Reckless Gun Usage

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"They arrested me last time because they thought I was a dangerous person. On account of... all the missiles I launched..."

There are some basic rules for safely using guns. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what they are since many people are not used to firearms. This can result in things that are deadly serious or hilarious depending on the work in question.

When somebody unfamiliar with firearms does something reckless with guns that endanger others, what's occurred is Reckless Gun Usage. Whether it's some schmuck in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse or a bank robber, screwing up is still dangerous. Now if they should have known gun safety, that's more like they failed their gun safety course.

When somebody who should know proper gun safety, such as soldiers or police, use guns recklessly, that's Artistic License Gun Safety. If somebody gets shot because guns are used recklessly and it's played seriously, that's I Just Shot Marvin in the Face. If safety is ignored or somebody gets shot for laughs, that's Juggling Loaded Guns. If a gun goes off randomly despite observance of Gun Safety, that's Shur Fine Guns. See also Remonstrating with a Gun. Compare Wiper Start for when someone unfamiliar with a vehicle is put in control of one.

Examples of Reckless Gun Usage include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In this bizarre advertisement for Amber Alert, four stereotypical soccer moms are firing rifles and machine guns at the camera in super-slow-motion. It features them re-cocking their guns when they're already ready to fire, shooting from the hip, and firing with their eyes closed. But even these acts pale in comparison to one woman going Guns Akimbo with AK-47s firing into the air - and hitting herself in the head multiple times with shell casings.
    • And a woman hip-firing a belt-fed light machine gun. Which is somehow semi-automatic.
      • Many MANY belt fed weapons have semi automatic modes, making them similar in use to a battle rifle with a massive ammunition supply. How long does 200 rounds last on semi auto? Much more effective at long term suppression than blitzing the whole belt in one go.


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Baccano!!, when the celebratory gun shot the head of the Martillo family fires is immediately met with "Oh my God, somebody just killed Isaac!" from the floor above (luckily, Isaac's Plucky Comic Relief status means it actually only went through the brim of his hat without touching him).
  • So Ra No Wo To, When sent to investigate another part of the base for a ghost (It Makes Sense in Context, sorta), Kanata and Kureha showed bad gun safety. They were fingering the triggers of their rifles while arming up, although we don't know whether the rifles were loaded when they did that (still bad, though) and at least they weren't pointing them at each other. However, unlike the soldiers of episode 12, they're young and likely have very little (read: non-existent) training with the stuff. Though they've presumably been through Basic...
  • Highschool of the Dead, This occurs somewhat often due to the main characters being perfectly normal high school students in a country with heavy gun control during a Zombie Apocalypse, however, since there's a resident gun Otaku, their errors are quickly pointed out and Gun Safety is properly followed.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Kamina's short stint of Juggling Loaded Guns was due to never seeing a gun before. In spite of claiming otherwise, he didn't know what a gun was and thought you used it as a hammer.
  • Haou Airen, Kurumi waves around a loaded pistol when Hakuron is teaching her to shoot. Hakuron yells at her to be careful and takes the gun away. Hakuron himself demonstrates unsafe gun usage later, when he repeatedly uses loaded guns to threaten people he does not intend to kill.
  • Inuyasha, In the Band of Seven Arc, Jakotsu is confronted by soldiers who introduce the rifle to the series. After dispatching them with ease, he studies the rifle by looking down the barrel. Of course prior to that, he took a shot to the shoulder with little reaction. A shot to the face might not have phased him much either. Also the guns require a lit fuse and must be loaded manually after each shot.


Fanworks[edit | hide]

  • Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past: Arthur Weasley has a gun in his office in the Ministry of Magic, which he shows to Harry and starts to pull the trigger with the muzzle close to his head, but the gun doesn't shoot because Arthur didn't go all the way. Harry nearly has a heart attack when this happens. He proceeds to steal the gun so that Arthur doesn't do this again. (And the gun is charmed to conjure bullets as it goes, so it might be useful in the future!)


Film[edit | hide]

  • Pulp Fiction, Subverted HARD. After driving away from the apartment where the briefcase was being held, Vincent turns around to ask Marvin (their contact) about their Miracle. With a gun in his hand. In a moving car. With the barrel pointed at the guy. Suddenly, the car goes over a speed bump, Vincent's trigger finger slips, and BANG!. No more Marvin. This is also the Trope Namer for I Just Shot Marvin in the Face.
  • Planet Terror, half of the Grindhouse double-feature, Dr. Dakota Block gives a gun to her child, when she leaves him alone in a car. He shoots himself within a few seconds of her leaving the car.
  • The Dark Knight: The Joker ignores all gun-handling rules, but being the Joker, he probably doesn't care at all if he unintentionally shoots someone. Or himself, for that matter. Hell, he'd probably think it was hilarious. In fact, there is a scene where he stumbles and unintentionally sprays a burst of S&W M76 fire in a random direction.
    • Harvey Dent is flipping a two-headed coin so he won't purposely shoot someone he was interrogating, but he was still pressing a loaded gun to that man's head.
  • House, (no relation), William Katt's character pretends that his shotgun went off while he was cleaning it, in order to explain the sound of gunshots. He actually used it to shoot a demonic witch-thing, but he's afraid it may have actually been his ex-wife.
  • |The Host, Nam-il keeps pointing the barrel of his shotgun at objects (and people). In one scene, he pointed and thrust the shotgun at Gang-du's head while the latter was asleep.
  • Frozen River, the main character is far from a gun expert, but is in fact a gun owner and somewhat intelligent person. Therefore it's quite horrifying to see one scene where she's driving a car while holding someone at gunpoint in the passenger seat. Just to be clear, she has a loaded gun in her hand, with her finger on the trigger, and is steering with that hand. The gun keeps swinging wildly in the passenger's direction. It becomes hard to pay attention to the film when you're constantly waiting for someone to unintentionally blow someone else's brains out.
  • Star Wars: Watch very closely as Luke Skywalker first ignites his lightsaber in A New Hope — he doesn't know how long the beam is and yet is pointing it at Obi-Wan. Of course, this is also Obi-Wan's fault for giving Luke a weapon he is totally unfamiliar with and letting him play with it.
    • However, Obi-Wan does know exactly how long the blade is, and stands far enough away to keep from being hit when it does get triggered. Still his fault since Luke could have easily injured himself. Though as a prescient and a telekinetic, he probably could have foreseen Luke getting into any trouble with it and intervened if necessary.
  • In Bruges: Averted. Ken is very careful with his guns. Harry locks his guns away when he's at home so his kids can't get at them. Ray is a bit more careless, but as he's young, reckless and a bit suicidal, this is in character for him (and he never points a gun at anyone he doesn't want to kill, though his occasional poor aim/neglect of overpenetration when he does want to kill someone tends to get him in trouble.) At one point a man tries to rob Ray with a gun loaded with blanks — Ray wrestles the gun off him and fires it directly into the man's eye. The blanks leave him permanently blind in that eye.
  • Commando: After Matrix gets locked up in a police van, Rae Dawn Chong tries to free him with a quad-barrelled missile launcher. Unfortunately, she points the wrong end at the target and blows up the shops behind her. Although given that the launcher, the M-202 "Flash", fires rockets tipped with a compound similar to white phosphorus (and would have incinerated the van), someone was getting screwed no matter where it was pointing.
  • Yes Man, the hero goes skeet shooting with his girlfriend. She asks what to do, and unintentionally shoots the ground. After the instructor shows her where to point, she hits the clay pigeon. In her excitement, she turns around still holding the gun and everyone in the shooting range ducks for cover.
  • Eight Mile, the movie: Eminem's friend shoots himself (in a very sensitive part) in the act of putting a gun in his waistband - with surprising little reaction.
  • Star Trek: First Contact has a meta-example, Watch closely when Lily Sloane returns the phaser to Picard: the tip flashes red shortly, as a sign for the VFX people to add a phaser beam. Luckily, they didn't. This makes Picard's assertion that she could have vaporized him if she hit the trigger that much more amusing.
  • Go, had a scene where a one character plays with a loaded handgun in a moving car while his increasingly-concerned friend attempts to get it back from him before it goes off. It doesn't.
  • Harry Brown, The street scum villains handle their weapons in ridiculously unsafe manners. Lampshaded when, at a crucial moment, one bad guy's weapon jams due to his poor treatment and maintenance of it, allowing Harry to kill him.
  • The Blues Brothers: while the band shops and haggles for instruments from Mr. Ray Charles, a kid attempts to surreptitiously steal an item. Without warning, Ray lifts up a pistol, and fires it between Jake's and Elwood's heads, scaring off the would-be thief. Imagine the Prop people handing a blind man a pistol with blanks, and telling him to fire it in the direction of two actors, a cameraman and assorted production staff.
  • Dawn of the Dead: Peter gives Steve a lesson in why it's not a good idea to point loaded guns at people, especially when you can't shoot straight.
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space, an actor deliberately did this because he wanted to see if director Ed Wood would stop filming when a character was being so blatantly unsafe with a firearm. Actions included keeping his finger on the trigger at all times, casually pointing at people with it and even scratching his head with the barrel. True to his nickname, One Take Eddie never stopped to correct him.
  • NARC: the cops are called to the scene of an apparent bathtub suicide. They eventually figure out that the guy in the bath had actually been using his shotgun as a makeshift hash pipe, but had forgotten to make sure there wasn't a round chambered beforehand...
  • In the film Snatch, some Reckless Gun Usage (firing off a series of rapid shots at a dog while not even looking in the same direction) results in one character unintentionally killing the infamously unkillable (though not to the level of Boris) Bullet Tooth Tony.
  • Just about everyone in 1941:
    • Ward Douglas fires an anti-aircraft gun at a Japanese submarine by firing the gun through his house.
    • Wild Bill shoots at an American plane (mistakenly thinking it's a Japanese plane) while it flies at low altitude over Hollywood Boulivard, which is crowded with people.
    • When there's an air raid warning, a tank crew starts shooting at the lighted signs on the street, not caring where the bullets go. A safer and more effective approach might have been to turn off the lights instead of shooting at them.
  • A mild case in Gran Torino when Thao picks up Walt's (empty) rifle, Walt looks him in the eye as he takes hold of the barrel and points it somewhere that isn't his face.
  • Thirty Minutes or Less has the bank robbery scene, where one woman slides a gun across the floor after not wanting to hold it. The gun then hits the bank counter, shooting a guy through the leg. The victim is understandably pissed at her.
  • In the second Hellboy movie, Hellboy fires his Hand Canon at two tiny little creatures that were flying from him towards a crowd of spectators. Given the size of the gun (big), the size of the creatures (small), and the fact that they were in a direct line to the spectators, you'd expect some collateral damage.
    • On the other hand, if he doesn't shoot them they'll just fly into the crowd and start killing dozens of people anyway. So this is a rare Justified example of the trope.
  • A minor example from Escape From L.A.: the lead in to the basketball scene shows a group of gunmen surrounding the court and shooting the poor sap inside full of holes. The gunmen on opposites sides of the court are obviously firing toward each other during the execution.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Schroedingers Ball, begins with the main character having just shot himself in the face, fatally, while cleaning his grandmother's gun. However, he's hardly an expert. In fact, the book goes so far to as to point out his inexperience in handing firearms in the "Dramatis Personae" section at the very beginning.
  • Year Of The Dragon, later made into an Oliver Stone movie, one of the Triad gang members unintentionally shoots off his toes with his own machine gun (in the movie, the cop shoots him in the foot).
  • The Fire Duke averted, One of the locals is watching over a portal to another world when someone arrives to relieve him. He carefully removes the magazine, unchambers the loaded round then loads it back into magazine before handing over his firearm.
  • Patriot Games, in the heat of the final chase after the terrorists who attacked him, and his family, Jack Ryan sticks a gun into his belt, without engaging the safety, which causes a bit of a tense moment later on when one of the marines with him notices.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • My Name Is Earl, Chubby had a squirt gun full of vodka he used to top off patrons' drinks at his strip club and an identical looking real gun. He didn't learn from his mistake when he shot a drink with the wrong gun on screen. You can all guess how he died off screen.
  • Monk, after fighting a suspect for a gun, Natalie turns around, gun in hand. She tells Monk, who had already been shot in the leg earlier in the episode and was trying climb down some stairs to assist Natalie, that she was okay...and unintentionally shot Monk in his uninjured leg.
  • CSI, Nick Stokes investigates how a woman got shot with no evidence of a shooter anywhere near. The answer is that there was an idiot who had a gun and made a shooting range in the backyard, in the suburbs within city limits, a big-time city ordinance no-no, and a stray bullet went into the air and struck the woman on the decline. When they arrest him, he protests it was an accident and Stokes contemptuously responds "Well, that's why it's illegal to shoot guns within city limits, genius!"
  • X-Play, Adam Sessler went to a SWAT training session, and got chewed out for having his finger on the trigger.
  • The District, a woman gets shot with no one nearby. Turns out some punk got a hold of a World War II gun and test-fired it by shooting down the apparently-empty street.
  • A shooting lesson in Torchwood showed Gwen playfully pointing a loaded gun at Jack's face. Admittedly, Gwen knows he can get back up again, but as an ex-soldier he should have reacted more than "Target's that way!", if only to save her next target.
  • Doctor Who, Made for TV Movie: The Doctor shows he's an Actual Pacifist by threatening to shoot himself in order to commandeer a policeman's motorcycle. However, when Grace wants a word with him, he starts pointing the gun vaguely in the direction of the policeman while looking the other way. It's not even clear if he's actually aiming at the cop or if it's simply slipped his mind that the object he's holding is a gun.
    • In The End Of Time, the Doctor does a Dramatic Gun Cock every time he changes his aim. Does he think he needs to hold the gun very, very still to prevent it uncocking itself, or does he believe that the gun knows when he changes his mind? It shouldn't even be possible to do that.
    • Subverted in the episode "Daleks in Manhattan". A ditzy-seeming actress is almost exaggeratedly bad at safe handling of a gun she has been threatening with, ultimately throwing it onto a chair. It's a prop.
    • On the other hand, played very straight in the episode "Dalek". The security guards ambush the Dalek twice. Both times, the setup has guards on opposite sides of the Dalek firing at it—and thus at each other, with automatic weapons no less. They probably took more casualties from friendly fire than they did from the Dalek.
  • Stargate SG-1, avoids the trope almost a little too much when a museum worker is ordered by a guard to hold Cam and Vala at gunpoint and while he certainly points the gun at them, his finger is not even close to the trigger. To be fair, he was on SG-1's side and as such, had no intention of killing them.
  • Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge, Alan Partridge once unintentionally shot an obnoxious food critic in the heart with an antique dueling pistol on live television. It is this (coupled with his later punching of a BBC programming executive in the face with a turkey) that ended his TV career.
  • The Adventures of Brisco County Jr, While Brisco is tussling with a bad guy. The Girl of the Week wants to help, and grabs a nearby pistol by the barrel and is about to hit the bad guy before Brisco stops her. He beats up the bad guy himself, then demonstrates that fact that if the woman had struck someone with the butt of the loaded, flintlock pistol, it would've gone off. Directly into HER.
  • Cheers, A jealous man comes into the bar threatening Frasier with a revolver. After the man is talked out of the shooting and the gun is taken from him, Sam puts it in his back pocket for storage. Afterward, he goes to sit down, and shoots himself in the butt.
  • The Wire:
    • Kima is assigned to investigate the murder of a State's witness in an alley. There's quite a bit of backroom scheming because it's a mayoral election year, so she is under pressure from one side to solve the case quickly and from the other to bury it. It turns out, a pair of drunken knuckleheads two blocks away were shooting at beer bottles and hit the guy unintentionally.

Det Norris: So these idiots are shooting forties two blocks down, and now this Carcetti fuck gets to be mayor? What a town.

    • Pryzbylewski is assigned to a unit because he's a foul-up who can't be fired because of his family connections. He has several instances of reckless gun usage, including shooting up his own car with two magazines full of ammo, shooting a hole in the wall of his office while showing a fellow officer how light his trigger is, and pistol-whipping a 14-year-old boy in the face, causing him permanent blindness in one eye.
    • The police aren't the only ones who don't know how to handle a weapon. In a Season 3 episode, Avon Barksdale handles a pistol with his finger on the trigger the entire time, waving it around and pointing it at his colleagues the entire time.
    • During an investigation (the famous Cluster F-Bomb scene), McNulty points his own service weapon at himself repeatedly to figure out a bullet trajectory.
    • There are also several instances of gang fights with reckless gun usage, such as trying to do a drive by, or not even looking at the people they're trying to shoot. In one instance, it leads to a stray shot killing a young child who happened to be in a building near by, and, in another, Dante accidentally shoots a member of his own stickup crew, and probably never even realises he did so.
  • Battlestar Galactica, In "Valley of Darkness", Dualla tells Billy (a civilian) that sticking a pistol in his pants with the safety off is a bad idea. Later Billy has an unintentional discharge when taking the safety off, giving away their position to the Cylons.
  • Entourage, After a break-in, when the guys decide to arm themselves. Drama comes home with a bag full of loaded guns, and Turtle starts playing with one, at which point Drama grabs it from him and says "Careful, Turtle, that's a loaded weapon!" At which point the gun goes off and blows out a window, prompting the guys to maaaaaaaybe think about getting some professional security.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series, involving Time Travel and the not-gun-shaped Phaser. In "Tomorrow Is Yesterday", Kirk is captured by Air Police in 1969, and cringes with priceless facial expressions as they fiddle with his weapon, toss it, and several times almost press the trigger, conflicted between justifiable fear and the need not to give away future information.
  • Top Gear, the hosts travel to the North Pole, and are given a variety of firearms in case they need to defend themselves from polar bears. At one point, though, James May earnestly looks down the barrel of his shotgun, and is yelled at by their guide, who grabs the weapon out of his hands.
    • In a Series 14 outtake, May defended himself, claiming it was the only way to see whether the barrel is unblocked.
      • Important Safety Tip, you never do that. Open the action and check from the breech end; light coming through the barrel without shadows shows an unblocked barrel. This lets you also remove any shell from the chamber, in case the gun is loaded - and it is.
    • The lecture May got off screen seems to have actually taken hold. In future episodes May exhibits proper safety handling even when using obvious props.
  • Touched By an Angel, someone breaking just about all the rules—carelessly waving a loaded WW 2-era pistol around, pointing it straight at a friend, and then removing the magazine without clearing the chamber. After all that, how unlucky is it for said gun to get knocked off a desk, unintentionally fire, and shoot someone right in the heart?
  • Perry Mason, If there was a gun involved in the murder-of-the-week, odds are good that Perry Mason will recklessly wave that gun around. One episode was particularly egregious: The district attorney, Hamilton Berger, fondles the murder weapon (a revolver marked as exhibit whatever) during the trial and rests it casually on the witness box, his finger on the trigger, the barrel aimed directly at the weapons expert's head. After a few questions, he turns it toward the jury, gesturing dramatically. Then, Mason does exactly the same thing when cross-examining.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210, a Very Special Episode of the original uses this to kill off one of the regulars, in front of Bryan Austin Green.
  • Tales from the Crypt, episode "Judy, You're Not Yourself Today", the husband points his rifle at a random solicitor, and then pulls the trigger while pointing it at his wife to prove the gun was unloaded. In the end he ends up trying to physically subdue his wife's body snatcher (a old witch traded bodies with her) while holding the gun, and ends up shooting his wife.
  • 1000 Ways to Die, there are two guys who have been friends since they were in elementary, they do everything together and are generally chummy towards each other and even decide to live together as room mates in college. Unfortunately in adulthood one of the two friends gained an addiction to cigarettes and constantly bothers the other for money so he can buy more, or if he has some spares to share them with him. Becoming tired of having to supply cigarettes for his friend the annoyed friend loads some cigarettes into his shotgun and fires them directly into his room mates face, and says, "Hey buddy want some cigarettes?", who being drunk at the time didn't seem afraid of having a shotgun pointed at him and nods his head in approval at the idea of cigarettes. The cigarettes fly out of the shotgun at super sonic speed and penetrate the guy's skull. He simply wanted to hurt his friend, he didn't think cigarettes would penetrate flesh like bullets do. This just goes to show you that you never point a gun at something or someone you are not intending to kill or destroy, and that anything flying out of a gun is going to be potentially lethal.
    • Another episode featured a magician attempting a bullet-catching trick; when tapping the barrel of the gun with his wand, part of the wand's tip fell off and into the barrel, which was then propelled by the blank cartridge with lethal force through a major artery in his neck.
  • Class Act, two robbers are planning a heist. One gets a little excited and fires two shots, prompting his partner to find an excuse to take the gun away. When Gloria manages to disarm the same robber and threatens his partner with a shotgun up close, said partner is unimpressed because he knows he didn't give a loaded gun to a complete nutter. Zigzagged since although he did take proper precautions, he is still betting his life that a gun he last saw in the hands of a complete nutter is still unloaded.
  • Highway to Heaven episode The Torch: includes a group of Neo Nazis. Among them is Rolf (played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Zach on Saved by the Bell). While handling an Uzi in the Neo Nazi lair, Rolf fires the weapon, hitting his father and another Neo Nazi, killing his father.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?. The game 'Film Dub' has black and white movie footage involving a pontificating police officer pointing his gun everywhere, including himself. The improvisational dubbed dialogue indicates the cop has shot everything in sight.
  • Married... with Children: There's a prowler in the neighborhood. Al decides to get a gun, the Rhodes' get an attack dog that chews through the fence. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the Sons of Anarchy season 2 finale, the Sons ambush the Mayans who are escorting Zobelle out of town. They pull up behind his car in formation on their motorcycles, then a moving van pulls out in front and shoots out the back at the Mayans - with the Sons still behind them.
  • On The Office (US) after Dwight becomes acting manager he finds out that the company CEO is an avid gun collector so he decides to get his own antique revolver and keeps it in a case on his desk. When he later gets a holster as a gift, he decides to show off by walking around the office with while wearing the holster with the gun in it. When people complain about this he gets irritated and tries to do twirl the gun. The gun discharges and he almost shoots Andy in the head. Andy's ear drum is ruptured and he goes temporarily deaf in one ear. When the company CEO finds out about this she is livid at him being so reckless. There is also the fact that he kept a old gun on his desk as a collectible without removing the bullets.
    • In "Survivorman," Dwight is shown observing Michael through the scope of his rifle. When he sees the camera crew watching him, he says not to worry the safety is (*looks* - *click*) on.
  • Republic of Doyle had a scene where Jake and Malachy are talking to an aging gangster. The gangster has a loaded revolver which he slams on the table and then regularly hits the table with his fist so the revolver bounces up and down. Jake and Malachy keep trying to move the gun so it is not pointed at them.
  • In the episode "The Great Game" from the BBC series Sherlock, during the confrontation with Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes uses a loaded gun without the safety on to scratch his forehead with his finger on the trigger.
    • In his (albeit weak) defense, he'd just removed a coat strapped with explosives off of John Watson after the pair were threatened with being blowing up and/or being shoot by multiply snipers if Sherlock didn't back off. Even Sherlock was a bit freaked out once the danger had passed... until of course Moriarty returned because he can't make his mind about when to kill the heroes.
      • He has absolutely no excuse in the next season's finale, when he presses a loaded gun to his best friend's head (It Makes Sense in Context) with his finger on the trigger, and later just drops it on the cobblestone street while running away.
  • Pretty much any time Frank Burns gets hold of a firearm in MASH. He's managed to shoot himself in the foot, and to shoot BJ.
  • In the first episode of Wild Boys, Jack wakes up to find Mary's young son Tom pointing Jack's own gun at his head. Jack is understandably angry.
  • This caused the death of one of MacGyver's childhood friends, as shown during a flashback in "Blood Brothers".
  • Played straight in The Walking Dead. Most of the main cast have some form of experience regarding safe gun usage (Rick and Shane are cops, Daryl is a hunter, Dale is the designated rifleman) but those like Andrea, Carol and the others have only had limited exposure to guns and wouldn't be familiar with the basic safety rules.
    • In "Nebraska," Dave goes behind the bar in a barely-concealed attempt to set-up Rick. But he does so by putting Rick right between Tony and himself, so if he had actually succeeded in getting off a shot, he'd have hit his friend too.


Music[edit | hide]

  • The Hunting Song by Tom Lehrer, about incidents usual for an opening of the hunting season. With a "recipe":

People ask me how I do it
And I say, "There's nothing to it!
I just stand there looking cute...
And when something moves, I shoot!"

  • Sting's "I Hung My Head" from Mercury Falling starts with a young man violating rules #1 and #2, resulting in the death of an innocent horeseman and his hanging for manslaughter.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Der Freischütz, and the rock opera version, The Black Rider (which was written by Robert Wilson, Tom Waits and William S. Burroughs), combine this trope with literal Diabolus Ex Machina, and the heroine gets shot on her wedding day. In Carl Maria von Weber's original version, the bullet gets deflected by the blessed white roses in her bridal wreath, though, and she's okay (the villain buys it, instead).
  • Assassins: Sarah Jane Moore is written to be played with no regard for the proper operation or storage of her .38 revolver. She unintentionally discharges it no less than five times during the course of the show, once while it's still in her hand bag, narrowly missing Squeaky Fromme, once into the air when she's supposed to be clicking the hammer of an unloaded weapon in "The Gun Song," once when startled with her finger prematurely on the trigger, damaging Charles Guiteau's hearing in the process, and twice during two separate scene change blackouts, with the lights coming up on her scene the second time to reveal she's just unintentionally shot her own dog.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Second Sight, Justified on the cover of as the protagonist is mentally unstable, possibly even suicidal.
  • Half-Life, the player can twirl a loaded revolver at vital characters (it's part of an idle animation, and all conversations are in-game so you'll see it a lot) which almost guarantees a friendly fire incident or six. The sequel makes Gordon lower his weapon automatically when pointing the crosshairs at a friendly NPC so it no longer applies.
  • Resident Evil, early games had this in droves, though the most recent examples (Degeneration and Resident Evil 5) have an almost obsessive focus on gun safety in the cutscenes. In-game, however, the characters do run with their guns down and safe, until you hold the button which readies them.
  • Eternal Darkness, During Maxamillion's chapter, after he picks up two flintlock pistols, an insanity effect involves dropping one of them while reloading, killing him.
  • Fallout 2, features a cruel variant: One of the ways to assassinate Orville Wright is to give one of his kids a loaded gun and tell them "Why don't you wave this in your daddy's face and pull the trigger?"
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, In one of the radio segments, Jack Howitzer threatens to kill host Billy Dexter unless he touches Jack's genitals (It Makes Sense in Context... sorta) and then says he was just fooling around and that his gun was unloaded, only for it to go off and kill Dexter.
  • In the Security opening cutscene for the Aquarium level of Brink, one of the Security Officers smacks his friend's gun away, because he was waving it around while he was talking.

Webcomics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Girlchan in Paradise, "It's out of bullets, anyway!" "Then that means... I... can do this!" (BANG)
  • The Onion, this article , an 8-year-old boy who unintentionally shot himself in the thigh wins praise from Strawman Politicals for having exercised his constitutional rights.
  • In the second tale of Merry in the Whateley Universe a passel of Federal agents look on in amusement as Merry, completely untrained, points her weapon directly at another police officer, finger on the trigger, and discusses shooting him.
  • The Vale police investigating the Dust shop robbery in S1E15 of RWBY are spectacularly careless with their ultratech-looking guns, gesturing broadly with them instead of leaving them safely holstered while they look for clues.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Gargoyles, Elisa is at one point seriously injured when Broadway shoots her while playing with her gun. To be fair, Broadway is a 1,000-year-old gargoyle who had never handled a gun before... but Elisa, a NYPD detective, had left her sidearm, holster and gun belt unattended in another room from where she was (she admits later that she should have known better). This is a case of Reckless Gun Usage for the 1,000 year old gargoyle that has no concept of firearms, and a case of basic breach of common sense for the New York cop who kept a loaded gun holstered and unsecured in her apartment in plain sight and should have known better. Notably, she's much more careful for the rest of the series, and Broadway gains guns as a new Berserk Button.
  • In The Simpsons episode "The Cartridge Family", Homer buys a gun after riots erupt in Springfield. He proceeds to be very reckless with it, using it to open beers and change the channel (among other things). When the members of the local NRA see him doing this, they chew him out for being so irresponsible and kick him out. Earlier in the episode he hides the gun in the crisper drawer after Marge tells him to get rid of it; Bart finds it by accident, and Marge catches him and Milhouse about to play William Tell with it.
    • Also in "$pringfield": frenzied over Lisa's nightmare, Homer believes that the boogeyman is really out there and he brandishes a shotgun which he points at Marge's face when she comes home, upon realizing that she's not the boogeyman he tosses the gun onto the ground, negligently causing it to discharge. Thankfully, no one was hit.
    • Then there's The Simpsons Movie where Chief Wiggum eats donuts off the barrel of his handgun, which goes off while he does so, but somehow he is not shot. Immediately after stating his relief over this close call, he continues to eat the donuts in the same way.
    • Wiggum is shown in another episode getting chewed out by a Drill Sergeant Nasty for looking down the barrel of his own gun (after firing it very timidly), or what he calls, "Pointsy-Towardsies." Wiggum then uses said gun to massage the back of the drill sergeant, whereupon he negligently shot the cameraman. In a later scene it is shown Wiggum got his position because he gave the mayor the same type of massage.
  • Batman: The Animated Series, episode "The Underdwellers": While being chased by Alfred, a young hooligan in the Wayne mansion discovers a collection of antique firearms. He grabs a blunderbuss off the wall and proceeds to wave it around like a toy. Alfred immediately backs off, but Batman jumps in and grabs the gun out of the boy's hands. Batman notes, "It's not loaded, but it could have been."
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Wheeler had been showing off his gun-twirling skills with a loaded revolver. The gun went off but since it's a cartoon, it hit the sign, making it fall and hit Ma-Ti on the head.
  • In Top Cat, in trying to help Choo-Choo woo a lady cat, TC ends up drawing pistols at high noon with the lady's actual boyfriend. Of course, he rigs the duel beforehand and has Benny replace everyone's bullets with blanks, and then he feigns a fatal injury so his "Heroic Sacrifice" would get him back into everyone's good graces. Turns out, though, that Benny didn't have time to switch out the bullets, at which point TC stares at the bullethole going through the middle of his hat and faints dead away.