Arizona Man Accidentally Kills Himself During Gun Safety Demostration

imagesSamuel Benally Jr., 26, of Phoenix, Arizona wanted to show how dangerous it is to keep loaded guns in the house. He succeeded too well. Benally, who thought that his own gun was unloaded, put a 9mm to his head and pulled the trigger — killing himself in front of the two neighbors.

Such tragedies have befallen officers who mistakenly believe that guns at home are either unloaded or have a safety on, here.

For the full story, click here.

50 thoughts on “Arizona Man Accidentally Kills Himself During Gun Safety Demostration

  1. Number one rule in gun safety

    ALWAYS treat a gun like it’s loaded!! Even if you KNOW it’s not loaded, you need to handle it like it is.

    That guy was a moron to do what he did. I’m not exactly sure just what he was trying to prove.

  2. nal:

    good point. very good point. Although some insurance policies do pay out on suicide after a certain amount of time, if I am not mistaken.

  3. I’m constantly amazed how nonchalantly accidental deaths by firearms are treated. This kind of event, deaths by and of spouses in highly emotional domestic disputes, personal revenge shootings, road rage and children playing with guns all seem acceptable to gun owners as long as they get to keep their own guns. The psychological gymnastics required to allow for these unnecessary deaths in order to shoot guns either as sport or to kill animals for fun is beyond my comprehension.

  4. rcampbell

    “A Saudi Arabian inventor has filed for a patent on a potentially lethal science fiction-style human tracking microchip, the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) told The Local on Friday.

    But the macabre innovation that enables remote killing will likely be denied copyright protection.”

  5. To amplify my thought, we heavily regulate drugs because of the potential for some to misuse, abuse or otherwise use them unsafely in ways that can cause death. But gun owners demmand unlimited access to weapons designed specifically to kill things and are far too often used intentionally and unintentionally to great effect of that purpose. Guns are legal, marijuana, for instance, is illegal. This despite, to my knowledge, no one ever dying of an accidental pot overdose versus X number of accidental gun deaths per year.

  6. rcampbell:

    No psychological gymnastics are required. If someone fails to wear their seatbelt and drives 100 miles an hour on a road where that isn’t tenable and dies, we should feel horrible for his family and maybe even him, but we would not be able to avoid pointing out that the guy was an idiot and the cause of his own demise.

    In this case, the guy blatantly ignored three of the four inviolable rules of gun safety. Those rules exist to provide redundant protection against accidents. Metaphorically speaking, he drove his car with no seatbelt, 200 miles per hour with a blindfold while drunk around the lip of the Grand Canyon.

    As for the other types of death, yes, they are horrible, but all required an act by a human being. An inanimate object did not simply “go off”. May I ask you, what do you say to the hundreds of thousands to millions of people who defend themselves using firearms every single year in this country?

  7. Dredd:

    how is this guys death a microcosm of the Bush II war years?

    Maybe it is a metaphor for harming the body politic through stupidity?

  8. jw –

    “May I ask you, what do you say to the hundreds of thousands to millions of people who defend themselves using firearms every single year in this country?”

    Where did you get this statistic? Is it published?

  9. rcampbell sed:

    I’m constantly amazed how nonchalantly accidental deaths by firearms are treated. This kind of event, deaths by and of spouses in highly emotional domestic disputes, personal revenge shootings, road rage and children playing with guns all seem acceptable to gun owners as long as they get to keep their own guns. The psychological gymnastics required to allow for these unnecessary deaths in order to shoot guns either as sport or to kill animals for fun is beyond my comprehension.
    ________

    I don’t want a gun primarily for sport or to kill animals. I want one for selfprotection against those who do not value my life as I do, and will take my property as if it were theirs.

    I get a small thrill target practicing, but it is comparable to the thrill I get on a video game.

    You collectivize the injuries resulting from the existance of guns as an indictment of legalized gun ownership.
    Would it make you happier knowing that illegalized gun ownership will still exist, and all the injuries then will be sustained by victims of human predators, robbers, burglarers and violent theives?.
    Old saw – If guns are made criminal, only criminals will have guns.

    I feel that you are incredibly presumptuous in the stance that you know what is right for me, better than I do, be it for guns, drugs, or whatever.

  10. jw –

    You were correct; that was an incredibly pro-gun site, using Kleck and Gertz research, but thanks for pointing that out beforehand …

    From “Myths About Defensive Gun Use and Permissive Gun Carry Laws”

    http://www.bmsg.org/pdfs/myths.pdf

    The Myth of 2.5 Million Defensive Gun Uses Per Year:

    Kleck and Gertz’s claim of 2.5 million defensive gun uses per year is derived from a telephone survey of 5,000 American adults conducted in 1992. Fifty-six respondents to this survey reported that they had used a gun in self-defense during the past year. Kleck and Gertz multiply the proportion of respondents in their survey who report a defensive gun use (X / 5,000 = Y percent) by the number of adults in the U.S. (around 200 million) and the number of defensive gun uses equals 2.5 million per year. They estimate that in 670,000 of these incidents the would-be victims used guns when they were away from their homes.

    Many people are amazed that projections about national phenomena can be made based on a telephone survey of a few thousand adults. While many surveys of this type can provide useful information about national phenomena, in this particular case the public’s
    skepticism is warranted. The primary problem is that, even if the Kleck and Gertz’s estimates were accurate, defensive gun use is a relatively rare occurrence in that only 1% of respondents reported a defensive gun use during the previous 12 months. As David Hemenway of Harvard University has pointed out, inaccurate reporting of these events by a relatively small number of respondents could lead to population projections that are orders of magnitude different from the true incidence. For example, if one-half of one percent of the survey respondents incorrectly reported that they had used a gun to defend themselves against a criminal attack during the past year, the estimated number of defensive gun uses would be twice as high the true number.

  11. Mojo:

    To assert legalized gun ownership should hinge upon whether people have successfully used them in self-defense, is like saying whether we should torture hinges upon whether the torture produces useful intel.

    The principle of matter is independent of the practical results.

  12. rcambell,

    Your biasedness against guns is completely unreasonable and inane. I have handled firearms since age 6 and then in the military, as a hunter, and as a federal law enforcement officer. Any person who shoots himself or herself has something wrong with them mentally, be it temporary or chronic. That includes an LEO or anyone else who causes a self-inflicted gunshot while cleaning a firearm.

    I knew a fine, topnotch CHP officer who “accidentally” shot himself during a routine cleaning of his service firearm; however, he was also going through a breakup with his wife.

    Fortunately, my friend survived, although his career and his marriage did not.

  13. “To assert legalized gun ownership should hinge upon whether people have successfully used them in self-defense, is like saying whether we should torture hinges upon whether the torture produces useful intel.”

    An odd comparison. What does that even mean?

  14. Gary,

    Principle and action, either pro-principle or anti-principle, are intimately intertwined. To say otherwise is like saying cause isn’t related to effect, but in reading your statement I don’t think that’s where you were going. The only reasons to assert gun ownership rights are 1) the Constitutional guarantee of the 2nd Amendment and 2) the rationale of Founding Fathers in including it which not only included the very real military concern that they relied heavily upon civilian militias early on, but the stated intent that the citizenry should be armed as recourse to abusive or tyrannical government. That’s all that’s required. Self defense statistics have nothing to do with it. But torture, on the other hand, has no legal or ethical justification ever no matter what the results are. It’s simply wrong and illegal where gun ownership is your right and not in question by people who have read and understand the nature of the 2nd Amendment. Is that where you were going?

  15. FFLEO –

    Oh, man. I am ashamed to say I really laughed hard at that comment.

    “And remember to never, ever do this …”

  16. Mojo-

    Forgive me for length.

    “You were correct; that was an incredibly pro-gun site, using Kleck and Gertz research, but thanks for pointing that out beforehand ….”

    This is a cheap shot and has nothing to do with the argument. It’s also a half truth. It *includes* Kleck and Gertz and also includes the research of many others. For those without the time to wade through it, the site also has links to dissenting opinions.

    “From ‘Myths About Defensive Gun Use and Permissive Gun Carry Laws'”

    I tried to see if Kleck had responded specifically to this paper. If he has, I couldn’t find it. It might have something to do with the fact that it wasn’t done for a peer reviewed criminology journal, but by a media advocacy group. Here are the first two paragraphs on the “What We Do” section of their website:

    “Media Advocacy Planning

    Organizations that want to change policy or influence decision-makers enlist BMSG to help them develop a media advocacy plan, a message strategy, and an access strategy for becoming part of the public debate in the news media.

    Strategic Consultation

    We help public health advocates plan strategic media opportunities and provide feedback and coaching during every step of implementation, from writing letters to the editor to preparing for a tough media interview.”

    This particular “study” was funded in part by the Joyce Foundation, who are notoriously anti-gun. Say what you will about Kleck, he wasn’t funded by the NRA or any other advocacy group.

    As for the study itself….

    “As David Hemenway of Harvard University has pointed out, inaccurate reporting of these events by a relatively small number of respondents could lead to population projections that are orders of magnitude different from the true incidence.”

    Kleck issued a response to Hemenway’s critique of his work. You can read it here: http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/KleckAndGertz2.htm And again, his response was published in a relevant peer reviewed criminology journal rather than prepared and paid for by advocacy groups.

    But believe it or not, everything I’ve pointed out so far represents the least of your intellectual dishonesty. Because in the post you were responding to, I referred to *13* studies or surveys with a range of hundreds of thousands to millions of defensive gun uses. Clearly, the scientific consensus is somewhere in that range otherwise a whole lot of researchers are screwing up wildly. So what did you do? You immediately ran to the high number (and I was mistaken, it wasn’t the highest number), hoping to grab the most controversial. Ok, I’ll play along. Let’s go with the *lowest* number: about 800,000. I’ll ask the question again, what do you say to the roughly 800,000 people who use guns to defend themselves every year?

  17. “The principle of matter is independent of the practical results.”

    I was afraid that this might be too abstract, but I was hopeful that my point was still understandable.

    Buddha, you basically got my point and rexpressed it correctly.

    The point being that given an established legal principle, be it the right to bear arms, or the illegality of torture.

    I.E., the dangerousness of firearms, and the tragedies that have occurred, do not affect the legality and established right to own them.
    I.E. The effectiveness (or non) of torture in no way comments on the fact that it is illegal.

    In both cases people will try to sidestep a clear legal mandate, by arguing the practicalities, e.g., guns: it is too dangerous to be a right, torture: it is too effective to not use.

    That is what Mojo is arguing, “So what its a Constitutional right, its too dangerous anyway as evidenced by all these examples”

  18. I guess I’d say to them sorry you live in a society that you feel so threatened by and fearful of that you feel compelled to arm yourself.

    I’m headed outside to enjoy the sunshine. Unarmed and everything.

  19. I am no more fearful of being attacked than I am of my home catching fire or getting in a car accident. Yet I legally carry a gun, I have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in my home, and I wear my seatbelt. When I go places which do not allow me to carry, I do not feel naked or unsafe, simply bemused and amused by the notion of a “gun free zone.”

  20. JW, I’m with you on that.

    Because you know that everyone obeys those “gun free zone” signs, especially those who have do not have a permit to even carry the handgun that’s in their back pocket.

  21. In its boundless stupidity, the Tennessee legislature has just made it legal to carry guns in restaurants and bars where alcohol is served. There was much opposition to this bill from restaurant owners and state law enforcement, but their voices were ignored. Sadly, it appears there are enough votes (mostly Republican, of course) to overturn the governor’s almost certain veto. The NRA and the Republican Party will not rest until there are bullet holes in every home, church and restaurant in the country. Let’s not forget that the national parks, too, will soon be shooting ranges. “…gun safety demonstration.” The only “safe” gun is a melted one.

  22. Amati-

    We are getting off course here into a general gun control debate (well, already are), but do you realize that concealed weapons are already legal in bars and restaurants in many states and have been for many years? It hasn’t been a problem. Why does it make sense that here in Ohio, I can eat a burger, fries and a soft drink while legally carrying in a Burger King, but if I walk across the street and do the same in an Applebee’s, I’m a felon? This is actually possible by the way, about two blocks from my home, and I don’t drink.

    Those who carry weapons with ill intent will carry them anywhere. The only people who obey the no gun zone laws are people inclined to follow laws in the first place, i.e. the ones least likely to cause problems.

  23. As has been noted.
    Just because one carries house insurance does not mean you are expecting a fire. It just means you are prepared in case the commensurately unthinkable and unlikely happens.

    On the firearms in restaurants law, I would imagine this law doesn’t mandate that an establishment must permit firearms in their businesses?
    It would behoove them to make a private property rule, no shirt, no shoes, or guns, no service.

  24. Rcambell,

    Why do you always assume that hunters hunt for fun?

    Sally and JW,

    So, we should only have laws that criminals will obey?

  25. Gyges-

    We are talking about a crime with no victims and a law with no utility. I think there’s a difference in there somewhere but I’m kind of stupid. So if I’m wrong, good on ya. How about this –

    Here in Ohio, businesses can prohibit concealed carry by putting a sign saying so in clear view (a right I support regardless of how stupid I think it is). This is usually at the entrance or behind the counter. Very few big chains do this, but one is Costco.

    So let’s pretend we work for Costco and we’ve been tasked to analyze what could go wrong gun-wise in our stores and what effect these signs might have. The first thing that pops into our heads is obvious – robbery. Now we imagine our robber, gun tucked into small of the back, mouth watering at the pallet full of Miracle Whip with which he is soon to abscond. But ho! A sign on the door! He can’t take his gun in! Curses, foiled!

    I submit that this is not likely.

    Back to our work. How about an active shooter scenario? Dude goes cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, blames his wife, ex-wife, liberals, Atheists, fascists, , Jonathan Turley, Rachel Maddow, and socialists for everything going wrong and figures he’s going to take it out on Costco members. He packs up his AK and as much ammo as he can carry and goes to Costco. And sees the sign. And his batsh*t insane brain has one moment of clarity and he thinks, “Eh, I think I’ll just get a puppy instead.”

    This too I find unlikely.

    And then there’s someone like me. I have a spotless criminal record. I’ve had my background checked repeatedly. I’ve been fingerprinted. I’ve taken a class on safety, gun handling, and Ohio firearm laws. I or someone like me goes to Costco carrying and sees the sign. We do one of two things. We leave or we secure our gun in the our and do our shopping.

    Arrest rates have shown pretty consistently that CCW holders commit less gun crime than the general public, which shouldn’t be surprising. So simply put, the no gun signs are literally filtering out the demographic of people who are least likely to commit gun crime and who *might* actually manage to stop one (and yes, it does happen). What’s more, business owners are indemnified against civil suits based on anything a CCW holder does in their establishment.

    Damn this was long. What were we talking about again?

  26. jw –

    “I am no more fearful of being attacked than I am of my home catching fire or getting in a car accident. Yet I legally carry a gun, I have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in my home, and I wear my seatbelt. When I go places which do not allow me to carry, I do not feel naked or unsafe, simply bemused and amused by the notion of a “gun free zone.”

    And yet you carry a gun around. Well, then I think you are more fearful than most, don’t you think? Considerably more fearful, I’d say.

    You seem to spend a lot more time worrying than most of us here. But have a good day, friendo. Have a pleasant day, indeed. You’ve earned it. You’re gunning for it.

  27. Mojo:

    I’m of like mind. These conceal carry folks have every right to own and carry handguns. But their thought processes would be the end of me.
    When at home:
    Can I get the hand gun from the safe fast enough?
    Will the trigger lock cooperate.
    Ammo in the basement. Damn it Marge did you move the ammo again?
    I’ve got to practice getting the hand gun and the ammo together in under 12 seconds. Need more practice.

    Then the kicker, the most destructive stories. Guy looses job, out of work.
    Owes more on the house than it’s worth. Kids pulled from private school, car repossessed. Self esteem flat lining. Lets take everyone for one final drive. Wife 3,4 kids….

    Gunning for it, yep, sad too.

  28. JW,

    I don’t see how your objections to a PRIVATE company banning guns on it’s property strengthens the “only criminals will have guns” argument.

    By the very definition of “illegal” once you make something illegal, only people that break the law will have/do it. To use that as a reason not to make something illegal is a way of saying “I think this should be legal because that’s what I think.”

    Now I’m all for the idea that the default setting should be “legal.” However, in the case of hand guns (and fire-arms in general) there are very pressing reasons why they should be regulated. They’re dangerous. The comparisons of cars and fire seems to keep coming up. Both are dangerous, and both are regulated. Both are also things that are have way more every day utility than a firearm.

    I’m just asking for a little more intellectual honest discussion of how much regulations we should have.

  29. Gyges-

    If a rule is practically *guaranteed* to affect no change in criminal behavior and it is practically *guaranteed* that the only person who will follow it is someone who wouldn’t have been targeted by the rule’s intent in the first place, does that rules make any sense? That’s the case with no gun zones. And we were talking about a private rule, not a law.

    You also seem to be under the impression that there are no gun regulations. And to repeat, I support the right of private property owners to ban guns from their establishments. You also missed the point of why cars and fire keep coming up. Gun owners keep being portrayed as fearful, twitchy psychos that skulk around terrified of imminent attack everywhere they go. That is as silly a stereotype as conservatives thinking of progressives as pot-smoking, commie, hippies. We see our guns as a tool that we don’t think and certainly don’t hope we’ll ever have to use, the same as our seatbelts and our fire extinguishers. I don’t stand over the oven with the fire extinguisher when my wife is cooking and I sure as Hell don’t walk through life with my hand poised over my holster waiting for a bad guy to jump from the shadows.

    CCD-

    The scenario you paint is irrelevant in my case. I have no children so the gun is in it’s case, ready to go when I’m not carrying it. If we have company, I secure both the firearm and the ammunition. As for the horrifying incidents involving despondent fathers, I can only say that they represent a tiny subset of a tiny fraction of a tiny percentage point of gun crime (thankfully). Given the odds in general, it is extremely unlikely that any particular person will commit such an act, and given my history, even less so.

  30. JW,

    I’m sorry, but did you actually read my comment? I never said there was no regulation, nor did I call you twitchy and fearful. Also, we WERE talking about laws until you brought Costco into it. From your earlier comment, “The only people who obey the no gun zone laws are people inclined to follow laws in the first place, i.e. the ones least likely to cause problems.”

    I got the fire\car analogy, I was just taking your imagery and running with it.

    As for the no gun zones, do you have anything factual to back up your guarantee? You’re making a pretty strong claim so your evidence should be pretty strong.

  31. 8 years of Bush-2/Cheney has made us a national security police state, with the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Depts (minus habeas corpus!). It makes me wonder if the real threat is not a random armed criminal but an “officer of the law” who gets trigger happy or prosecution happy. No gun will be enough because the State will always outgun you…pun intented.

  32. Nathan,

    Most good cops will tell you it is hard to sometimes figure out who the real criminals are.

  33. Anonymously:

    I am not a paranoid Waco(!) but the dilemma is more serious on citizen’s side…it is hard to tell who is a good cop or importantly, a honest prosecutor. We have had too many problematic cases recently and I for one fear the asymmetry of power, now that those pesky things like the Bill of Rights, habeas corpus etc. have been largely done away with.
    Is this another good reason not to bother owning a gun? I dont know the answer. As JT tells us, our system was set up to be run by “devils” and still protect individuals. Now we are dependant on the good graces or mood of the few in power. Just a general worry for the future our children would have to grow up in…. Sorry, that was kind of long.

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