While shootings and violence against others often make the news, firearms are more likely to be involved in accidental or unintentional shootings. These accidents can be caused by negligence, or failure to act with the standard level of care.
From 2005 to 2010, nearly 3,800 people in the United States died from unintentional shootings. More than a third of the victims were younger than 25.
On average, people in all age groups are more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries when they live in states with more guns.
Firearm negligence is a serious matter. If you’ve been involved in an accidental shooting or been injured by another person’s discharge of a firearm, the firearm negligence attorneys at Carr & Carr can help.
What is considered firearm negligence?
Because firearms can be so dangerous, those who own or use them must care for and handle them responsibly. Negligent gun use, even without malicious or criminal intent, can lead to injuries and death.
Examples of firearm negligence may include:
- Failing to safely store firearms in the home where a minor can access and use them.
- Failing to check that a firearm is unloaded before handling or cleaning. In February 2020, a man in Midwest City shot and killed his friend by accident when he was cleaning/clearing his semi-automatic handgun.
- Failing to keep the safety on at all times until ready to fire. In October 2020, a man sitting in the Woodland Hills Mall food court had a gun in his pocket when it fired. Firearms are prohibited at Woodland Hills Mall.
- Shooting firearms into the air in celebration, where falling bullets can injure or kill another person.
- Dropping a loaded firearm, causing it to misfire into a building or through walls. Though the exact cause is still unknown, a 74-year-old woman in Luther died in November 2020 after she was accidentally shot in her home.
- Hunting accidents.
As we all know, this kind of negligence can have severe and deadly consequences.
In Oklahoma from 2004 to 2010, the leading circumstances surrounding unintentional firearm deaths were playing with a gun at 37 percent, showing a gun to another person at 18 percent, and hunting at 15 percent.
Firearm laws in Oklahoma
As of November 2019, Oklahoma law states that people may carry firearms without a permit or training. This “Permitless Carry” or “Constitutional Carry” law applies to those at least 21 years old, or those 18 years old and in the military.
There are provisions to this law. Under this Oklahoma law, you:
- Cannot carry a concealed or unconcealed handgun in public and private schools, public or private sports arenas, government buildings, gambling facilities, or private businesses unless allowed by the owner.
- Cannot own or buy a gun if you have been convicted of a felony.
- Must pass a background check to purchase a firearm.
- Must disclose guns in your possession when requested by a law enforcement officer.
Though Oklahoma allows constitutional carry of a firearm, it does not mean that using a firearm negligently comes without consequences.
For example, a person who willfully discharges a firearm in any public place or location where someone can be harmed is guilty of a misdemeanor — even if no injury to anyone is caused.
Oklahoma law also states that it is unlawful for any person to point a firearm (loaded or not) at others to threaten, intimidate, or “joke” with them. Pointing a firearm is considered a felony.
Speak with an attorney at Carr & Carr
If you are the victim of firearm negligence, or a loved one has been injured or killed by someone else’s negligent actions, you have the right to file a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim and seek compensation.
If your firearm was discharged unintentionally or by accident, it’s important to take the right steps to protect your rights as well.
An experienced attorney can help you understand how and why your firearm misfired, and defend you from any groundless accusations.