Reid discharges gun in General Assembly.

I’m not sure if Del. Jack Reid, a Republican from Richmond, fears for his life in the General Assembly, or if he’s trying to make a point; perhaps it’s time for others to fear for their lives in the General Assembly. Reid carries a handgun when in the building. A building which is protected by security guards who x-ray every bag and run every person through a metal detector. Security guards who ask entrants where they’re going, half to be helpful and half to keep tabs on things.

This morning, at 9:15am, Reid accidentally fired his handgun within the General Assembly building. For the Post, Mike Shear writes:

A Virginia lawmaker accidentally discharged a handgun in his General Assembly office Thursday morning, firing a bullet into a bulletproof vest that was hanging on the wall of his office. No one was hurt.


[Sen. Jack] Reid said he has a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon and regularly brings his gun to the legislative session. But he said he usually ejects the cartridge that holds the gun’s bullets and carries that separately in his pocket.

As he was doing that Thursday morning at about 9:15, he said, the gun went off. At that time, the nine-story General Assembly building was filled with lawmakers conducting committee meetings and lobbyists, citizens and reporters.

Reid, a former school principal in Henrico County outside of Richmond, said he was given a bulletproof vest several years ago “as a joke” by the Henrico police. “That absorbed it. It did not breach the office in any way,” he said.

And this is why nobody ought to be carrying handguns into the General Assembly. This seems like common sense to me. That we’d need to spell it out is astounding to me. Handgun deaths don’t come from shooting the bad guys — they come from accidental discharges, like this. Dozens of guys are paid to carry guns and keep others from carrying guns into the state capitol. Either Del. Reid is very paranoid or he’s very foolish. What he certainly is is extraordinarily lucky. He easily could have killed somebody with these cowboy antics.

I think Del. Reid was on to something with his 2005 HB 2741 — “Populated areas; prohibits shooting of arrows from bows.” If it’s dangerous to shoot an arrow in a populated area, it must be a great deal more dangerous to shoot a gun in the middle of a crowded capitol building. I have to wonder what punishment Del. Reid would suggest for somebody who accidentally discharges a handgun in a government building.

24 thoughts on “Reid discharges gun in General Assembly.”

  1. “…ejects the cartridge that holds the gun’s bullets…”

    Never heard it put quite that way. :)

    I’m not sure it’s accurate to say that a greater number of handgun deaths are accidental compared to “shooting bad guys.” Not to say this guy isn’t a little kooky, of course.

  2. Now I’m curious. I’ll poke around for any statistics on the number of accidental vs. lawful deaths by handgun in the U.S. each year. If anybody knows of any numbers, I’d love to see them.

  3. Well, the CDC and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report has lots of good information about deaths by shooting, but what they don’t include is any indication of lawful, defensive killings with guns. It seems there’s about 1,000 accidental shootings each year. I’ll buy that — we often see stories in the news about deaths by accidental shootings, often kids who find a gun lying around.

    I have a hard time believing that there are 1,000 defensive killings each year. When they do happen, it’s big news, regionally, as they ought to be. But I hear about ten times more accidental shootings than defensive shootings. That’s hardly a scientific basis for a conclusion, but it’s certainly the best that I can come up with.

    Again, I welcome hard data from anybody who can dig some up.

  4. First, I think the thing that stunned me most is that carrying a gun in the GA is not illegal. I knew that the metal detectors made it impermissible for the general public to take guns in, but I guess I kinda assumed that a law would be on the books.

    I guess, absent a law to the contrary, it is his right to carry a gun into the GA. Ok, I get that. But presumably it’s for protection, right? Why would he enter with a loaded gun and *then* unload it and put his clip in another pocket? Maybe a gun-toter can explain that, but it doesn’t make much sense to me. Then again, neither does entering a government building with a loaded weapon :-).


    I read somewhere the self defense killings are much greater than accidental or criminal homocides. I’ll look for it.

    I Utah I believe it is legal to carry a gun anywhere and they have the lowest crime rate.

    However, stupidity and that’s what it is like Reid’s actions today, demonstrate his incompetence with firearms. Was he given a sobriety test? He sounds drunk the way he slurrs his speech anyway. Just like judge Alderman in Hanover who was drunk driving with a concealed weapon. He needs to be prosecuted and his permit removed. Why does he get a free pass. If he had any integrity he would insist on be charged and treated like any other citizen of the Commonwealth.

  6. If an accidental discharge of a weapon by a teacher occured in a public school building, regardless of whether the teacher had a permit to carry a concealed weapon or not, the theacher would lose his/her job!

  7. I should mention that I didn’t even consider statistics by organizations who are, by design, for or against gun ownership. The numbers are wildly inaccurate on both sides.

  8. Unless his finger was on the trigger, that weapon would not have fired. Dropping a clip and/or clearing the chamber won’t cause the weapon to discharge.

    You also have to think here for a second… Who clears a weapon pointing directly in front of them at chest level? You always point the weapon at the ground when performing this step. Although Reid could be telling the truth, there’s something that doesn’t look right. And if he is being honest, he might want to learn how to use a weapon before carrying it.

  9. “And this is why nobody ought to be carrying handguns into the General Assembly. This seems like common sense to me.”

    Do you feel the same way about automobiles when a pedestrian is struck? One problem with this line of thinking is that everyone has their own idea of what ‘common sense’ is and no two people can agree on it. Another is that if you examine the news accounts you will notice that of those unintentional discharges, more than a few of them are actually committed by “guys paid to carry guns”. I encourage you to try and get a visit to the local PD’s range qualification session or practice the next time it’s available. I’ll bet then you’ll have a few new and different thoughts about professionals carrying guns. As a PP pointed out, numbers vary wildly, but when something involving a permit holder occurs, it makes the news. We would be remiss in discussing this if we didn’t discuss the Fairfax county police officer who within the last week negligently discharged his service handgun into the suspect’s upper body, killing him. Oh, and the suspect? A doctor wanted on suspicion of bookmaking… 2 firearms discharges, both unintentional. One by a permit holder gets news coverage all across the Commonwealth, even though nobody was injured. The other involves a homicide, but barely gets local coverage… double standard? you bet.

    Like it or not, there are over 100,000 permit holders in Virginia, and if this is all you can point to for your claim of ‘common sense’ to ban handguns in the General Assembly building, you’re living in the wrong place.

  10. It’s pretty hard to get useful numbers on deaths caused by the discharge of firearms, accidental or intentional. I say this because most of the people who die due to gunshots every year in the U.S. are suicides. And when you look at the suicide rates in countries that have banned handguns, once the guns are out of the picture you still have the same number of suicides, only they use other means.

    I don’t have anything against concealed carry. In fact, I intend to get a permit for myself this year. However, I am strongly against Delegate Jack Reid carrying a handgun, pen knife or anything of the sharp and pointy persuasion.

    One of my concerns about having a list of places where permit holders may not carry is that then they have to leave the weapon in their car where it far more likely to be stolen and used in a crime than if it was in the permit-holder’s holster. Embarrassments like Del. Reid are pretty unusual. The vast majority of people with concealed carry permits are responsible, law-abiding people who are collectively staring in stunned, angry silence at Jack Reid right now. I hope that this incident is sufficient for the NRA to drop his rating to ‘F.’

  11. I believe that it is legal for any citizen to carry a firearm in the Capitol and, presumably, in the General Assembly Building. Going through the metal detectors indicates to the Capitol Police that you are armed, but I don’t believe that they will confiscate your weapon.

  12. Dave,

    The fact that this incident involved a permit-holder isn’t what makes it news. It’s the fact that it was in the freaking Capitol building and was the fault of a legislator. There’s no double-standard here.

    Also note that Waldo isn’t asking for a new law to be passed against carrying a firearm into the Captiol building. He’s saying that it’s a stupid idea, which it clearly is. All sorts of things are stupid ideas that shouldn’t necessarily be illegal. Like standing in front of city hall and screaming at passers-by that you just pooped your pants. Go ahead, do it. I’ll defend your right to do it until the death. You’d still be a retard for doing it, though.

    Even when he cites Reid’s HB 2741, he’s not asking what the penalty should be for possessing a firearm in the building. He’s asking what the consequences should be for firing the weapon in the building without good cause.

    There’s nothing being suggested here that should concern permit-holders, NRA members or second amendment activists like ourselves in any way.

    One thing I do promise is that if the general assembly reacts to this by passing a new law restricting permit-holders, then I will immediately buy a new gun in protest. That’s always the best way to protest new gun laws that we don’t like.

    Remember that every gun you buy is one less weapon that could fall into the hands of criminals. Do your part to protect Virginia.

    By the way, if anyone else reading this would be interested in forming a local group of NRA Democrats, let me know.

  13. Do you feel the same way about automobiles when a pedestrian is struck?

    Yes, I’d feel the same way if a pedestrian was struck by a car while sitting in Del. Reid’s office.

    Dave, I’m not just a gun owner, I’m an advocate of gun ownership. I think part of being a responsible citizen is knowing how to use guns safely and, for many people, owning one. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

  14. I always knew you were a gun grabber Waldo. This proves it. “shall not be infringed” ever heard those words Waldo? Accidents happen. While I do ROLL MY EYES at this mistake, there is no reason that responsible citizens should be prevented from using their constitutional rights. Just got done with three clips of .40 myself. Mr. Ried should pick a better range though. :) I like how you folks trust a woman with the choice to kill a baby but not to carry a gun. You folks are funny.

  15. Ben said:

    I always knew you were a gun grabber Waldo. This proves it. “shall not be infringed” ever heard those words Waldo?

    Waldo had said (just one comment before):

    Dave, I’m not just a gun owner, I’m an advocate of gun ownership. I think part of being a responsible citizen is knowing how to use guns safely and, for many people, owning one. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    It’s amazing to me how quickly people quote part of the second amendment as soon as people suggest common sense limitations on the carrying of guns. Would it be fair to say that the rights of a convicted felon to carry semi-automatic weapons “. . .shall not be infringed. . .”. Maybe we’ll restrict it to law abiding citizens. How about a 6 year old kid–should his right “not be infringed?” Hmm–maybe he’s not at the age of majority, so it’s ok to keep his hands off the weapons. What about when he turns 14 and wants to go hunting? I think we should allow that one, don’t you? All our rights have some limitations.

    I’m a big fan of the Second Amendment (all of them, really, except maybe the 16th–or the 18th, but that one doesn’t count anymore). But Ben–did you know the 2nd Amendment doesn’t directly apply to the states? The Bill of Rights were always intended to only directly applies to the Federal Government; it was the “activist” Supreme Court that decided that the 14th Amendment should extend the liberties of the Bill of Rights against the states. It is therefore only inferred from the Constitution that the states shall not infringe on the right to bear arms, much in the same way the the right to privacy has been inferred by the “activist” Court.

  16. Kaveh, extremists of all stripes believe the world is black and white. To some strong pro-choice advocates, anybody who supports restrictions beyond what we have now is an anti-choice nut. To some strong supporters of free expression, any limitation on campaign finance is straight-up anti-American. By any reasonable standard, I am an advocate of Second Amendment rights; to an extremist, I’m a “gun grabber.”

    I’m just happy Ben is posting under his real name — it’s a big step in the right direction for him. To any reasonable person, it’s clear that I’m no “gun grabber” for suggesting that it’s not a great idea to carry a loaded handgun into the Capitol.

  17. hadn’t thought about that actually…ok, well yes I have, but not just now. interesting concept though

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