Two accidental shootings over the weekend sent one teenager to the hospital and left one young woman dead. On Saturday, a 15-year-old boy hunting in Daggett County west of Dutch John shot himself in the stomach with his muzzleloader rifle as he stood up. He was airlifted to a local hospital and has been reported to be in serious but stable condition. He is expected to recover.
The second incident is more tragic and a lot more bizarre. It occurred yesterday afternoon in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven in Springville. Earlier, the 19-year-old woman had been in Hobble Creek Canyon camping and shooting rifles and pistols with her 24-year-old husband. As they exited the 7-Eleven, the husband opened the car door for his wife and it appears that a .22 revolver fell out of the vehicle and discharged. The bulled struck the young woman in the abdomen and once she realized that she’d been shot, she fainted. The husband and a friend immediately called 911 but rescue crews were unable to revive her. She was pronounced dead at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.
Both of these incidences highlight the fact that those who carry and use guns must be hyper vigilant when it comes to safety. Legislation signed into Utah law earlier this year makes it legal for anyone over the age of 18 to carry a loaded handgun anywhere inside a vehicle; shotguns and rifles are excluded. While that may offer a measure of convenience to those with guns, owners must make sure that all guns are safely secured inside and outside of vehicles. This can include stowing them in secured compartments and/or always using safety devices which will prevent them from firing when dropped, etc.
The two accidents noted here are simply that – accidents. But they serve as sober reminders that although accidents do happen, we need be aware of how to prevent them.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.