On Sunday July 8 at the main Animal Rescue League in Des Moines, Iowa, customers were waiting in the front lobby area when a 27-year old man reached into his pocket to retrieve something when he accidentally discharged the handgun he was also carrying in that pocket. A bullet was released and fragmented into pieces, striking a 9-year old girl and a 62-year old woman. Both were transported to hopsitals for treatment, but will recover.
Officers were not revealing whether the man had a permit to carry because of a new Republican-backed law passed in February 2017 that loosens the restrictions on being able to aquire a gun permit and does not allow officers to reveal whether someone has a permit. Nor are there any rules on how people must carry guns when in public to ensure safety to surrounding citizens.
It has since been reported, however, that the man with the handgun did in fact have a permit to carry the weapon, but clearly did not engage in safety precautions while carrying this gun in public. By holding the gun in his pocket instead of a holster, it was unsecured, and clearly it did not have the safety mechanism on or it was dislodged when the man rummaged in his pocket. These incidents cause concern because of the "what-ifs" that it generates. This man could easily have shot someone and killed them, or shot himself. Even though he was legally allowed to carry and have the gun, he did not do so safely and it begs the questions how many others do the same. Obtaining a permit to carry requires a class on gun safety, but of course there is no way to ensure safety guidelines are followed and most people think they know how to be "safe" with a gun and/or cut corners when hurrying through life. It has been reported that no criminal charges have been filed against the man (reinforcing the fact that there are no rules to ensure citizens carrying guns are doing so safely), but the victims could pursue civil legal action against him for the damages they suffered.