the firing pin integral to the hammer).

19 posted on 06/20/2002 11:50:34 AM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: elcaudillo
"The ADA was probably aiming high. He wanted the DA's job."

Now, you die, and we all move up in rank!

20 posted on 06/20/2002 11:51:19 AM PDT by steve-b
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To: TC Rider
I'm willing to take that risk.
21 posted on 06/20/2002 11:54:59 AM PDT by Sir Gawain
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To: stevio
So are they R's or D's ?

In North Carolina that is less of an issue. We have quite a few 'conservative' democrats in NC. Many were known as 'Dixiecrats' in times gone by.

Your typical NC conservative Dem would vote straight D on county/state offices then pull the lever for Jesse Helms and Reagan in National races. They will often go out of their way to screw up D primaries.

I would be curious if these guys support an armed citizen.

22 posted on 06/20/2002 11:56:27 AM PDT by TC Rider
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To: Politically Correct
Excellent point! yet another example of the separation of the masses from their masters. "One set of laws for thee, and another for me!"
23 posted on 06/20/2002 11:58:24 AM PDT by Teacher317
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To: TC Rider
My wife has a Colt 1911 style .380. It is pretty sensitive to ammo selection. I've had to tap out the expended case twice in the last two trips to the range. It appears the ammo was too lightly loaded. The extractor pulled the case partially out of the chamber, then the ejector tab slightly misaligned it. The slide then slammed the slightly misaligned case back into the chamber. It isn't factory ammo. The ammo was reloaded ammo purchased at a gunshow. Looks like I'll have to work up a reliable load for her to use with that gun. We had problems with gunshow reloads in her Sig 225 as well. No more of that stuff.
24 posted on 06/20/2002 11:59:31 AM PDT by Myrddin
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To: TC Rider
You may be right, but his story checks out with the way most .380's work. Most, but not all, are cheap Saturday Night Specials. Most utilize a 'blowback' action which is prone to fire on impact or being dropped.

Nah, most serious 380's are "real" guns and not "saturday night specials". And the fact the the mechanism is mostly blowback has little or nothing to do with accidental discharges - the gun's lockup at firing moment is something else than the firing mechanism :).

380's are mostly pure blowbacks - that is, the slide isn't locked at the moment of firing. Mostly, too, they're DA on the first shot and the rest SA. You're meant to carry them with hammer down and SAFETY ON. On my Astra Constable, that means locked trigger, hammer, and firing pin.

Ballistically, a hot 380 round is not too different from a 38spc, and the guns tend to be a bit more concealable.

25 posted on 06/20/2002 12:01:03 PM PDT by Cachelot
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To: OXENinFLA
No Doubt. One NEVER should chamber a round unless you are in front of a target getting ready to fire, or you hear someone in your home and you know you can't rely on the cops to get to you in time and you want to save the tax payers some money by sending the perp to his eternal rest.

Well, you go right ahead and keep your weapon in a functionally unloaded condition (round not chambered) if that's what you're comfortable doing. What you are ignoring, however, is the very great chance you will be stressed if you wait to chamber a round when actually faced with a threat. That's when you'll likely cause a feeding malfunction and have to clear the gun before being able to chamber a round and be prepared to fire.

Work on your handling skills, learn your weapon and apply the four rules of safe gun use. The Ass't DA in this situation obviously violated all four rules. The gun wasn't at fault, he was IMHO.

26 posted on 06/20/2002 12:03:12 PM PDT by toddst
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To: Henrietta
This puke should be charged with reckless endangerment.

It is these irresponsible gun owners that give us responsible gun owners a bad name. What a nerd he is.

27 posted on 06/20/2002 12:04:34 PM PDT by Mark17
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To: Hobey Baker
How about this. I have a Ruger P-90 .45cal the only safety it has is a hammer De-cock, if I have a round chambered and the trigger is pulled the gun goes BOOM! That is my only reasoning behind not having a round chambered. That and I it is just one other way to ensure the gun does not fire on accident. Of course if I was ever in a situation where I may need to pull my gun and wouldn't have time to chamber a round, I would have on in the pipe.
28 posted on 06/20/2002 12:04:37 PM PDT by OXENinFLA
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To: Henrietta
Reid said the handgun had a mechanical malfunction with the ejector slide.

Sheriff David Huffman said Parker turned the handgun over to authorities and asked that it be destroyed by the State Bureau of Investigation.

“I was on vacation when it happened, but I think that Parker was so shaken by the incident that he just wanted to get it out of his sight altogether,” he said.

When someone asks to have a gun destroyed, the SBI checks the serial number to verify the history of the gun before destroying it.

There's something fishy here. Most people have broken firearms fixed, not destroyed. I wonder what that trace turns up. (And if that info will be made public!)
29 posted on 06/20/2002 12:06:52 PM PDT by Redcloak
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To: Sir Gawain
I'm willing to take that risk.

First shot means nothing. First hit means something :).

30 posted on 06/20/2002 12:08:53 PM PDT by Cachelot
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To: Sir Gawain
And I am willing to risk walking around with a loaded weapon.
31 posted on 06/20/2002 12:13:03 PM PDT by TC Rider
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To: Sir Gawain; kever
"Why was he playing around with it?"

The article doesn't say he was playing with it. That is a possible assumption among many.
32 posted on 06/20/2002 12:13:51 PM PDT by ironman
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To: TC Rider
So am I. Just not a chambered weapon with no external safety.
33 posted on 06/20/2002 12:15:35 PM PDT by Sir Gawain
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To: OXENinFLA
How about this. I have a Ruger P-90 .45cal the only safety it has is a hammer De-cock, if I have a round chambered and the trigger is pulled the gun goes BOOM!

I don't know the P90, but I don't think it would be prone to a discharge if dropped. Most modern guns are protected against that sort of thing. One of my guns functions in the way you describe (a Steyr GB), and while it will go BOOM on a pulled trigger - which will have to be a trigger pull that cocks the hammer, btw - it will not discharge on being dropped. That is because the firing pin is protected from moving UNLESS the trigger is also being pulled.

34 posted on 06/20/2002 12:16:28 PM PDT by Cachelot
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To: Sir Gawain; Joe Brower; harpseal; Squantos; wardaddy
BAD PISTOL! BAD BAD BAD PISTOL!

Crush the the BAD pistol, that's the solution!

(I wish I had a dollar for every time a BAD pistol with a broken ejector just UP AND SHOT ITSELF OUT A WINDOW! Geez, if it's happened to me once, it's happened a hundred time.)

35 posted on 06/20/2002 12:17:50 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: SLB
Stupid is as stupid does - Forrest Gump.

Rule one firearms do not go off all by themselves. I am willing to bet my house and my boat that I can lay a firearm on a kitchen table with a round in the chamber and it will not go off unless someone touches it. Any takers at even money? It would be nice to pay off my mortgage and get a long range fast trawler.

Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown

36 posted on 06/20/2002 12:30:19 PM PDT by harpseal
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To: Travis McGee
Bad ADA, Bad Bad ADA. No doggie treat for you. Since when does an ejector cause a firearm to discharge? An ejector merely removes a round from the chamber.

The idiot can not even make up a believable lie.

Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown

37 posted on 06/20/2002 12:32:34 PM PDT by harpseal
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To: harpseal
This moron hasn't even been around guns long enough to know you're supposed to say "I was cleaning my gun, and it went off". Idiot reporters usually swallow that one.

If this idiot had bought a .38 revolver instead of an auto, I'll be this would not have happened. Simple guns for simple minds, I say. Me included.)

38 posted on 06/20/2002 12:42:33 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: Hobey Baker
To your POST #10: It is not recommended to carry an automatic in full battery as you described. That is with a round chambered, safety in the fire position and the hammer cocked. IMHO this is very unwise as any abrupt jarring or bump can cause the hammer to fall. It would be better to keep the hammer uncocked. If you need the weapon quickly it is a minor thing to cock it.
39 posted on 06/20/2002 12:42:46 PM PDT by semaj
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To: Travis McGee
In over twenty five years of shooting, I've never once had a ND. Shot at some questionable targets in my younger years, and again when young my barrel discipline needed honing (and got it!), but I've never, ever, ever had a bullet leave the barrel without wanting it to. It's a mistake you simply do not make.

Of course, since this guy is one of the anointed, he gets off with a wrist-slap anyway. No such luck for us commoners.


40 posted on 06/20/2002 12:49:40 PM PDT by Joe Brower
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To: Travis McGee
See, that's the problem with Saturday night specials. They lack the necessary safety features to prevent spontaneous shooting. Nobody even needs to touch the trigger, and it just goes off. Another magical thing they do, is even if you have it in a holster, and are not playing with it, it can spontaneously blow out a plate glass window in stead of the butt cheek the holster keeps it pointed at.

;-)

41 posted on 06/20/2002 12:54:37 PM PDT by Bandolier
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To: Joe Brower
I will plead the 5th.

(But I didn't get caught.)

42 posted on 06/20/2002 12:55:35 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: Bandolier
That's why revolvers are better for amateurs and newbies.

"See the bullets. See the cylinder. See the trigger. Don't pull the trigger, no shootee. Pull the trigger, shootee."

43 posted on 06/20/2002 12:58:31 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: Sir Gawain
That's BS.

I think so, too. By the time I have found which pocket it's in and got it untangled from the car keys and eyeglass toolkit, another second won't matter.

44 posted on 06/20/2002 12:59:22 PM PDT by RightWhale
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To: Travis McGee
Hey I like a .38 revolver as something to slip into my jacket pocket in the winter. We are talking about the original point and click interface here. For my more serious carry piece I am now carrying an EAA Witness .45acp ported electroless nickle finish ten shots and an all arround exellent pocket pistol that hits dead on at 25 yards and as SA/DA (no decocking lever but a 1911 style safety. Cocked and locked is fine as is hammer down on a loaded chamber with smooth easy safety removal for a DA first shot. I went with this because of it superb trigger pull out of the box and it is inexpensive and very very high quality.

Yes I still like my .357 revolvers and other toys but that Witness is so easy to just slip into a pants pocket it is ideal. It is so good I put my Kimber back in the safe.

Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown

45 posted on 06/20/2002 1:00:57 PM PDT by harpseal
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To: Travis McGee
If this idiot had bought a .38 revolver instead of an auto, I'll be this would not have happened. Simple guns for simple minds, I say. Me included.)

I had the same thought.

I picked up a Taurus ultralight 85 38sp with the concealed hammer at the last gun show.

I was getting increasingly uncomfortable toting my Glock 23 in the NC heat and humidity. For the summer, the 38sp with +p ammo, rides very easily in my Dockers pocket. I keep it in a Wild Bill horsehide pocket holster. Nothing else goes in that pocket, eliminating the problems with keys, etc.

When things cool off enough to start wearing the Glock again, I'll probably keep the 38 in my pocket as a NY reload. At 13.7 ounces, it's hardly noticeable.

I have no problem going between the Glock and the Taurus, since they operate the same way. Pull it, point it, pull the trigger.

46 posted on 06/20/2002 1:37:15 PM PDT by TC Rider
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To: RightWhale; Sir Gawain
It's not a question of "another second", it's a question of being able to get your pistol out and on target while some dirtbag is choking you, or you are fending off a knife or bat with your weak arm.

IOW, if you cannot defend yourself one handed, you may not be able to defend yourself at all.

Further, if you leave a pistol loose in a pocket to get entangled with keys etc, you should seriously rethink your procedures.

47 posted on 06/20/2002 1:40:57 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: harpseal
"Since when does an ejector cause a firearm to discharge?"

The extractor removes the case from the chamber and the ejector removes it from the gun. The only thing I can think that he did was pull the slide back to empty the chamber and when the ejector failed, it sent the live round back into the chamber. That's the only way he could have had a faulty ejector cause the loaded chamber. In IDPA, I have seen too many shooters go throught the mechanical motions to clear, without physically looking in the chamber.

48 posted on 06/20/2002 1:42:03 PM PDT by Shooter 2.5
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To: Travis McGee
“When you purchase a handgun, you must first fill out a permit to purchase, which asks for all the pertinent information, such as where you live, why you need the gun, etc. This is essentially the same information that registering a handgun would provide.”

I thought Brady Bill clearance was not supposed to be used as a database for information on either the gun or the purchaser. Stupid me!!

Did not Ashcroft however imperfect he is, specifically ask the courts to enforce the letter of Brady Bill legislation which says this is only for purchase approval and not to create a database?

49 posted on 06/20/2002 1:42:13 PM PDT by wardaddy
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To: TC Rider
Just watch out for that techy Glock trigger when holstering etc. A snag on a button as it goes down can lead to a new walking stride for life, or singing in a new octave.
50 posted on 06/20/2002 1:44:04 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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