FLASHBACK: December 2009>Concerned One on December 27, 2009 at 6:49 am wrote, “I look forward to reading a full and accurate accounting of this incident. Thank you….”
OK, Concerned One you asked for a full and accurate accounting of the safety violation. I have tried not to bring this in because I do not have a problem with Mr. Donnell’s business, however I do have a problem with his range. His business provides economic growth to our community. Although you may think, I have a vendetta against him, let me assure you I do not, I am just concerned for the safety of other residents in the area of his range.
I have grown up my whole life around firearms, and started shooting at a young age; I have taken several firearm safety classes throughout my life, offered by both civilian and military instructors. Furthermore, I shot competitively all through High School and was nationally ranked. So I am not a stranger to firearm safety, and this is the closest that I have ever been to someone being accidentally shot, and damn glad no one other than myself was hurt.
In April 2007, I went to the Pistol and Rifle Club to work on the well pump and the hot water heater, when I noticed Mr. Donnell shooting an AR-15 style assault rifle. At the time, I thought that they where illegal in the state because they can accept a 30 round magazine, and was curious if you could indeed have a legal assault rifle. Hell, with the regulations that this state has imposed regulating firearms and ammunition use, you almost need a law degree, and a RSS feed to keep up with the changes to the laws. I continued to Help Ron Brault with the repairs in the well house, and water heater, though I was very interested in the rife.
After completing the repairs, Mr. Donnell was in the range house selling the RBCD ammunition that his store carries. I was quite impressed with this ammunition and the results of some of the testing that he provided, however I thought it was a little over priced. During this time, a younger person was out shooting the AR-15, then finished firing the weapon and placed it in the back of a pick-up truck, behind the firing line of the skeet range.
After talking with a few other members of the gun club Mr. Donnell was, back shooting the weapon when I walked up and began to ask him questions about the AR-15. Mr. Donnell began to explain to me that if the lower receiver is modified to accept 10 rounds and is off the list of lower receivers on the California banned list, it would be legal to own.
While Mr. Donnell was showing me the weapon, he even took out the rear pin separating the lower receiver from the upper to show how it can only accept 10 rounds. At no time did Mr. Donnell check the chamber for a live round. He had previously swept several people with the muzzle without realizing there was a loaded round in the chamber. Ron Brault was also next to me, he was also interested in what Mr. Donnell was showing us. Not once did Ron or I ever take control of the weapon, moments after Mr. Donnell closed up the weapon and inserted the pin back in is when the safety violation occurred, thankfully no one was seriously maimed or killed.
Mr. Donnell is violating the first, and second rule of firearm safety keeping his finger off the trigger and not checking to make sure the chamber was clear, negligently discharged the weapon into the ground just inches from my right foot. It was so close that bullet fragments and rocks flew into every direction, and many of these hit my lower right leg causing it to bleed. I initially thought I had actually been shot in the leg.
I should have gone to the emergency room on base and had my leg looked at, however I did not go. If I had, it would have been considered a gunshot wound and the sheriffs would have been called to investigate. What would that have done to Mr. Donnell’s business? I think it may have caused problems with his FFL, as well as his NRA safety certification.
The number one, and two rules in firearm safety is never having your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire, and to make sure the weapon is not loaded. Mr. Donnell as a certified NRA safety instructor should know these rules, I am sure it is what he instructs to each of his students. Even if a weapon is on SAFE it may still fire, however if nothing touches the trigger is the best safety.
Now you asked for a fully detailed account of a safety violation, and I have provided it to you, a firsthand account. When someone does something like this, would you like it if they were operating a range in your back yard?
I hope you best of luck and a prosperous New Year.