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Odd and tragic case

Reserve deputy is killed at back yard range when a gun discharges while in a range bag:

According to the report, Brenda H. Sims, 59, of 3552 County Rd. 30 wanted to practice shooting in order to qualify for her pistol permit. Her husband, Robert Gary Sims Jr., 45, also a reserve deputy, set up the targets in the back yard and then brought out the bags in which the couple stored their guns. When Mr. Sims set the bags on the truck, he heard a pop, looked over at his wife and saw her slumping down. One of the guns had apparently fired from within the bag.

I wonder how that that would have happened. Presuming a handgun, was it loose in the bag?

20 Responses to “Odd and tragic case”

  1. breda Says:

    Hmm. I hope his story checks out.

  2. Bryan S. Says:

    loaded weapon inside a bag loose? or even in a gun “sock” of some sort? Without hard cover on the trigger?

  3. Robert Says:

    This will be listed as a death by shooting of an LEO in the FBI stats.

  4. mike w. Says:

    That sounds mighty convenient.

    And if it was a genuine accident, hell, a $10 holster would’ve prevented this.

  5. TennGoodBoy Says:

    Probably a Glock. I know, I know, its got strikers, safety systems, etc, etc. But duh, the safety is on the trigger. Any random object can fire the gun. Hence the suggestions above to cover and lock up the trigger. The safest system in a handgun is double action semiauto, hammer down, safety on, period. My grandson is a soldier in Afghanistan, and I am thankful every day that he and his buds carry Beretta M9’s and not Glocks. Ok, Im ready for the “but-but-but”, so Glock fanboys have at me.

  6. HL Says:

    Well, it couldn’t have been a Glock 9mm, or the shot wouldn’t have been fatal.

    Yes, I know, horrible. But if we are going to turn this into a “X vs X”, lets go all the way.

    In a way, I hope it wasn’t an accident and he is prosecuted. At least that way it goes from “accidental tragedy” to “intentional crime” and somebody pays.

    If it was an accident, I can’t imagine the pain he feels.

  7. Bryan S. Says:

    It could have been any loaded pistol. Do you really think that loose inside of a bag, that a trigger can be pressed by an inanimate object but a “safety” cant be moved?

    The real safety would be proper storage or a properly carried loaded weapon. Wouldn’t matter if it was Browning himself with that bag, it was a stupid idea and now someone is dead for it.

    unless we are all chasing a story that didnt happen, and this was really a case of someone negligently shooting and then covering it up by “the bag did it”

  8. Matthew Carberry Says:


    That’s over simplifying a bit. Some guns are, in a real statistical sense, less likely to be fired in a foolish “loose in a bag” situation.

    Thumb safeties do get wiped off against their spring pressure accidentally, but that’s at least one more unlikely step required over simply “something gets into the trigger guard”.

    My 1911, for example, would have required the thumb safety to be knocked off against a spring detent, and then the grip safety to be fully depressed by something, while something else simultaneously exerted enough pressure to pull the trigger but not enough to dislodge whatever was holding down the grip safety.

  9. Calm Gun Says:

    Not buying it. Me thinks something more will come out.

  10. divemedic Says:

    Any pistol is possibly a disaster in the making, if left loaded and loose inside of a range bag. Pitsols without safeties like Glock, Sig, and a few others all fit this description. The lesson here is that the best safety device is the one between your ears. Unless they are under positive control, all weapons should be unloaded and locked away.

    The gun I am using for defense/carrying is the only loaded weapon in my house. The rest are unloaded and locked away.

    (By positive control, I mean in a gun safe, or some other means that will prevent it falling in the wrong hands, or an object entering the trigger guard.)

  11. divemedic Says:

    Oh,and I agree that this story sounds like complete BS. There is something else that happened there, but we are unlikely to ever hear the truth.

  12. Jay G. Says:

    Sounds more like a ballistic divorce…

  13. Bubblehead Les Says:

    Too many Cletuses, Fudds and LEOs think the 4 Rules are for “the other guy.”

    But this does smell like Seafood.

  14. Gerry Says:


    You owe me a keyboard.

  15. John Farrier Says:

    The last two ranges that I have frequented forbid cased guns for this very reason.

  16. Barron Barnett Says:

    @John Forbid cased guns? WTF!? I’ve seen them bar loaded guns (cold range). The place I normally go requires a chamber check before you go on the line of all weapons. Any of them check hot you don’t shoot that day. Uncased can land you in a serious world of legal crap during travel to and from the range.

    As for the range bag. I never store any pistol loaded unless it’s in a holster. Snap cap and hammer down before going in the bag.

  17. chris Says:

    I will refrain from speculation and I will reserve judgment on this until the facts come out.

    It could be anything from negligence, to a gun getting knocked out of its holster while in the duffle bag to something we would see on Dateline with Keith Morrison.

    Time should tell.

  18. Paul Says:

    It could have been a .22 on up. Just hit in the right spot and that’s that.

    Unless the weapon has multiple safeties that have not been deactivated (a grip safety can be pushed in by one object in a bag while another is wedged in the trigger guard) then quite a few guns can go off that way.

    Use a holster that covers the trigger guard and don’t load a practice gun till you get on the range. Simple as that.

  19. Gnarly Sheen Says:

    “Sounds more like a ballistic divorce…”

    I laughed, felt bad about it, then laughed some more.

  20. John Farrier Says:

    @Barron Barnett — yes, uncased with the action open. You can have a case in your car. But the case has to stay in your car.

    One range safety officer told me a story of a man dropping his cased rifle on a shooting bench. The rifle immediate discharged. So guns must be uncased so that the RSO can see that they’re unloaded.