Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Every instructor’s nightmare

Written By: Bob - Aug• 12•13

There are many thousands of shooting instructors in the United States, who teach tens of thousands of students to shoot every year. Despite the best of intentions and the best of precautions, mistakes sometimes occur, and accidents happen.

Most of the time that comes as a mechanical breakdown of a gun that is relatively minor. Occasionally, there is an early or late shot due to a lack of concentration that is fired downrange. On much more rare occasions a gun will catastrophically fail, permanently damaging the gun and injuring a shooter.

The nightmare scenario for any instructor is the harm of a student, especially at the hands of the instructor. 73-year-old veteran instructor Terry J. Dunlap Sr. has now lived that nightmare:

A gun-safety class in Fairfield County for people seeking permits to carry concealed weapons went wrong on Saturday when the instructor accidentally shot a student.

Terry J. Dunlap Sr., who runs a shooting range and training center at 6995 Coonpath Rd. near Lancaster, was demonstrating a hand gun in the classroom when he fired a .38-caliber bullet that ricocheted off a desk and into student Michael Piemonte’s right arm.

Dunlap, 73, also is a long-time Violet Township trustee who is running for re-election in November.

Piemonte feels lucky. It could have been worse, he said today. He and his wife, Allison, both 26 and residents of Pataskala in Licking County, attended the day-long concealed-carry class together, he said.

Fortunately, several students in the course were nurses and they were able to render first aid until EMS arrived to transport Mr. Peimonte to the hospital. He was treated and released that evening, and so it appears the wound was relatively minor.

From what I’ve picked up, Dunlap has been instructing civilians and police for decades without a mishap. A former student claims in the comments of the article that he is among the most safety-conscious instructors he has ever known. All it took was a few seconds of violating several of the Four Rules for those decades of good work to be tarnished.

Of course, part of the problem with the “four rules” is that there should be a a fifth rule observed at any time there is more than person present.

We all own the safety rules.

If an observant student quickly reminded Mr. Dunlap that he hadn’t cleared the weapon in front of the class, this scenario could have been avoided.

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7 Comments

  1. drjim says:

    What part of “NO Live Ammo In The Classroom!” does this genius not understand?

    As the instructor, it’s his duty and responsibility to MAKE SURE there is NO live ammo in the classroom.

    When I run a class, or assist with a class, we make all the students leave their range bags outside the classroom.

    And we check all guns being brought in to the class room to make sure the autos have empty magazines and chambers, and the revolvers have empty cylinders.

    EVERY time we pick up a gun, we show it’s empty, and ask a student to verify it is indeed empty.

    Safety starts between your ears, and this “instructor” failed both his students and himself.

    truly a textbook definition of “Negligent Discharge”.

  2. Old Gringo says:

    I’m in my 60s and have been handling weapons for half a century. But it’s because I’m in my 60s that I’ve no business instructing others about proper safety and usage of them. Age IS a relevant factor.

  3. david7134 says:

    When I was a resident, we had the annual cop convention down the street every year. We knew ahead of time that there would be a number of shootings as the cops would do all kinds of stupid things with their weapons.

    • louielouie says:

      the big gun show in tulsa routinely has one security guard shooting another security guard.

  4. Jay352 says:

    I took my office manager to the range one day to shoot. She had never fired a gun and had a pistol her father had given her.As she sat at the bench I showed her how to make it safe with an orange marker in the open cylinder. A few booths down a couple had a suppressed full auto 9mm and were pounding rounds out. All of a sudden she jerked as I was leaning over her and looked down at her leg; she had taken a ricochet in the calf. It turned into an emergency room visit and surgery instead of a fun day at the range. I felt terrible about it even though it was completely out of my control

  5. louielouie says:

    spend your whole life getting “atta boys” so you can move a little forward.
    get one “aw sht” and you go to the back of the line.

  6. The Neon Madman says:

    I have taught Hunter Safety for 15 years.

    Live ammo is for the range only. Period.

    Live ammo is NEVER in the classroom. Period.

    Anyone who does otherwise has no business teaching.