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Bret Hanna
Bret Hanna
Attorney • 435-649-2525

Gun Safety Requires Constant Vigilance

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A 9-year-old boy was critically injured Saturday when he was shot as he walked down a residential sidewalk in Roy. Braden Schroeder was walking on a sidewalk adjacent to a mobile home park located at 3800 South and 1900 West, when he was struck by pellets from a 12-gauge shotgun fired through a window from about 8 feet away. Pellets penetrated the young boy from his thigh to his neck. He remains in critical condition and it is anticipated that he will have to have surgery and will have a lengthy recovery.

The 28-year-old man who pulled the trigger was house sitting for his grandmother. He told investigators that he cleaned the shot gun and then "dry-fired" it. But this story just does not make sense. "Dry firing" is defined as:

Dry firing is the practice of "firing" a firearm without ammunition. That is, to pull the trigger and allow the hammer or striker to drop on an empty chamber.

This technique is often used to simulate actual firing when there is not a suitable place to practice with live ammunition. The primary benefit of this practice is refined trigger control. For most common cartridges, there are snap caps available to reduce the risk of damaging the firing pin. It is generally acceptable to dry fire more modern centerfire firearms without a cartridge or snap cap. However, dry firing a shotgun or rimfire firearm can damage the firing pin. Furthermore, damage can occur to the chamber mouth of a rimfire firearm.

Dry firing may also refer to the firing of a bow or other weapon without ammunition. Dry firing a compound bow may cause the cracking of the limbs of the bow, or may completely knock the string off causing possible injury to the shooter, or it may do nothing at all. It all depends on the draw weight, cam type, and bow type.

The problem is that the shooter admits he loaded the shotgun before he pulled the trigger. If he loaded it and then pulled the trigger, how could he be surprised that it fired or claim that it was "dry-fired?" Police suspect that alcohol was involved and that seems likes a much more plausible explanation for what happened.

The lesson here is clear – if you are going to handle firearms, be trained on safety issues and follow the rules you are taught. Lives, including your own, may depend on you doing so.