Gun range owner talks safety following accidental shooting

Published: May. 6, 2017 at 7:50 PM CDT
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A man shot himself in the hand Friday night at Range 54 in Wichita Friday night and owner Ken Grommet said it was an unfortunate accident.

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said it was the third accidental shooting within a week in Wichita, and stressed the importance of safety training.

But Grommet said even with extensive training, accidents like this most recent one are bound to happen.

Grommet is big on training, and it shows as soon as you walk inside Range 54. A sign welcomes customers, and shows a list of the gun training classes they offer.

"People need to train. If you're gonna carry a gun, it's an awesome responsibility," Grommet said. "You owe a responsibility to the public that you're carrying it around, you owe a responsibility to yourself and your family."

In all of the training classes at the range,Grommet teaches four basic principles of gun safety:

1. Treat every gun as if it's loaded.

2. Don't point a gun at anything you're not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off of the trigger until your sights are on your target.

4. Know your target, and what's beyond it.

"If you keep those four things in mind then people are generally gonna be safe gun users." Grommet said.

But, Friday night, it seems one person didn't follow one of the four rules.

"In the incident yesterday, the individual had finger on the trigger or the gun wouldn't have gone off," Grommet said. "That's the short and long of it."

The incident got the attention of Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, who tweeted "Third accidental shooting in a week in ICT. Gun safety training is important!"

"I think that's what he's intending is people to be trained...whether it's here or somewhere else, if you're going to carry a gun get trained," Grommet said.

Grommet added the man who shot himself was trained, and had a military background.

"He was working on a maneuver where he was shooting with his week hand, had an incident occur where he got his hand in front of the gun, trigger was pulled and he was injured," he said

Grommet said people who use guns more often, sometimes get more comfortable around them.

"I think that people can become complacent," he said. "They handle them a lot, forget some safety procedures, get their finger on the trigger - gun goes off and next thing you know they're injured."

While frequent training can lower the rate of these types of accidents, Grommet said, there's no way to completely stop them from happening.

" It's like driving a car," he said. "We don't leave the house intending to be in a motor vehicle accident, sometimes they just happen."

Range 54 opened around a year and a half ago. It now has more than 600 members. Grommet said Friday's incident was only the second accident at the range.