Mike’s Notes – As many long time readers know, I own and operate Chet’s Firearms, a federally licensed firearms manufacturer and dealer. I am also the designated armorer for VT.
Shameless Self Promotion – Though I have not advertised in VT lately, I have a large quantity of custom handmade AR platform rifles and pistols in stock in several calibers for immediate delivery. They make great stocking stuffers and prices have never been lower. Call me at 517-548-9558 to ask any questions or to place an order. Ask for Mike. You can also ask questions by email at: [email protected]
Note that I am the sole owner of Chet’s Firearms and VT is not legally affiliated with its operation, though I often get design ideas from Gordon.
Even before owning this business, I knew basic firearms safety procedures.
Rule number 1: Always treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
Rule number 2: Check and recheck if it is loaded prior to handling it.
One would think that trained police officers should know at least those basic safety rules though apparently not. On a semi-regular basis you hear of a person being shot by an “unloaded” gun.
A friend of mine is the manager of a large retail sporting goods store and store policy is that when a customer brings in a gun to trade in, sell, or have serviced, the owner is stopped just inside the door of the store and the muzzle end of the gun is placed in a bullet proof chamber and trap just in case it were to go off.
It is then checked to make sure that it is not loaded and a trigger lock is placed on it before it can be carried through the store. This is simply good safety and good business practices. He has told me that quite often their clerk is told that the gun is not loaded only to find out that it really is.
As a dealer, I have had a few incidents that could have proven deadly if not handled properly. Definitely the most scary incident was when a person shipped me a .308 rifle that was loaded. The safety was off and it was cocked.
A simple pull of the trigger would have fired it. It was in a cloth gun case which could have caught the trigger when I was pulling it out of the box but fortunately that did not happen. As always, I did a basic safety check where I open the action and look inside to be sure that it is clear and I heard a clunk on the floor.
I looked down and saw a live .308 round lying there. It had been shipped across the country in this condition and could have gone off at any time had it shifted in the box in a way that pulled the trigger possibly killing or injuring a postal worker.
By Meagan Flynn – Washington Post
November 21, 2019 at 6:58 a.m. EST
A freak incident has left the South African legal community in shock after a prominent prosecutor was accidentally shot to death Monday in the middle of a trial — with a gun that was central to the case, authorities said.
The attorney, Addelaid Ferreira-Watt, was prosecuting a home robbery when a loaded shotgun was brought into the courtroom to be entered as evidence.
Somehow, as a police officer “was trying to pick up or handle the firearm,” it went off and struck Ferreira-Watt in the left hip, a spokesman for South Africa’s police watchdog agency, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, told The Washington Post.
Ferreira-Watt, 51, was transferred to the hospital but did not survive. Now, the IPID is investigating the case as a culpable homicide, spokesman Sontaga Seisa said.
“We are basically going to be focusing on whether the policeman’s finger was on the trigger, or whether the gun went off accidentally somehow,” Seisa said.
Ferreira-Watt’s colleagues and loved ones were flabbergasted as to how a loaded gun was possibly allowed to be brought into the court as evidence.
Brigadier Jay Naicker, a spokesman for the South African Police Service in KwaZulu-Natal province, told local news radio station 702 that the suspects stole the shotgun from a couple during a 2014 farmhouse robbery in the town of Ixopo, in the KwaZulu-Natal province. When police caught the five suspects, Naicker said a judge allowed police to return the shotgun to the couple because they said they needed it for protection.
The couple, Cheryl and Dave Biggs, said police officers came by to pick up the gun for the trial on Monday, South African newspaper the Witness reported.
When Cheryl Biggs found out the gun went off during court, she was “extremely distraught,” she told the newspaper. Police had even asked her if the gun was loaded or not — but she told them she didn’t know for sure.
Michael Chester is retired from his career in industrial technology. After graduating from college, he taught this subject until deciding that he preferred doing the job himself more than teaching it. At various times during his career, he has designed, built, installed, and repaired industrial manufacturing machinery. His specialty was in electrical and electronics controls.
After retiring, he concentrated more on his hobby of cooking and attended one of the top culinary schools in the US. Mike competed in bass fishing tournaments for several years, but had to leave the sport due to an injury. As a certified barbecue judge he gets to taste some of the best BBQ in the country and help select the winner. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it. He lives with his wife of over 30 years, has 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren.