When it comes to gun use, it goes without saying that people need to be really, really careful. This is a lesson that a man and his wife learned the hard way after they were accidentally shot at an east Tennessee church on Thursday.
The members of the First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains were cleaning up around 1 p.m. that day after enjoying their luncheon, which was held to celebrate Thanksgiving. Their conversation then led to guns in churches, according to USA Today.
Tellico Plains Police Chief Russ Parks said a man in his 80s pulled out a .380 caliber Ruger handgun and said, "I carry my handgun everywhere." He removed the magazine, cleared the chamber, then showed it to the church members. He later put the magazine back in, loaded a round in the chamber, then returned the gun to its holster.
"Somebody else walked up and said, 'Can I see it?'" Parks said. "He pulled it back out and said, 'With this loaded indicator, I can tell that it's not loaded.'"
But he was mistaken. He pulled the trigger, and chaos ensued. "Evidently he just forgot that he re-chambered the weapon," Parks said.
The gun, which was lying on its side on a table, was directed at the man's wife. The bullet sliced the palm of the man's upward-facing hand before entering the left side of his wife's abdoment and exiting the right side.
The man and his wife were immediately flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Thankfully, their injuries were not life-threatening. The police said charges will not be filed, and their names have not been released yet.
One of the church's parishioners, Mistin, told BBC News that they were discussing the Texas church massacre, which took place earlier this month. "The discussion of guns in churches came up," she said. "Should we have guns in churches, if people carry guns should they bring them to church?"
That was when the man presented his gun and showed it to everyone. Mistin said everyone is just thankful that the accident wasn't more serious, because they are very concerned for the couple.
"They're just true servants of the Lord, they're such a delight," she said of the couple. "We thank God. I don't know how God's using this but we put it in His hands."