17 Apr 99

This just in from a friend in the UK:

“An elderly pensioner accidentally killed his best friend with a shot from an ‘antique’ pistol, which he knew to be loaded, but with what he believed were ‘deactivated’ cartridges.

John Smith, 66, was fatally wounded in the right chest at point-blank range by his (formally) lifelong friend, George Gleed. Yesterday (1 Apr 99) Gleed, 68, an antique firearms collector, spoke of his astonishment at the ‘accident,’ which happened as he was showing off his latest acquisition. ‘I was under the impression that the bullets were inactive and therefore perfectly safe,’ said an embarrassed and grieving Gleed.

Gleed had purchased the pistol a few weeks ago from an antique dealer who also gave him six rounds of the old, pinfire cartridges for which the pistol was chambered. After loading the pistol with the ancient cartridges, Gleed attempted to fire the gun his garden. When the gun did not fire, he became convinced that the ammunition was not live. When Smith subsequently visited his friend Gleed on April first, they both ‘tried it out.’

Said Gleed, ‘I told him that is was perfectly safe. Try it,’ I insisted, as I handed him the gun. Smith obligingly took the gun, pulled the trigger several times, and then handed it back to Gleed. Gleed said that he then also pulled the trigger (as the gun was pointed directly at his friend), when suddenly there was an deafening explosion, and the room was immediately filled with acrid smoke.

Smith will be buried today at Chalford.

Gleed will not be charged.”


>Gun ownership is not recommended for the nonchalant, the careless, or the overly casual.

>Keep your weapon continuously pointed in a safe direction.

>Keep you fingers off the trigger until/unless you intend for the gun to fire at that moment