Everyone loves to say “there’s no such thing as an accidental discharge, only negligent discharges.” That negligence often relates to poor trigger discipline or failure to properly clear a weapon during disassembly. Sometimes the “negligent act” begins with the sale or purchase of a firearm, particularly with used firearms.
Cameon Eisenzimmer’s life changed on May 14, 2016 after an unintentional discharge from her holstered weapon nearly took her leg. While attending a live fire skills and drills class, Eisenzimmer was firing a recently purchased used weapon previously owned by another USPSA competitor who assured her it was in “tip-top” condition. She had fired the weapon less than 100 times and had taken it apart for a quick “once over” cleaning before class. During class she had some issues with the weapon, but nothing so severe that her instructor felt she should stop shooting.
Eisenzimmer stood in the make ready box facing her target with her hands slightly forward. At the sound of the buzzer she heard a gunshot and assumed it was from shooters in another bay. Her instructor asked “Did your weapon go off?” Eisenzimmer insisted the still holstered weapon had not fired. Several witnesses confirmed her hand never reached her weapon, which made the gaping hole in her leg all the more concerning.
The bullet entered her leg just below her knee and exited at her ankle. Fortunately someone applied a tourniquet to stop the severe bleeding and an ambulance arrived a few minutes later. As she awaited medical attention Eizenzimmer became angry and wanted to know what happened. Eye witness accounts along with shooting time recorded by the instructor indicate that she was not directly responsible for the discharge, meaning her finger wasn’t on the bang switch.
Her weapon was later completely disassembled and the like source was determined to be a heavily modified sear. The normally rounded piece of metal had been shaved down so severely by an “amateur gunsmith” it was nearly vertical. This prevented the internal safety from operating correctly allowing the trigger bar to easily slide past the sear.
Complications with compartmental syndrome nearly cost Eisenzimmer her leg, and she will never have full function again without the aid of a brace. Now she hopes her injury will serve as a lesson for everyone. In her video she says “unless you have been trained, taken classes, or are considered a professional firearms expert you should not be doing your own modifications.”
It can be argued that both the buyer and seller were responsible for this accident. The seller failed to properly inform the buyer about the internal modifications, and the buyer negligently trusted the seller. Eisenzimmer admits she had barely fired 100 round through the weapon before her injury. She may not have had the training or experience to disassemble and identify the internal modifications of her weapon, but she could have taken the used weapon to a gunsmith or purchased a new firearm. Let her permanent disfigurement be a lesson to both amateur gunsmiths and buyers of used weapons.