Handgun Stops Kessler Hearing

Here’s something entirely unsurprising. An appeal hearing on the firing of extremist Gilberton, PA police chief Mark Kessler was brought to a screeching halt when one of Kessler’s supporters had his handgun drop out of its holster and on to the floor.

A hearing for a Pennsylvania police chief who made profanity-laced Internet videos about liberals and the Second Amendment was halted suddenly Thursday night after a handgun belonging to one of his supporters slid out of its holster and crashed onto the concrete floor.

The loaded semi-automatic handgun landed inches away from Gilberton Chief Mark Kessler and his attorney. It did not go off, but attorney Joseph Nahas said that he and other officials were concerned about the safety of everyone in the tiny, crowded meeting room at borough hall.

Nahas said the hearing will be continued at a nearby courthouse, where weapons are prohibited.

“To have what happened in this particular room made of concrete and steel, I think, could be fatal for many, many people,” he told the audience.

What the hell were they thinking letting one of Kessler’s supporters into that room with a gun in the first place? No one with a gun other than a police officer should be anywhere near that place.

51 comments on this post.
  1. Reginald Selkirk:

    That needs to be made into an “I am the NRA” commercial.

  2. kantalope:

    Yes Yes please tell me it is posted to YouTube

  3. Chiroptera:

    How the hell does a gun fall out of a holster? Aren’t they designed with restraints to keep that from happening? Or would such a thing slow down the necessary “quick draw”?

  4. Bronze Dog:

    How the hell does a gun fall out of a holster? Aren’t they designed with restraints to keep that from happening? Or would such a thing slow down the necessary “quick draw”?

    Clearly they removed the restraint so they could stoically and unerringly shoot The Bad Guys with their amazing marksmanship and instantaneous discernment the exact moment they show up instead of having to stop and think about what they’re doing while they fumble around with the holster.

  5. exdrone:

    This is as on-the-nose as a liquor bottle clattering on the floor of an AA meeting.

  6. chilidog99:

    The guy that dropped the gun is one of Kessler’s minions named Zimmerman.

    I like the fact that Kessler’s own “2nd amendment lawyer” is the one who freaked out.

  7. billdaniels:

    Ed: “What the hell were they thinking letting one of Kessler’s supporters into that room with a gun in the first place? ”
    Are you actually accusing these people of thinking?

  8. Who Knows?:

    What were they thinking? Do you really have to ask?

    This.

  9. Area Man:

    It’s too bad other people weren’t armed. They could have shot the dude before he endangered everyone’s lives.

  10. rationalinks:

    I’m sure that Patriot whose gun slipped from the holster had it that way for quick access in case some Liberal came in, gunz-a-blazin’. Of course by “gunz-a-blazin’” I mean, “dare to exist”.

  11. Dr X:

    Perhaps he likes to hold his gun when he feels anxious. Are they sure the guy didn’t drop it after deliberately slipping it out of the holster?

  12. SN G:

    Considering how modern holsters are made, chances are the guy had failed to engage the retention system (either intentionally or accidentally) and the gun worked it’s way free.

    As for the danger of people nearby, unless his handgun was very old or very defective, the danger of a dropped firearm going off is very low. Manufacturers (I believe) drop test every gun from a height of ten feet. The engineering ideal is that a gun can not discharge unless the trigger is pulled, so the firing pin is secured in such a way that a short drop can not release the firing mechanism.

    Whenever you hear of a dropped gun going off, if you investigate further, you’ll usually find that someone tried to catch the dropped gun and caught the trigger instead.

  13. Taz:

    Two things I noticed in the story:

    Nahas, the attorney who says he doesn’t feel safe, is Kessler’s attorney.

    Nahas has said borough council trumped up unrelated charges against Kessler, the only member of the town’s police force, to conceal its intent to fire him over the videos.

    So Kessler, who is continuously referred to as “police chief”, is the sole member of the town’s police farce, I mean force?

  14. caseloweraz:

    Was this the same guy that left his 9mm handgun in the capital bathroom in some southern state?

  15. Moggie:

    SN G:

    As for the danger of people nearby, unless his handgun was very old or very defective, the danger of a dropped firearm going off is very low. Manufacturers (I believe) drop test every gun from a height of ten feet. The engineering ideal is that a gun can not discharge unless the trigger is pulled, so the firing pin is secured in such a way that a short drop can not release the firing mechanism.

    However, I believe (someone correct me if I’m wrong) only three states actually require drop safety. In PA, this idiot could legally have some cherished antique which would be unsafe when dropped. Wouldn’t want to infringe anyone’s right to accidentally kill people through clumsiness, would we?

  16. John Pieret:

    Morons and guns. Not exactly a match made in heaven.

  17. Modusoperandi:

    It’s a clear case of Stand Your Ground. The gun jumped out, planning on shooting when it hit the ground. The floor stunned it or it would have, in self defense, shot its owner.

  18. John Pieret:

    More good news! Kessler is starting a militia.

    http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/10/mark_kessler_gilberton_militia.html

    That should make the people of Pennsylvania feel safe.

    Amusing quote:

    “We’re still working on the bylaws,” Kessler said. “You’ve got to weed out the bad eggs, just like the military does.”

    I know just where he should start.

  19. DaveL:

    SNG @ 12:

    The problem is not so much when the gun hits the floor. The problem is that when people drop something their instinct is to try to catch it, even if consciously they know better.

  20. Area Man:

    Whenever you hear of a dropped gun going off, if you investigate further, you’ll usually find that someone tried to catch the dropped gun and caught the trigger instead.

    There are so many dropped gun discharges in the news that I’m pretty sure most were actually discharged by a person. If I accidentally shot someone, I’d probably try to blame it on the ground too.

  21. SN G:

    Moggie @ 15 – You mean drop testing as a requirement for what guns can be legally carried in public?

    DaveL @ 19 – True, something you kind of have to drill out of yourself. At least in this case it doesn’t appear that the guy even realized his gun was creeping out of it’s holster, so he didn’t try to catch it.

    Area Man @ 20 – I always shake my head when I hear a police officer use this excuse after he shot someone accidentally during a raid. “I didn’t mean to kill the 89 year old, nearly bed ridden man, I dropped my gun & it went off.”

  22. dean:

    He is starting a militia and still said

    “You’ve got to weed out the bad eggs

    That seems to be setting an awfully low standard to pass for acceptance into his little gang. What would possibly disqualify someone?

  23. anubisprime:

    Just two simple questions how did such a cretin become police chief and why is it the morons get to play with guns?

  24. Taz:

    anubisprime – See my previous comment. He’s the chief of a police force of which he’s the SOLE member.

  25. Michael Heath:

    One of the best arguments for gun control is the behavior of gun rights advocates when we observe them handling their guns. Sarah Palin comes to mind.

  26. SN G:

    Michael Heath @ 25

    Of course, when Gun Rights Advocates handle their firearms properly & responsibly (as millions do every day), it never makes the news. So you’ll damn them all because a few are stupid?

  27. Michael Heath:

    SN G,

    I don’t think of defects in terms of percentages when it comes to guns. Instead my paradigm is a zero defect rate standard, precisely because people’s physical wellbeing and lives are at stake. It’s a far more rigorous standard where I have no qualms holding.

  28. democommie:

    I don’t have any problem with many people having gunz. What I have a problem with that many people having gunz have no problem with complete fucking fools and vigilante wannabes having gunz.

    “as millions do every day),”

    You have a citation for that, no doubt.

  29. Ichthyic:

    laughable. They might as well have put Yosemite Sam on trial evidently.

    I don’t have any problem with many people having gunz. What I have a problem with that many people having gunz have no problem with complete fucking fools and vigilante wannabes having gunz.

    the problem is the two overlap, so wouldn’t the easy way to fix the problem be to control how many guns are out there?

    seems to work for other countries.

  30. Ichthyic:

    So you’ll damn them all because a few are stupid?

    when life and death is the issue… yes.

    damn them all.

  31. Ichthyic:

    ^^spoken in a reasonable facsimile of Charlton Heston’s voice in “Planet of the Apes”.

  32. Ichthyic:

    What would possibly disqualify someone?

    I’m sure they use trained squirrels to sort the bad eggs.

  33. Ichthyic:

    As for the danger of people nearby, unless his handgun was very old or very defective, the danger of a dropped firearm going off is very low.

    ridiculous. even if it was NONEXISTENT, the clown should not have had a gun in a courtroom.

  34. Ichthyic:

    if you investigate further, you’ll usually find that someone tried to catch the dropped gun and caught the trigger instead.

    not only would I love to see where such investigative research gets published, but the mere fact that evidently since it even HAPPENS that a gun owner’s gun goes off while being dropped because they tried to catch it, doesn’t that tell us it’s not safe to have a gun around crowds of people anyway?

  35. Michael Heath:

    I regret posting a comment at 27 in response to SN G’s post at 26. If I’d read SN G’s post at 12 I would have’ve realized the idiocy of who I was dealing with at 26. E.g., SN G’s comment @12:

    As for the danger of people nearby, unless his handgun was very old or very defective, the danger of a dropped firearm going off is very low.

    Wow, just wow; talk about cluelessness.

  36. Ichthyic:

    Good thing knives don’t go off when you drop them, or our kitchen would be full of holes.

  37. dogmeat:

    Perhaps he likes to hold his gun when he feels anxious

    So, too much lube?

  38. Ichthyic:

    heh.

    pardon me while I go “oil my gun”…

  39. d.c.wilson:

    So Kessler, who is continuously referred to as “police chief”, is the sole member of the town’s police farce, I mean force?

    That’s not at all uncommon in a lot of Pennsylvania’s smaller boroughs. A lot of these chiefs of a police department of one have only one real responsibility: Bring in revenue to the borough by operating the local speed trap. They’re completely useless for anything else. If there’s ever any real crime in the borough, they call in the State Troopers to do the real police work.

    Kessler perfectly fits the profile, given that the one time he did try to intervene in a bar fight, he accidentally shot himself in the hand.

  40. Ichthyic:

    Good thing knives don’t go off when you drop them, or our kitchen would be full of holes.

    OTOH, I don’t typically try to catch knives as they are falling to the ground. I’m sure if I did they would go off and there would be holes everywhere.

  41. Modusoperandi:

    d.c.wilson, to be fair, his hand did match the description.

  42. Lonely Panda, e.s.l.:

    According to Zimmerman, it was totally safe:

    Afterward, Zimmerman said the gun didn’t have a bullet in the chamber but did have the safety on. He could have slammed it against a wall, he said, and it wouldn’t have been able to go off.

    “It’s an inanimate object,” he said, “it can’t do anything.”

  43. democommie:

    “It’s an inanimate object,” he said, “it can’t do anything.”

    One of the deeply cherished memes of gunzloonz nation–until somebody does get shot by a gun that “accidentally discharged” (itself).

  44. Area Man:

    “It’s an inanimate object,” he said, “it can’t do anything.”

    Then why the fuck did you bother bringing it?

  45. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :):

    Here’s something entirely unsurprising. An appeal hearing on the firing of extremist Gilberton, PA police chief Mark Kessler was brought to a screeching halt when one of Kessler’s supporters had his handgun drop out of its holster and on to the floor.

    …and the others all started pawing at it screaming “MMMMYYYYY PRECIOUS!!!!”

    ?

  46. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :):

    Of course, when Gun Rights Advocates handle their firearms properly & responsibly (as millions do every day), it never makes the news. So you’ll damn them all because a few are stupid?

    The notion that the categories of “responsible gun owners” and “people who LOSE THEIR SHIT at the suggestion that any effort be made to keep guns away from irresponsible people” overlap is one of them “extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence.

  47. davem:

    No one with a gun other than a police officer should be anywhere near that place.

    Fixed.

  48. caseloweraz:

    http://nssf.org/safety/basics/
    Firearms Safety — 10 Rules of Safe Gun Handling
    National Shooting Sports Foundation

    3. Don’t Rely On Your Gun’s “Safety”

    Treat every gun as though it can fire at any time. The “safety” on any gun is a mechanical device which, like any such device, can become inoperable at the worst possible time. Besides, by mistake, the safety may be “off” when you think it is “on.” The safety serves as a supplement to proper gun handling but cannot possibly serve as a substitute for common sense. You should never handle a gun carelessly and assume that the gun won’t fire just because the “safety is on.”

    Never touch the trigger on a firearm until you actually intend to shoot. Keep your fingers away from the trigger while loading or unloading. Never pull the trigger on any firearm with the safety on the “safe” position or anywhere in between “safe” and “fire.” It is possible that the gun can fire at any time, or even later when you release the safety, without your ever touching the trigger again.

    Never place the safety in between positions, since half-safe is unsafe. Keep the safety “on” until you are absolutely ready to fire.

    Regardless of the position of the safety, any blow or jar strong enough to actuate the firing mechanism of a gun can cause it to fire. This can happen even if the trigger is not touched, such as when a gun is dropped. Never rest a loaded gun against any object because there is always the possibility that it will be jarred or slide from its position and fall with sufficient force to discharge.

    The only time you can be absolutely certain that a gun cannot fire is when the action is open and it is completely empty. Again, never rely on your gun’s safety. You and the safe gun handling procedures you have learned are your gun’s primary safeties.

    It appears this guy Dave Zimmerman, except for dropping his gun, was treating it responsibly: the safety was on and the chamber was empty. Assuming his statement was correct, of course.

  49. Michael Heath:

    caseloweraz writes:

    It appears this guy Dave Zimmerman, except for dropping his gun, was treating it responsibly: the safety was on and the chamber was empty. Assuming his statement was correct, of course.

    Well, we can’t ignore your, “except for dropping his gun”, it’s the entire reason this story was reported and has legs. Zimmerman dropping his gun is also a mere symptom of being a foible human; the root cause problem here is Mr. Zimmerman’s negligence. I see no defensible reason for him to even take a gun into that meeting. He was risking the safety and security of others through his negligence.

    It’s both popular and reasonable to seek government powers to infringe upon the rights of some when they act irresponsibly in a manner that harms or risks harm to others (under the competing rights principle). The U.S. has an incredible inventory of guns. Far too many gun owners are clueless when it comes to acting responsibly with guns. These facts result in an incredible number of people being injured or killed by others with guns here in the U.S. So it’s no surprise there exists a gun control movement, especially when comparing our atrocious results to other developed countries’ benign outcomes.

    So here our condemnation shouldn’t be solely directed at Zimmerman dropping his gun, but instead predominately directed at his carrying at this meeting. This is the type of credible illustration gun control advocates can point to after noting the stats on how many tragedies occur in the U.S. due to the use of guns. “Use” here includes both owning and carrying a gun.

  50. democommie:

    Michael Heath being a deer hunter is probably more familiar with the result of moronz with gunz in the woods this time of the year. I’m coming at this from an entirely non-scientific angle but I rarely read about kids shooting their dads or uncles while out hunting. It seems that the converse happens with alarming regularity.

  51. michaelcrichton:

    If someone can’t maintain control over their weapon in a relatively calm situation like a public meeting, why do they imagine they’d be worth a damn if some “bad guy” actually started shooting?

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