The sheriff suffered an injury to his hand while he was cleaning a gun at his home in Des Moines County, Iowa.
Sheriff Mike Johnstone sustained a gunshot wound to his left hand as he cleaned his personal handgun, at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 16, 2015, according to a statement from the Des Moines County Sheriff’s Office.
I know. You’re asking, why should we care that yet another police officer or other person has shot himself while cleaning his gun. Well, this one is noteworthy only because Sheriff Mike Johnstone is rather well known in Iowa for campaigning against the state’s license to carry laws moving from “may issue” to “shall issue” as well as advocating “gun free zones.”
As is often the case, the people most vocal in their belief that only the police and military should have guns, are usually the least qualified with respect to operation, storage, and handling of firearms themselves. It seems the Sheriff is no exception. We wish him a speedy recovery but, this is what good trainers call a “teachable moment” that applies not only to the victim of his own mistake (the Sheriff) but to all gun owners.
The Sheriff shot himself because he failed to follow basic handling procedures that some might call “common sense.” Most importantly, pointing the gun in a direction that could lead to unintended personal/property damage. He clearly failed to treat the firearm as if it was loaded. And his process of unloading and condition checking the firearm was clearly flawed. At the end of the day, what happened with Mike Johnstone is the firearm equivalent of texting and driving with similar results. Don’t be a Mike Johnstone.