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CCW Permit Student Shot By Firearms Instructor

POV of Shooting the P365 9mm

In other news, we have instances that remind us of the importance of choosing your gun trainers carefully, and why you should vet them to the highest level before ever stepping foot in a classroom. In other words, just because a guy or gal has the title “firearms trainer” behind their name, doesn't necessarily mean they know what they're doing with a gun.

Things can always get ugly, mistakes can be made, and people can get shot by their instructors at the gun range. Maybe this is why Jacob wears a bullet resistant vest while training … anyway —

Such was the case earlier this month in California. A man was attending a firearms concealed carry permit class in the “may issue” state when he was “accidentally” shot by his trainer, a civilian firearms trainer for the Riverside County Sheriff, according to this source.

The incident took place on August 10th as the trainee participated in the class at the Ben Clark Training Center Gun Range. The range is in Riverside, California.

It is reported that, during an inspection, the instructor did a “trigger pull test” shooting the student in the leg.

Apparently, students are instructed to unload their firearms at some point during the class to be inspected by this trainer.

The instructor apparently didn't check the condition of the firearm, pointed the gun at a human being, and then conducted a “trigger pull test” on that gun.

Again, the instructor obviously did not check the condition of the gun he was given, shooting one of the students in the leg.

The student was transported to the hospital where he was treated for a non-life threatening wound to the leg and the “accidental discharge” is to be investigated by the Sheriff's department and the training center where the incident took place.

While this is being called an “accidental discharge” by most everyone else, there is clear negligence here. What I'm trying to figure out is, on what planet do the aliens teach gun instructors to point a gun at a student? Then, who told this guy that he should then (as the gun was pointed at an innocent person) pull the trigger!?!?

This is a clear case of complacency kills, or the teacher is just incompetent to begin with. Either way, he doesn't need to be teaching people about guns and gun safety, which is a requirement for the California concealed carry permit.

When you're teaching students, you have to assume that you are the expert and that they don't know anything about guns. You have to assume that they don't know how to unload a gun. And, you therefore must check the gun's status, yourself.

Or, better yet, teach the students that, before they hand a gun to someone they should open the action and lock it to the rear to show that it is, indeed, empty. To do otherwise as we see here, is just negligent.

I'm not sure what credentials the instructor had, but we usually like to see something more than just the basic qualification for a firearms instructor. Always do some research. While the basic industry standard certifications are a great starting point, ideally, you'll want to see something in addition to that, even if it's just other classes they list on their website that they took from more qualified people.

Here is more information on how to find a good instructor if you're looking for one. Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments below.

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34 Responses to CCW Permit Student Shot By Firearms Instructor

  1. Fred Johnson August 28, 2019 at 9:40 am #

    This was NOT an “Accidental Discharge”. Pulling a trigger IS AN INTENTIONAL ACTION. Negligence, YES!!! But very much intentional.

    Also, I was taught in the Air Force that if someone is pointing a gun at you, THEY ARE TRYING TO KILL YOU and you should kill them back first,

    • Michael Valgos August 29, 2019 at 12:47 am #

      I totally agree I was in the Marine Corps for 10 years and if you point a weapon at someone you better prepared to fire So you never point a weapon at anyone ever.

  2. Milton K LaDue August 28, 2019 at 9:44 am #

    That should teach that student to ALWAYS follow instructors commands. Now, I’m wondering if the instructor will hang on to his job or if he will not be able to find another job in the gun industry.

    • Joshua Gillem August 28, 2019 at 10:50 am #

      Hey Milton, thanks for the comment. We can’t assume that the student even knew how to properly unload a gun. He may not have.

    • Gee c August 28, 2019 at 12:29 pm #

      Why didn’t the trainer first piont in a safe direction then check the weapon?

      • Lloyd Oliphant August 29, 2019 at 5:59 am #

        If you ever walk into a classroom and the students are seated in rows, always grab the back row. The last thing you need is someone that is inexperienced behind you with a gun, or anyone for that matter.

  3. Tim Elliott August 28, 2019 at 9:48 am #

    > The gun is always loaded
    > Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy
    > At a range… the firearms is pointed toward the targets (downrange)

  4. Dwayne Devaney August 28, 2019 at 9:54 am #

    I agree 100%. The instructor should have checked to be safe. I am not an instructor and I ALWAYS check and double check that any gun I show anyone is UNLOADED AND ACTION LOCKED OPEN.
    This is a serious issue. This person should not be teaching people about guns, period.

    • Bobby August 28, 2019 at 12:26 pm #

      Instructor should have his NRA Certification revoked and he should face charges for negligent firearm discharge… perhaps yank his carry license to boot ! He was lucky he didnt kill some one !

    • John September 28, 2019 at 8:52 am #

      You MUST always assume the weapon is loaded! Once that projectile leaves that barrel , you are not getting it back. There is no do overs.

  5. Nancy August 28, 2019 at 10:02 am #

    The first thing we were always taught, assume ALL firearms are loaded. That’s why you never aim at anyone unless you intend to to harm and stop them in their tracks. This was the worst careless error and against everything ever taught (no accident to me as the gun was intentionally aimed at the student)!

  6. VETERAN August 28, 2019 at 10:03 am #

    What a moron does he also train the Sheriff’s office? Never point a gun at anyone unless you are going to shoot them when your life is in danger.always check a gun yourself if it is handed to you or you pick it up it is never empty is the right mind set
    If you are teaching a class on gun safety just think they know nothing or anything about a weapon, weapon is always pointed down range ALWAYS NO EXCEPTION. YOU WILL LIVE LONGER

  7. Bob August 28, 2019 at 10:05 am #

    Something similar happened where I live around twenty years ago, when the instructor did a trigger test pointed at his hand, and the bullet went through the instructor’s hand and ricocheted into a student, a young boy, that died at the scene. As in most things, “assume” makes an %^& out of “u” and “me.” The gun is always loaded until immediately shown otherwise, the muzzle is always downrange, and the trigger is un-fingered until one is ready to shoot, at a downrange target preferably. No shooter is experienced enough to skip safety practices..

  8. Venae August 28, 2019 at 10:15 am #

    Wow! Just rule of thumb and should always be taught….NEVER POINT A GUN LOADED OR UNLOADED AT A PERSON!!! This should be a natural thought process of not pointing a firearm at anyone!!! What was this guy thinking?

  9. Richard M McGannon August 28, 2019 at 10:22 am #

    ALWAYS assume a gun is loaded until you can prove its not. Pulling the magazine and locking the action to the rear is the proper way with a semi auto pistol.
    Never aim a gun at anything unless you intend to destroy it. Aiming down at the ground or down range at an empty range is acceptable.
    Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you have acquired your target and are actually ready to fire.
    You are responsible for each and every round from the moment it leaves your gun to the final resting place of that round.

    BASIC gun safety.

  10. Sean Baxter August 28, 2019 at 10:42 am #

    This happens a lot. People who learn a thing or two about guns from Uncle Buck and then go on to become ‘instructors’. They might be good at marksmanship, even have a badge, a title, or even a trophy or two. They might even be pretty good at teaching certain aspects of shooting. However, they probably don’t take classes from other instructors and this complacency becomes ingrained.

    I’ve seen it a lot even from those that “grew up around guns” or “hunt every season” or “carry every day”. They haven’t shot themselves yet, so they call it good. But here’s where I think things go awry. They may feel comfortable pointing a gun at themselves or someone with the disclaimer “its not loaded”. But that action is based on a thought (not loaded). That thought that is based on another action (confirming the condition). Its when people skip the first step, because it requires thinking, and that’s when a physical habit leads to an injury or death.

  11. Todd R Mendenhall August 28, 2019 at 10:49 am #

    There is no excuse for negligent discharge in my opinion, nor accidental. If we adhere and stress “PROPER ATTITUDE”, which entails always following firearm rules, this doesnt happen. If, as an Instructor, I ever injure a student, I am done. Those of us who are serious instructors, know its not about money, it is to ensure student (client) safety and knowledge. Not only did that instructor injure a student, but just bruised each one of us and all certifying institutions.

  12. Lance Parks August 28, 2019 at 11:09 am #

    Obviously, any person with an IQ above the retarded grapefruit level would have enough gun safety smarts to point ANY weapon away from a human being before doing any test that involves pulling the trigger. The trainer was primarily at fault for violating this basic firearm safety commandment and the student should have been alert enough to realize that the firearm should have been pointed in a safe direction, not towards him. The instructor should be banned from further firearms training because he obviously doesn’t know the first thing about safely instructing operations of a deadly weapon.

  13. Steve Trindall August 28, 2019 at 11:25 am #

    The press check is used to confirm the gun is loaded not empty. To confirm the gun is empty you drop the magazine and rack the slide.

    • Joshua Gillem August 28, 2019 at 1:16 pm #

      Yeah, I could have worded that a bit better. I changed it, thank you for pointing out my error.


  14. Mark Cline August 28, 2019 at 11:26 am #

    “Red Neck Trigger Check”! I tell 2 stories of this happening in my classes. One, about the DEA agent in Florida who shot himself in the foot. The other about a young man in North Carolina who shot his friend in the chest while “proving the gun was unloaded.” Remember “The X Files”? Trust no one!

  15. William Atkinson August 28, 2019 at 2:11 pm #

    If he was in the “U S Marine Corps” then I can insure all of you that he was well trained in all types of firearms. I myself served in the ” US Marine Corps and was and still am a Very Proud “Marine”. Most Marines when either they Retired or just plane get out of the “Marines ” either get a job as a FBI Agent, Police Officer, Boarder Patrowl, Customs Agent, or some other type of Law Enforcement. Because once a “Marine” Always a “Marine” Well Trained, and Well Disaplined. For all those who do not know what ” Semper Fi” means It Means “ALWAYS FAITHFUL ” ORR RARR Marines

  16. D J August 28, 2019 at 2:43 pm #

    I would’ve done one of two things. I would’ve either ran away from that man as fast as I could leaving my gun behind if I had to and left the premises. Or I would’ve snatched the gun away from him. This person is not qualified to teach a class.

  17. DJ August 28, 2019 at 2:55 pm #

    I heard a story from a bunch of instructor friends when we all got together to eat. The story went like this. And instructor for CCW class failed one day to check all the weapons. He was walking around the classroom showing everybody the difference and similarities in everybody’s weapons one of the students picked up one of the weapons and when he did he pulled the trigger. Called an accidental discharge. There’s no such thing. Naturally it went bang. Luckily it went into the calf of the guys sitting cross the aisle. The full metal jacket missed everything vital. Sheriffs deputy had to come out and do a report. He wound up in front of a judge. The judge got pissed off about it. Gave him 30 days in jail. In my classes I check every weapon. Just as soon as they come in the door. Ammo has to be in a separate container. I’m not gonna go to jail for 30 days.

  18. Terry Smith August 28, 2019 at 4:31 pm #

    I have to take issue with the dig at NRA Certified instructors in the next to last paragraph. While I agree that there may be better courses and/or instructors for the intricacies of concealed carry, I’m not sure that is germane to what happened here. Any NRA instructor worthy of his certification knows better than to point a gun at a person & pull the trigger. Even the most basic of NRA courses stress safety and the NRA’s three rules. Last figure I saw was there are over 113,000 NRA certified instructors in all disciplines–with that large of a pool I suppose it is inevitable that there are a few complacent and/or incompetent individuals holding a certification. But I’m 100% sure if an NRA instructor causes an incident like this and the NRA is notified about it, his/her credentials will be pulled. Yes, seek classes & instructors that are appropriate to the level of training you want, NRA basic courses–Basic Rifle, Basic Pistol, & Basic Shotgun are just that–BASIC. A good introduction to shooting & firearms safety. Please don’t imply that the majority of NRA certified instructors are unsafe and should be avoided for any type of firearms training.

    • Jacob Paulsen August 29, 2019 at 7:49 am #

      Terry thank you for your comment and I appreciate your words. The NRA curriculum is very safety focused and it wasn’t our intent to suggest that it lacks such that it leads to these kinds of failures. It would be more accurate, in reflecting our point of view, to say that we generally like to see instructors with multiple certifications instead of just one and didn’t mean to isolate or single out the NRA like we did.

  19. G. Gary Snyder August 28, 2019 at 8:43 pm #

    I have been around all types of guns for over 50 years. I have hunting, military, law enforcement, and security backgrounds.

    One thing my father taught me, and it was backed up by every instructor, was to treat any weapon as being loaded UNTIL YOU clear it! Likewise, if anyone points a weapon at you, they are planning on ending your life!

    The only place to perform a “trigger pull” is at a clearing barrel, or pointed down range!

    Accidents do happen, but for an instructor to perform in this fashion, I’m not so sure I’d investigate this as an accident!

  20. Ron Thomas August 28, 2019 at 9:15 pm #

    No where in the article is there any mention of the instructor being an NRA Certified instructor, in fact it does not say an instructor pulled the trigger it says a staff member of the facility did. I just finished training new NRA instructors this spring in Pistol, Shotgun and Rifle. Under current NRA protocol they are required to satisfactorily complete the student course prior to attending the Instructor course, in addition they must document that they possess a classification in specific related competitive sports or they must demonstrate that they can safely handle the firearm and meet minimum performance standards prior to beginning the instructor training, that training is generally 8 hours longer than the course they are being trained to present. All training is required to be in person, the Training Counselor is expected to evaluate each candidate’s Knowledge, Skill and Attitude prior to recommending them for certification. That is a higher standard of training than required of the instructors at the three “professional” firearms schools I have attended outside of the training I have had through the NRA. Doing a “trigger test” in a manner in which this incident is described violates the NRA standard for taking possession of a firearm, and the first NRA rule for handling a firearm. I understand that the organization you represent derives income by offering training but you should not denigrate the training offered by the largest and most experienced organization offering firearm safety training in the country. Lesson 1 of every basic NRA firearms course includes a classroom safe handling drill in which each student, after having listened and watched the instructor, using dummy ammo loads, unloads and demonstrates the proper method of exchanging a firearm to another person, then performs each of those actions with each common action type under the direct supervision of an instructor. No live ammunition is permitted to be present in the classroom of any NRA firearm class. If the student is going to use their own firearm it is unloaded and cleared under supervision on the range prior to being inspected by an instructor. Does your organization use a similar procedure to train instructors and follow a similar routine prior to introducing live ammo into the training? There may be jerks out there who slip through the training and then violate NRA standards or frauds who claim to be NRA Instructors, the NRA revokes their certification or exposes the frauds when they are identified.

    • Jacob Paulsen August 29, 2019 at 7:50 am #

      Ron thank you for your comment and I appreciate your words. The NRA curriculum is very safety focused and it wasn’t our intent to suggest that it lacks such that it leads to these kinds of failures. It would be more accurate, in reflecting our point of view, to say that we generally like to see instructors with multiple certifications instead of just one and didn’t mean to isolate or single out the NRA like we did.

  21. RonP August 28, 2019 at 11:33 pm #

    This reminds me of the YouTube video where a police officer brags to a class full of children that he is the only one there that is qualified to have a firearm… he then drops the slide on his semi-automatic pistol BEFORE he removes the magazine, then proceeds to shoot himself in the leg with the weapon he thought he just unloaded. First of all, ANYONE can make a mistake with a firearm… if you are so arrogant that you believe you are the exception to that rule, you will very likely be next. Second, the rule that you never point any firearm at anyone (loaded or unloaded) was intended to keep us from shooting someone (or ourselves) when we do make a mistake that leads to an accidental discharge. There is a saying that there are two types of gun owners… Group #1: Those who have experienced an accidental discharge. Group #2: those who will. So far I have been able to remain in group #1… but I know that every time I handle a firearm, the odds grow in favor of my joining group #2. I will continue to strive to stay in the first group but should I ever join the second, I know that I MUST insure that the firearm in my hand must never be allowed to point in a direction where someone could be shot. An accidental discharge means I have made a mistake… If I shoot someone, I have made at least two.

  22. Rich Bach August 29, 2019 at 10:40 pm #

    As a Former Marine and a rifle expert from the Marine Corps and a Concealed Carry permit holder. Whenever I had a gun to anyone, I make sure that the magazine is removed and the slide back and locked exposing the barrel. I took a friend of mine to a range to give him some idea of which weapon he decided was the best for him from the 3 weapons that I owned. After firing each of them and then unloading them we went out to the display so he could pick out the weapon he would be most comfortable with. When the salesman handed him the gun, the first thing he did was put his finger in the trigger guard. I chastised him and told him that you are to never put your finger in the trigger guard unless and until you are actually pointed the gun downrange. Those folks that don’t listen to simple safety instructions are the ones that will eventually kill someone.

  23. Rob Vasquez August 30, 2019 at 7:30 am #

    Your opening statement really concerns me.
    “In other words, just because a guy or gal has the title “firearms trainer” behind their name, doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they’re doing with a gun”. Necessarily??
    It sure as hell better mean something. Otherwise what good is the NRA and or all the other sites that “Train the trainers”?
    We go to these places to be trained properly and to feel safe doing so. This kind of rhetoric is a porthole for allowing these training sites that train the trainer to continue to be sloppy about their safe practices.
    We should never hear of these type of “Accidents”. The “trainers” should be held to a higher standard then the person they are training.Please stop making excuses for this type of behavior.

    • Joshua Gillem August 30, 2019 at 8:55 am #

      Rob, we should never assume that someone knows what they’re doing just because they have credentials and this goes for all aspects of life. It is meant to concern you enough to look into your trainer more.

      More often than not, these instructors are fine. Also, more often than not, your medical DR. is fine. There are, however, always people who get through the cracks. There are surgeons who have a higher fatality rate than others, and drivers who have more accidents than others. This is true for all aspects of life. The people who train the trainers do the best they can, but there will be some people who do unsafe stuff.

      The surgeon doesn’t learn in surgical school (if there is such a thing) to leave tools inside the human body, and yet these things happen. The driver isn’t taught in driving school to run through red lights, and yet these things happen. Trainers aren’t taught to point a gun at someone and pull the trigger, and yet these things obviously happen.

      This is just a sad truth about life that happens in every industry. Thank you for your comment.

  24. Robert Torbett September 6, 2019 at 6:00 pm #

    There’s no doubt about this being a Negligent Discharge by a totally careless instructor. The man should loose all his credentials as an instructor and perhaps his CCW as well. I was in the Navy and we were taught to keep the mussel pointed down range or at the object you wish to destroy. In my opinion, “All firearms are to be treated as though they are loaded with one in battery”. Anyone taking a firearms class should make sure the range instructor is fully qualified with years of experience.

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