Once in a while a news story comes along that is so deliciously ironic it almost seems guaranteed to be fake news. A National Rifle Association employee accidentally shot himself while participating in firearms training at the organization's headquarters, police in Fairfax County, Virginia, reported Friday. And no, you are not reading the Onion.
In an incident that almost certainly mars the NRA's message that guns make us safer, a 46-year-old male NRA employee shot himself on accident Thursday while at the NRA's National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, police told NBC News. According to police, the man's pistol discharged as he was returning it to his holster. The man was reportedly taken to a local hospital for treatment of a minor wound he sustained to his lower body.
Now, you may be thinking such an accident could have been easily avoided if only the man had been properly trained in how to handle and use his firearm. In fact, the NRA minces few words when emphasizing the importance of proper training. "Firearm education and safety is paramount," the NRA's official website states. "The NRA is here to keep you and your family safe." Just how safe, however, appears to be up for debate if you not only work for the NRA but are at the NRA's headquarters doing firearms training, as the man who accidentally shot himself was. (I gotta say, this story really writes itself.)
It was still unclear Friday whether the man had been leading the firearms training or just simply participating when the incident occurred. It was also unclear how long the man had been a gun owner or employed by the NRA. The organization has not commented on the incident.
Aside from being a surefire contender for the most ironic news headline of the day, Thursday's accidental shooting at NRA headquarters highlights one of the more complex issues of gun ownership - the potentially fatal risk of accidental firearm discharge, which are perhaps better characterized as negligent discharges as guns do not fire themselves or go off at random without some kind of human interference. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidental firearm discharges killed 591 people in the United States in 2011 alone.
According to NBC News, no charges are expected to be filed as a result of Thursday's shooting, because just as shooting yourself makes little to no sense, so too does pressing charges against yourself.