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As reported yesterday in the Orlando Sentinel:

Volusia shooting death puts focus on gun safety
A man who accidentally killed his friend said he played with guns often, according to police.

Kristen Reed | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted January 3, 2007

A 20-year-old who accidentally shot his friend in the forehead minutes before New Year's Day wasn't following a key rule of gun safety: Always assume a gun is loaded.

Sean Page told investigators he often jokes and plays around with guns and it's common for him and his friends to point the firearms at one another.


John Debella Jr.


Sean Page

"Never point it at anything you don't want to kill," said Bob Applegate, who runs the shooting range for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. "Every handgun should be considered loaded at all times. That's a standard rule."

Safety guidelines published by the National Rifle Association say gun users should keep weapons pointed in a safe direction and keep their fingers off the trigger until they are ready to shoot.

Page told investigators he placed the barrel of the .45-caliber handgun on John Debella Jr.'s temple in jest when Debella, 19, grabbed the gun to place it at the center of his forehead. Page said that moved his hand slightly, causing him to press against the trigger.

"I shot him. I shot him, he pushed my finger . . . I can't believe I was dumb enough to have my finger on the trigger," he blurted out to officials at the Derbyshire Road home before his arrest on a manslaughter charge.

Kerry Scullin, Page's mother, was home with her 4-month-old baby during the incident. She declined to comment Tuesday.Page remains in jail without bail.

Page said he did not know the gun was loaded and he keeps his finger inside the trigger guard based on training he received in the Army, where he says he remains on active duty, investigative reports state.

Details about Page's enlistment and training were not known Tuesday, as federal offices recognized a national day of mourning for President Gerald Ford. According to the Army's Web site, all recruits learn basic rifle marksmanship as early as the third week of the nine-week basic training.

The fourth week is dedicated to the topic, which includes safety guidelines, range procedures and target shooting.

Applegate, who was not speaking specifically about this weekend's incident, said he always teaches gun users to keep their finger outside the trigger guard because it's easy to accidentally fire a weapon. All it takes is a startled move or involuntary response for something to go wrong, he said.

Sunday night's shooting was at least the fifth in Volusia County since April that was the result of an accidental discharge. One was fatal.

Debella's mother, Martha, said she was shocked to hear her son was involved in horseplay with guns. Since he and his brother, Joseph, were "old enough to crawl," she said, she and her husband stressed the dangers of firearms. She said they never allowed them in their home.

Her brother-in-law committed suicide with a gun, and one of John Jr.'s classmates accidentally shot his twin brother to death when the boys were in seventh grade, she said.

Debella said she's trying to be as compassionate as her son would be.

She is not sure she wants long jail time for Page.

"Johnny wouldn't want it to turn out the way it's turning out," she said.

Kristen Reed can be reached at [email protected] or 386-851-7924.

The story can be found at; http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/volusia/orl-shooting0307jan03,0,6067546.story?track=rss

- Janq

Note: Basic firearm safety rules & pracitices FTW!
Follow them people. Firearms are not toys and toys are not firearms, contrary to some folks oh I'm being safe look ma no bullet assumptions.
If folks wouldn't do crap like this then we'd have alot less incidents such as this, like zero. :(
 

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That's what happens when you don't follow the four rules of safe gun handling.
 

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I doubt he learned to keep his finger in the trigger guard from Army training.
 

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I do sometimes take pictures of myself with guns in unreasonable situations, but most of the time the guns are either airsoft, or not loaded (and I know they are not loaded because I check 5x)... but to play with guns and even pull the trigger of a gun that you think is unloaded (Not cleaning) is terrible. One should NEVER PLAY with guns... Unless you're shooting something and the shooting counts as playing.

Know thy weapon.
 

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I'm thankful my dad was extremely thorough in his drilling me about gun safety since I was a wee lad. I still get an uneasy feeling handling firearms indoors. :shrug:
 

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brucelee said:
I do sometimes take pictures of myself with guns in unreasonable situations, but most of the time the guns are either airsoft, or not loaded (and I know they are not loaded because I check 5x)... but to play with guns and even pull the trigger of a gun that you think is unloaded (Not cleaning) is terrible. One should NEVER PLAY with guns... Unless you're shooting something and the shooting counts as playing.

Know thy weapon.

Its OK to play with guns, you just have to be smart about it. I dry fire almost every night, the guns and mags are checked and the ammo is left in another part of the house. Its as safe as playing with a block of metal. Guns aren't magical, they don't suddenly become loaded. If there is a round in the chamber it will go bang when you pull the trigger, no round...perfectly safe.

It is your responsibility to make sure the gun is safe, not the guns
 

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Ducman said:
Guns aren't magical, they don't suddenly become loaded. If there is a round in the chamber it will go bang when you pull the trigger, no round...perfectly safe.

It is your responsibility to make sure the gun is safe, not the guns

All very true, and I dryfire a lot as well.... but remember, one day, you will pick up a gun that you are *positive* is not loaded.... and you will be wrong.

Hence, the rules, etc. Especially the muzzle rule. That's why most people dryfire at walls, safe areas, maybe the TV, (if they don't mind replacing the TV if they are wrong) etc.
 

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jamz said:
All very true, and I dryfire a lot as well.... but remember, one day, you will pick up a gun that you are *positive* is not loaded.... and you will be wrong.

Hence, the rules, etc. Especially the muzzle rule. That's why most people dryfire at walls, safe areas, maybe the TV, (if they don't mind replacing the TV if they are wrong) etc.

You're right, I may pick up a gun that should have been empty, but was loaded. Thats why you always need to check. But once the gun is verified to be unloaded then the remaining safety rules are mute.

A gun can only be an impact weapon when unloaded, to make it more is to give it powers it can not possess.

The rules are extremely important when you are handling a gun of unknown status or a loaded gun. I follow all the rules until the weapon is confirmed to be empty, as soon as the gun leaves my direct control, I have to reconfirm when I control it again.

Now out of respect to others, I follow the rules when I handle a empty gun as other can not conform the gun is empty. It is a courtesy that I expect from them also
 

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Debella's mother said:
was shocked to hear her son was involved in horseplay with guns. Since he and his brother, Joseph, were "old enough to crawl," she said, she and her husband stressed the dangers of firearms. She said they never allowed them in their home.

Her brother-in-law committed suicide with a gun, and one of John Jr.'s classmates accidentally shot his twin brother to death when the boys were in seventh grade, she said.

Debella said she's trying to be as compassionate as her son would be.

She is not sure she wants long jail time for Page.

"Johnny wouldn't want it to turn out the way it's turning out," she said.
I understand the trauma of losing someone to suicide, and a classmate to an accidental shooting. But this is a society full of guns. Maybe treating guns as a fearsome taboo provoked curiosity in her son, and kept him from treating them with rational respect. I have many non-gun friends who acknowledge that knowledge safe gun handling is a useful and responsible skill to possess.

It's sad, but it was predictable.
 
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