Friday, June 14, 2024

ME: Gun Control Group has Negligent Discharge at Police Station

Mark on ramrod shows position to indicate an unloaded muzzleloader image courtesy Rock Island Auction (RIA)

On June 3rd, 2024, a population disarmament promoting Swedish non-governmental organization known as Humanium Metal, was destroying firearms at a Maine police department at Old Orchard Beach.  The firearms had been collected as part of a push by the disarmament group the Maine Gun Safety Coalition. In the process of destruction, one of the firearms discharged. Fortunately, only two cars were hit by the projectile. It does not appear any person was injured.

The incident was reported in, in a well researched and written article by Seamus Othot. From

One of Maine’s primary gun control advocate groups, the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, oversaw a gun-giveback program on Saturday at local police departments throughout southern Maine.

Despite the focus on gun safety, contractors working with MGSC and the Old Orchard Beach Police Department failed to practice basic gun safety when they attempted to saw a loaded blackpowder rifle, which led to the negligent discharge of the firearm.

Luckily, instead of injuring any bystanders, the musket round instead damaged two vehicles.

Humanium Metal had been tasked with the destruction of the firearms by the Maine Gun Safety Coalition. TheMaineWire reported Humanium Metal specialized in the safe disposal of firearms. Perhaps Humanium had not dealt with muzzleloading firearms before. Perhaps, as the firearms were delivered by police, they assumed the firearms had all been checked to see if they were loaded by police.

The procedure to check a muzzleloader to see if it is loaded is simple. Determine if there is priming in the pan or a cap on the nipple(s) of the muzzleloader. If so, remove the priming and/or  the cap(s). Take the ramrod or a similar rod and slide it down the barrel until it stops.  Mark that location at the muzzle.  Pull the rod out, then slide it along to barrel to see if there is a load in the chamber. Many rods are marked to indicate how far in they will go when the chamber is empty.  If the rod goes in to the mark, the firearm is unloaded. If it does not, assume the gun has gunpowder and in the chamber.

Using a chop saw to cut through a barrel could easily create enough heat to set off a charge of black powder.

This correspondent contacted the Old Orchard Beach police. A press release was sent by email. From the press release:

On June 3 rd ,2024 the Old Orchard Beach Police Department was designated as one of several gun destruction sites for several Southern Maine Police Departments who dropped off guns collected during the event. Representatives of Humanium Metal who break down guns and convert them into sellable products were on site for destruction of the firearms. The weapons were checked on site by police dropping weapons off and police representatives from other departments who organized the event.

As one of the firearms was being cut the weapon discharged expelling a round through the barrel. The round was found to have struck two unoccupied vehicles within the parking lot. Through initial investigation the involved weapon was identified as a muzzle loader style rifle. It was determined that the heat from the cutting tool ignited gun powder still left within the barrel which discharged the round.

This is an unfortunate event, and confirms the gun safety axiom of assuming every gun is loaded until you determine differently.


 ©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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