Police Say a Local Gunsmith Blew Off His Thumb at an East Dallas Gun Shop on Tuesday

Categories: Guns

Thumbnail image for Rick_Perry_091610_Merten.jpg
Sam Merten
Governor Rick Perry, talking Second Amendment at the McClelland gun shop during his 2010 reelection campaign.
The McClelland Gun Shop has been arming East Dallas since the 1970s from its nondescript shop by the railroad tracks on Centerville Road. And it offers just about what you'd expect from a Texas gun shop: a mix of hunting equipment, handguns, and Second Amendment rhetoric. It was where, during his 2010 reelection campaign, Governor Rick Perry went to pick up the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

It's also the shop where a 66-year-old gunsmith -- and frequent commenter at vintageshotgun.com -- named Gordon Disharoon plies his trade.

Disharoon was there at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday when he accidentally bumped into a table, causing the shotgun leaning against it to fall. No harm there, but then, as he wrapped his hand around the barrel and returned the firearm to its upright position, he placed his thumb over the muzzle.

You can imagine the rest. A loud bang. The acrid smell of gun powder. Disharoon standing there, gaping at the spot where his thumb used to be. Police caught up with him at Doctor's Hospital. Officers say he "appeared calm and awake" as he recounted the accident, despite what must have been a massive amount of pain pulsing from his throbbing hand.

The store doesn't open until 9:30 a.m., and their number doesn't accept voicemail. We do have a couple of questions, namely whether it's common practice to leave loaded shotguns lying around.

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63 comments
ryan762
ryan762

If only his thumb had been armed, it could have defended itself.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Or Maybe ......

  Disharoon was there at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday when he accidentally bumped into a table, causing the shotgun leaning against it to fall. No harm there, but then, as he wrapped his hand around the barrel and returned the firearm to its upright position, he placed his thumb over the muzzle.

That is his story and he is sticking to it ?

roo_ster
roo_ster

The Four Rules at all times and in all places. 

onetonload
onetonload

Call me crazy but the fact that a guy who works on guns and is in a gun store with a loaded shotgun with the safety off just lying around if FUCKING stupid. I would be hard pressed to walk in that place for fear of my life because these idiots can't even practice basic gun safety.

oxtail
oxtail

Ok. This story is post worthy?  In other news, an electrician got electrocuted, a truck driver got into an accident, an administrative assistant got carpal tunnel, and a babysitter slipped on spilt milk.

This story would not even be posted by the Observer if it did not involve a firearm. 

On the other hand, I am stoked to know now that a gun store is close by my house.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

He violated a couple of the basic rules of firearm safety. 

1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)

3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.

4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

Russ Coffman
Russ Coffman

This can't happen, according to the NRA.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Just about everything that happens in a shop of any kind is preventable .

But if we prevented them all there would be no need for First Aid kits Fire Extinguishers and cold adult Beverages to swap lies over about what happened at  the end of the day .


wilme2
wilme2

Sorry to hear that.  I once took a shotgun with a live round in the magazine (not the chamber) to McClelland's as it was completely jammed up and I thought it better handled by a pro than myself.  But I was VERY careful to make sure they knew it was in there and I a labeled it with a big red tag.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Hmmm, NRA's right for once.

Guns don't kill people.

They just blow their thumbs off.

James080
James080

Leaving a loaded and cocked firearm leaning against a wall is not a safe practice and this man should have known better. Even at that, all firearms should always be handled as if they are loaded. This gentleman got sloppy, and he's lucky it was only his thumb that paid the price.

Joe Downey
Joe Downey

Playing with gun High on Cocaine.

NewsDog
NewsDog

I'd say this is definitely not typical of McClelland's work. They have done work for me in the past and they are one of the first places that gets a recommendation from several of my friends.     

doublecheese
doublecheese

In other news, professional carpenters all over the world cut off one of their fingers this week.  Occupational hazard, I guess.

douglasmorris99
douglasmorris99

@ryan762 and if it had been a skill saw, table saw or portable drill accident would you be snarky about that as well?

douglasmorris99
douglasmorris99

@onetonload so, you don't drive your car, ride your bike in public areas or walk down any city streets due to unsafe practices of car drivers, construction workers, bus drivers, etc?

crimjunkie
crimjunkie

@onetonload Maybe.

I'm ignorant about guns but have some friends who qualify as "gun nuts" under any reasonable definition.  They are uber zealous about safety, as well they should be.

I suspect that this guy isn't an idiot but got sloppy and paid the price.  A harsh lesson.

PersistentID2345
PersistentID2345

@Tim.Covington You forget number 5

Don't blow your thumb off if you work at a shop that Gubner Perry visited on an NRA call or The Dallas Observer will exploit your misfortune in a weak attempt at irony even if it is at the expense of an elder working tradesman.

onetonload
onetonload

@doublecheese


Big difference chucklenuts. A hammer or hack saw can't accidentally blow your head off if they are loaded and left unattended.


ryan762
ryan762

@douglasmorris99 @ryan762 Probably not because those accidents lack the attendant irony and the easy quip.

Nobody ever suggested that the answer to table saw maimings was more table saws. Either through voluntary changes or through regulations, people worked to make table saws safer.

crimjunkie
crimjunkie

@PersistentID2345 I don't usually agree with you, persistentID, but in this instance, I feel all kinds of bad for this guy.  He made a mistake and it sucks.  That is all.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@onetonload @doublecheese No difference at all, actually.  A live tool is a live tool.  I've got lots of carpenters in the family, and with them it's more of a question of when you are going to lose some part of your hand, not if.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@onetonload @doublecheese Actually, power tools can do a lot of damage if they are left plugged in and unattended.  Accidents happen all the time in many lines of work.  Shit happens, that's all there is to it.

observist
observist topcommenter

@everlastingphelps@observist@RTGolden1@onetonload@doublecheese 

Here's the link:

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6119a4.htm

Look at fatalities, swimming pools, all ages.  N=683   

You change the parameters from death to injury and limit the age to just small children, and then then call me a liar?  Once again you let your animosity overrule your reason.  

So, I'm not a liar, but you're still an asshole... and a liar as well.  Lest we forget your classic "more people are beaten to death with bare hands than killed with guns."

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@observist @RTGolden1 @everlastingphelps @onetonload @doublecheese All fine and good, except, Of the 3300 or so unintentional drownings the CDC reports, about 1/2 are in swimming pools (intentional drownings are pretty rare, i'd imagine.  It'd be a tough way to do somebody in.)  Best numbers I can find.  Got a link to your <700?

My second point of contention would be: Our metro areas that have the most severe gun control laws on the books have the highest incidence of firearms homicide.  In fact of the 30,000+ firearms deaths each year, the vast majority of them are INTENTIONAL, i.e. Murder or Suicide.  There is nothing that proves stricter gun control, which will likely only affect law abiding citizens, will have any meaningful impact on the murder or suicide rates.  Unintentional deaths from firearms, however, occur at a rate similar to unintentional drownings (if we want to be honest in our comparisons).  Yet the call to end this scourge is not to more severely restrict swimming pools and make people register and have a background check to go to the lake.  No, the sensible call is for people to get educated, learn to swim, learn water safety.  The same can be done for firearms.  

By the way, each firearm does make a unique mark on the shell, both when cycling the round to the chamber and when extracting the spent shell after firing.

I actually agree with you that we need to make it much more difficult for criminals or volatile people to obtain firearms.  I agree with closing the gun show loophole, and putting responsibility on the seller in a private sale of a firearm.  I've sold three of my firearms in my life, twice to people I was very close to, and once to someone unfamiliar to me.  The person I didn't personally know was vetted to the best of my abilities.  Every gun owner should take the same responsibility when selling their firearms.

observist
observist topcommenter

@RTGolden1@observist@everlastingphelps@onetonload@doublecheeseSwimming pool drownings per year: <700.  Firearm deaths per year: >30,000

 The "other" uses for guns you mention are just happy marketing-speak for the uses I mentioned.  Injuring, threatening to injure, practicing injuring.   They're not tools, they're not toys, they're weapons that make it safe, quick and easy to kill other people, which happens in the US at >3x the rate it does in any other developed country.  

As I said above, my issue with guns is not the legal, safe, responsible owners, it's the ease and frequency by which guns are acquired and used by illegal, unsafe and irresponsible people.  There are already far too many guns in the country to get rid of, and far more than any hypothetical tyrannical government can ever seize, even if they knew exactly who had them.  

They should be registered, and owners should have some liability if they allow a gun be transferred (sold, given or stolen) to an other person without a license, background check, etc.   Perhaps mandate that all guns leave a unique identfying mark on the shells - in essence make it so any bullet fired can be linked to a gun registration record.  

I don't have the exact answer, but some 21st century technology can be applied to these 19th century weapons to keep them out of the hands of killers.  If our murder rate were lowered to the OECD average, it would save like 6000 lives a year - two 9/11's averted every year. 

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Ahh a city boy...I invite you to Turkey for a weekend to show you what it's all about.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@observist @everlastingphelps @onetonload @doublecheese As a side note, firearms are easier to clean than swimming pools.  When left for long periods without maintenance, firearms simply succumb to rust and corrosion.  Swimming pools, on the other hand, stagnate and become breeding grounds for mosquitos.  Mosquito's carry West Nile Virus, which in turn, causes death.  Dallas, I believe, led the nation in deaths due to WNV, a distinction we do not have in regard to firearms.

Uses of a swimming pool: drowning, drowning someone else, letting little kids drown, breeding mosquitos that will kill us.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@observist @everlastingphelps @onetonload @doublecheese You're usually better than this observist.  Guns have as many beneficial uses as swimming pools in society.  They are used, daily, to protect individuals and families, to put food on tables, by families to have an activity that all members can participate in and enjoy, and, much like swimming pools, in Olympic events.

That you only see the potential for injury and harm in firearms is a greater indictment of yourself than it is of firearms and the people who legally, safely and responsibly own and use them.

observist
observist topcommenter

@Sharon_Moreanus   That's like saying you use your horse for transportation - after you drive to the stable.

observist
observist topcommenter

@everlastingphelps @observist @onetonload @doublecheese  No.  There is a place for weapons in society, I just think they should be more tightly controlled and regulated than they are.  Guns in the hands of good people aren't a big problem.  Guns in the hands of bad people are.  We make it far too easy for guns to get in the hands of bad people.  There's no perfect solution but there's a lot of room for improvement.

observist
observist topcommenter

@everlastingphelps @onetonload @doublecheese  The  difference is carpenters injure themselves using tools to make something and to make a living.  The risk of injury is tolerated because the tool is used for more beneficial purposes - same with cars, knives, swimming pools, home cleaning products, etc.  Guns are tools for injuring people - they have no other purpose.  Uses of a gun are: injuring someone, threatening to injure someone, practicing injuring someone, injuring yourself.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Speaking of tools.

But seriously... sorry that your family is in a coma.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@onetonload @everlastingphelps @doublecheese lol "home builders" think they are carpenters.  That's like calling janitors "sanitation engineers."

Carpenters do actual wood working, with real power tools like table saws, routers, drill presses, etc.  Cabinetmakers, furniture, that sort of thing.  Home builders just chop down 2x4s and nail them together.  Hardly comparable.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@onetonloadYour assertion that a loaded firearm can run amok on it's own is equally laughable.  Every firearm accident can be directly attributed to an unsafe act by a person. 

"Most power tools like circular saws and chain saws have safety switches"  So do most firearms.  Thanks for playing, go back to blowing spit bubbles now.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@onetonload By that statement, you are making the argument that guns do these very things.  Simply dumb.

onetonload
onetonload

@doublecheese @onetonload 


Most power tools like circular saws and chain saws have safety switches. Your assertion that a tool plugged in can rum amok on it's own or can be easily engaged is laughable.


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