Elderly woman shot following a firearm safety lesson in church

Elderly woman shot following a firearm safety lesson in church November 19, 2017

An as yet unnamed 81-year-old Tennessee man accidentally shot his wife, 80, in the First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains, pictured above, after he gave parishioners a lesson in gun safety on Thursday.

The Christian Post reports that the bullet tore through the woman’s lower left abdomen, exited the right side of her abdomen, then ripped through her right forearm before exiting through the back of her forearm.
The man was celebrating at an early Thanksgiving event with around 20 other seniors citizens. In light of the recent mass shootings in the US, including the massacre at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas, the group decided to discuss gun safety.
The man quickly volunteered to demonstrate, declaring:

Well, I’ve got my gun on me.

Tellico Plains Police Chief Russ Parks explained that the man pulled out his holster to reveal a .38-caliber Ruger handgun. He then removed the magazine, cleared the chamber and began showing the gun to the other parishioners.
The group later discussed how to bring guns to church safely.
After the discussion and demonstration, the man replaced the magazine in his gun and holstered it.
The group was cleaning up after the meal when a church member who had missed the gun safety demonstration asked to see the gun.
As he was about to show it to the member, the man accidentally pulled the trigger of the still loaded gun, and the bullet hit his wife who was sitting next to him in a wheelchair.
Police say misinformation about what initially happened at the church sparked a brief lockdown at the local hospital and several local schools before police realized what really happened at the church.
Most of the members who were there did not realise the church member was showing the gun again, so many assumed they were dealing with an active shooter at the church.
Said Parks:

They had their backs to it. Somebody hollers, ‘He’s been shot! She’s been shot! Call 911!’ So someone grabs their cellphone and calls 911, and says we’ve had somebody shot at church.

According to this report, the bullet hit the man’s hand before it struck his wife. Both were taken to the hospital and are not believed to have life-threatening injuries.
A parishioner identified only as Mistin said the injured man is a lifelong gun-owner who practices every week. But, according to the BBC, she said the gunman, whom she thinks lost a thumb, been so traumatised by the incident that he plans to get rid of his weapons.

They’re just true servants of the Lord, they’re such a delight. We thank God. I don’t know how God’s using this but we put it in His hands.

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  • Arnold

    Only in America … gun tuition in a church. Why is it that I am not surprised?
    Have you looked on YouTube to see the idiots at play with their weapons? A good selection here … not all good ole boy mercans … but mostly so. Unbeleivable.

  • Broga

    ” I don’t know how God’s using this but we put it in His hands.”
    I don’t suppose anyone can help here in interpreting how God is using this? Apart from killing the woman the gunman has shot off his thumb. Perhaps God doesn’t want them to have guns? Or perhaps he thinks they don’t need two thumbs?
    I can’t help being amused at their antics. I suppose they will now be stepping up the prayer intensity.

  • Barry Duke

    Correction Broga, he didn’t kill her, he merely injured her.

  • barriejohn

    Broga: Yes – both have non life-threatening injuries, so my guess is that God is using this incident to provide welcome mirth in these depressing days!

  • barriejohn

    Arnold: I wonder how many others remember watching this on British TV in 1994?
    So glad that Clive is still with us, thanks to the power of prayer modern drug therapy. He once referred to religions as “advertising agencies for a product that doesn’t exist”!

  • Broga

    Barry: Thanks.

  • Broga

    I’ve got it. God saved her. Now they can thank God.

  • barriejohn

    Broga: I bet they’ll be saying that “God guided the bullet”. Read the comments here for a good laugh!

  • sailor1031

    This can only be written off as criminal negligence. Obviously this loon is in the habit of carrying a weapon fully loaded and cocked ready to fire; even to church FFS. After he replaced the magazine he must have recocked the weapon so it was ready to fire. If he had merely replaced the magazine the weapon could not have fired. This man is an irresponsible moron. That weekly practice was all useless, he learned nothing.
    And there are millions more of these idiots running around. WTF does an 81-year-old need with a concealed handgun anyway?
    BTW the rules for obtaining a concealed carry permit in Tennessee are far from onerous.

  • Vanity Unfair

    A parishioner identified only as Mistin said …the gunman, whom she thinks lost a thumb,[has] been so traumatised by the incident that he plans to get rid of his weapons.
    A minor point (except for pedants): that should be “who”. The major point: this shows the superiority of religion over science. According to science the opposable thumb took about 3.3 million years to develop by the slow process of evolution. (Source: the time scale included in https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1571064/ .) Religion, in this case a daft parishioner, can undo that process in a matter of seconds.
    Incidentally, Ruger .38 automatics (it has a magazine) seem not to have safety catches. I read the instruction manual at http://ruger-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/_manuals/LCPII-Ls6Gb8Dsk45.pdf.

  • AgentCormac

    Earlier this month, after Devin Patrick Kelley mowed down 26 people in the Texan church of Sutherland Springs, Donald Trump said, ‘We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. But this isn’t a guns situation. Fortunately somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction.’ Try getting your head around that piece of logic!
    It seems to me by far the biggest mental health issue the USA faces right now is Trump himself. But that aside, what the feck is an 80-year-old man doing taking a gun into church? Are Americans in general so afraid they may be a victim of gun crime at any moment and in any situation that the only way forward is to have more and more guns? Presumably in the hope that one of them ends up ‘shooting in the opposite direction’?
    You do have to wonder how a nation which, by and large, is wonderfully intelligent, creative and free-spirited, has let itself become hostage to politicians and gun-lobby groups who have no interest whatsoever in the value of human life.
    And try making their love of guns fit with their aversion to abortion. The whole thing is a total, incomprehensible head-fuck.

  • barriejohn
  • AgentCormac

    @ barriejohn
    That was four years ago. In 2017 alone the US has witnessed 54,470 incidents of gun crime. 13,733 deaths resulting from gun violence, 27,968 injuries from the same and over 3,000 teens our children murdered by gun-totting idiots.
    Just how many Americans must die before the government finally does something about it?

  • sailoe1031

    Some are “wonderfully intelligent, creative and free-spirited” – many are not. The answer should be to simply repeal the second amendment but nobody believes that would work since so many people of all ilks are lovers and users of guns. Politicians could go ahead and do it but they fear that if they did the “people” would vote them out of office; and being in office is what it’s all about for politicians. Ever notice it’s the worst people in society who wind up either in jail or in politics?
    “what the feck is an 80-year-old man doing taking a gun into church? Are Americans in general so afraid they may be a victim of gun crime at any moment and in any situation that the only way forward is to have more and more guns?”. As the NRA often reminds us, and many seem to believe it no matter the evidence to the contrary. “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. Many people really are convinced that they need guns to defend themselves and overlook the likelihood that the only person they will ever shoot is either themself or their spouse, whether by accident or design. Gun handling is not for amateurs – witness all the videos on youTube dedicated to their follies.
    Personal note: If I sound a little bitter about this it’s because I am. Three months ago a close friend of ours became depressed and shot herself in the head. My wife especially was devastated as she had the medical power of attorney and had to deal with hospital, organ donor people, the family who were 800 miles away. We’re still coming to terms with it slowly. I would not want others to go through what her family and we did.
    If she had not had a gun this very likely would never have happened. I don’t care about statistics; one unnecessary death is one too many.

  • sailor1031

    Of course that’s the ever-opinionated sailor1031 not sailoe1031. Phooey

  • Laura Roberts

    I’ve known many Americans who own guns. There’s only one I can think of whom I would trust with one in a crime situation, only because he’s a police officer who has had consistent and relevant training for the past ~30 years. The others I would never allow to bring a weapon into our house, because they make stupid mistakes as least as often as I do, and I’d never trust my clumsy self with a deadly weapon.
    I suppose the good news is that it’s “only” about 3% of Americans who own guns, and evidently this is down from the 1970’s. Of course, the bad news is that the 3% comprise an arsenal of over 250 million weapons.

  • sailor1031

    Talking about stupid mistakes – here’s more evidence that idiots should not be allowed to have guns:

  • Cali Ron

    Laura: Actually 3 percent own half of all the guns in America. 29 percent own guns. For many years now over 30,000 Americans have died every year from gun shots . Statistically, you are at considerably higher risk of being shot if you own a gun than if you don’t, which makes the old guns make you safer argument a lie of deadly consequences.
    How? Money. The NRA was taken over by political activist and has been turned into a gun lobby, propaganda tool. Most Americans don’t own guns and support gun legislation, but they are not represented by any powerful lobby or wealthy corporation.

  • sowa

    I read somewhere that we currently live in cyberpunk reality with all the corporate power but with none of the cool cyber stuff. I personally think there is some truth to that, at least in the West.

  • Laura Roberts

    @CaliRon: thanks for the correction. Possibly what I remembered was that 3% own more than 1 or 2. I’ll have to check. Like sailor1031, over the years I’ve known several people who were killed by guns. At least two were accidental.