How do I handle an accidental weapons discharge? | - Leader Development for Army Professionals
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How do I handle an accidental weapons discharge?

Our unit just returned from the range and we had a leader accidentally discharge his weapon. No one was hurt, but boy did it tear up the commander's car. Any recommendation on how to handle this?

For starters, this not an accidental discharge.  It is a negligent discharge. This leader was negligent on several levels.

  1. The weapon should have been cleared off the range.  This means the range OIC, NCOIC, and safeties also failed to fulfill their responsibilities.
  2. There is a weapons clearing barrel outside most buildings. It is a requirement to clear your weapon before you enter a building.

Techniques for resolution vary according to the unit, but I’ve seen a variety of  different disciplinary actions in the past. In combat arms units, the leader is usually relieved of their leadership position and given a relief for cause evaluation.

In other situations, Soldiers are given Article 15’s, ordered to perform corrective training, or ordered to become range certified.

This is a serious issue—the potential to kill someone can not be downplayed.  Saying “no one was hurt” is not an excuse.  You need to deal with this in a serious manner that fits the circumstances.

The property damage to the commander’s car is an issue as well.  That will at least require an MP report which means it will show up on the blotter and probably wind up with the chain of command getting a call.  I am sure this will also result in a serious incident report as well.  This leader is going to get a lot of unwanted attention.

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posted on 03/27/2017 under Q&A
Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training..

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