Cops Don’t Know It All

Do not take it on faith that police officers know correct gun usage and correct gun safety. This blog is from personal experience. Back in the ’80s, when I was in my 20s and married to my starter wife (I have since upgraded to a trophy wife!), my starter wife’s sister was married to an Allentown (PA) police officer, her second husband.

My sister-in-law had a then 12-year old son from her first marriage. He was a bit of a rebellious kid and was not at all happy with this new marriage arrangement because his biological father lived one block away, and he frequently used both parents as pawns against the other.

One Friday night, the sister-in-law and her police officer husband decided to go out for the evening. He came home from his shift and proceeded to change out of his police uniform into street clothes. He set his duty belt and duty weapon on his bedroom dresser. (Back in those days, officers of this city were allowed to bring their duty weapons home.) He and my sister-in-law then went out on the town.

The son was left alone, figuring that he was 12 and could be trusted. That was not the case. He snooped around and saw his stepfather’s duty gun on the dresser. He took the gun out of its holster, pointed the gun down to the bedroom floor and pulled the trigger. A .38 Special round went sailing through the floor and into the living room on the first floor.

There was a lot of explaining to do by everyone when the parents came home. The nephew had the lion’s share of explaining as to why he went into his parents’ bedroom and grabbed his stepfather’s duty gun. The stepfather had to explain to his superiors how a round was missing from his duty gun, since he had to account for every round issued to him.

The kid was grounded. The stepfather ate crow at work. And this, over 35 years ago, was the catalyst for me becoming a gun instructor.

While I understand the kid needed punishment, I held the stepfather more accountable for his negligence, that he should have locked up his duty gun. I constantly preach in my training classes about securing guns so those who should not have access to them can’t access them.

Yes, upon hearing the story, I did feel a little sorry for my nephew. He was an only child with his parents divorced but in proximity to each other, and a stepfather that was really not the fatherly type. So, I took my nephew under my wing. I took him with me when I went hiking, fishing and hunting, because he loved the outdoors, and based on age, I was more of big brother to him than an uncle. We went to the gun range, and I taught him how to use my hunting rifle before venturing out into Penn’s Woods. While driving to our hunting area, I told him exactly what my father told me when I was his age…”a gun is not a toy. If you fuck up and do something stupid, I’m going to kick you in the ass, and we will never do this again. Understand?” He complied, and he NEVER mishandled a gun while in my presence. He was just never taught correctly what a firearm is and what it could do.

So this is why Dakota Firearms Training Academy permits and encourages kids between the ages of 12 and 18 to attend our training classes along with a parent or legal guardian signing up for the same class. Anyone whose job it is to mentor kids about gun safety, must do it at the earliest age possible. We need to remove that inquisitiveness every child has.

Cops Don’t Know It All