Created By: Deboss on August 27, 2011 Last Edited By: Lord-Jaric on May 1, 2015

Arming the Untrained

Somebody hands a weapon to some untrained schmuck.

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Trope
Based on an old plan, trying to split Artistic License - Gun Safety, see the sandbox for full plan.

Trope

The Hero has just freed some poor hostages. In the process, a bunch of mooks got killed with all their weapons. It would be a shame to let all those poor defenseless weapons just lay around waiting to get damaged. So, arm the hostages!

When a character trained in proper Gun Safety decides to hand a weapon to someone that has little to no training (as far as the character knows, anyway).

Examples

Anime and Manga

Film
  • Die Hard
    • Die Hard: John McClane hands escaped hostage "Bill Clay" a handgun after Bill says he's only used a paintball gun. Then, when John turns his back, Bill points the gun at him and reveals himself as Hans Gruber, the Big Bad. Even further subverted in that Gruber is very competent with a gun.
    • Die Hard with a Vengeance: John gives Zeus a handgun but doesn't give any instructions on how to use it, apparently assuming that Zeus will be familiar with it. Zeus takes this as a another sign of racism.
  • In Lightning Jack Jack gives his new partner/outlaw trainee Ben a gun for their first robbery together. It doesn't go well - Ben shoots himself in the foot. Jack then arms him with a sawed off shotgun, because the shot dissipates quickly so no real harm will come to anyone/thing he actually shoots, but it looks Bad Ass.
  • Tequila Sunrise Kurt Russell's police detective character hands Michelle Pfeiffer's totally gun-untrained character a pistol to protect herself while meeting a drug lord, telling her "That's ready to fire."
  • Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi hands a Luke a weapon with out first explaining how it works. Mind you, a weapon that will instantly kill or maim you if you even slightly mishandle it. Luke happens to be rather important...
    • Luke is also allowed/encouraged to use the lightsaber around other people on a flying starship before he has gained any acceptance or knowledge of the mystical abilities that help Jedi to not demolish everything around them. This is roughly akin to letting someone who has heard a couple of stories about what a bomb technician does practice on live explosives on a submerged submarine.
      • This may be somewhat averted by the fact that the power of the lightsaber in question could be adjusted. Minimal-power lightsabers aren't able to cause serious damage, and it's reasonable to consider that Obi-Wan may have made it as safe as possible before handing it to Luke.
  • Generation Kill: The Marines hand a writer imbedded with them an assault rifle. They never do it again because he pointed the barrel at both Person and Colbert's faces while passing it back, with the safety off.

Western Animation
  • Archer: Played for Laughs with Cyril. Whenever Lana or Archer arm the accountant, misfires are guaranteed, often to the injury of Bret.
  • The Simpsons: Bart is on a Ride Along with the cops when they get into a High Speed Chase with a perp. As they corner the perp and go in, Eddie gives Bart a gun and asks him to back them up, giving lip service to the fact that it's against the rules.

Videogame

  • Silent Hill has an unintentionally funny scene in the first game, in which police officer Cybil Bennett confirms that the hero she's just met, a professional writer, has never handled a gun in his life, and so proceeds to hand him her spare gun for protection. The entirety of her instructions are "know what you're shooting, and don't go blasting me by mistake" (Foreshadowing!)). A little justified in that they're in a Survival Horror environment (and even used as a game mechanic, as, due to Harry's inexperience, the player can't accurately aim at long range), though you have to wonder why, as a police officer sworn to protect and serve, she didn't just accompany Harry instead of giving him a gun and sending him on his merry way.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • August 27, 2011
    Deboss

    I did this a long ass time ago, back when the You Fail tropes were being considered for being cut. As an experiment, I split the page on the sandbox to see if we could actually carve them up the way that was suggested. I haven't made a full sweep to pick up any new example, change the text, or anything else. As a result, most of them are identical to their You Fail Gun Safety Forever entries. I'll fix them later. Unless someone else wants to take a stab at it.
  • August 28, 2011
    KingZeal
    • Subverted in Die Hard. John McClane hands escaped hostage "Bill Clay" a handgun after Bill says he's only used a paintball gun. Then, when John turns his back, Bill points the gun at him and reveals himself as Hans Gruber, the Big Bad. Even further subverted in that Gruber is very competent with a gun.
  • August 28, 2011
    Koveras
    Dunno if it counts but in Madlax, the eponymous heroine tries to teach her civilian friend to handle guns before letting her have one, but it still gets her killed in the end.
  • August 28, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In Lightning Jack Jack gives his new partner/outlaw trainee Ben a gun for their first robbery together. It doesn't go well - Ben shoots himself in the foot. Jack then arms him with a sawed off shotgun, because the shot dissipates quickly so no real harm wil come to anyone/thing he actually shoots, but it looks Bad Ass.
  • August 28, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    • Played For Laughs in Archer with Cyril. Whenever Lana or Archer arm the accountant, misfires are guaranteed, often to the injury of Bret.
  • August 28, 2011
    Fanra
    The Generation Kill example. The Marines hand a writer imbedded with them an assault rifle. They never do it again because he pointed the barrel at both Person and Colbert's faces while passing it back, with the safety off.
  • August 28, 2011
    Generality
    ^5 Played straight in Die Hard 3. John gives Zeus a handgun but doesn't give any instructions on how to use it, apparently assuming that Zeus will be familiar with it. Zeus takes this as a another sign of racism.
  • August 28, 2011
    KingZeal
    ^ Bites them both in the ass later, too, when Zeus tries to hold the Big Bad at gunpoint and nothing happens when the trigger is pulled. Turns out, he had the safety on. The Big Bad calmly walks over, takes the gun, turns the safety off, and shoots Zeus in the foot.
  • August 28, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Simpsons: Bart is on a Ride Along with the cops when they get into a High Speed Chase with a perp. As they corner the perp and go in, Eddie gives Bart a gun and asks him to back them up, giving lip service to the fact that it's against the rules.
  • August 29, 2011
    Deboss
    Examples added, hope I got them all in the right section.
  • April 26, 2015
    eroock
  • April 26, 2015
    Lord-Jaric
    Fixed up the Die Hard bit
  • April 26, 2015
    NateTheGreat
    I saw a possible example from Final Fantasy XIII in a Spoony review, but could someone who's actually played the game elaborate?
  • April 26, 2015
    DAN004
    May be a form of Passive Rescue.

    Btw the description sounds too specific to hostage situations and guns.

    • Ber Serk: when Griffith first meets Casca, she was about to be raped by a thug. Griffith throws her a sword, which she then uses to.kill.the thug. She's then gets taken to Griffith's Band of the Hawk afterwards.
  • April 26, 2015
    randomsurfer
    ^Dan, it's getting more and more vexing the way you don't properly Wikiword single word links, and you never properly namespace.

    • Monkey Business: A crime boss hires Harpo & Chico's characters to kidnap a rival gangster's moll, and gives them each a pistol. They both start inadvertently pointing them at the boss, even as he moves their aim away they aim right back at him without thinking.
  • April 27, 2015
    Arivne
    Film
    • Phantasm. Mike's older brother Jordy gives him an automatic pistol even though Mike has apparently had no training or experience using firearms. Somewhat justified because by that point in the movie it's clear that they're up against powerful and dangerous opposition and Mike needs something to protect himself.
  • April 27, 2015
    Ominae
    Don't know if I should put my Drifters manga example since most of the ones here involve small arms.
  • April 27, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ I already put my Ber Serk example here and it involves a sword.
  • April 27, 2015
    Ominae
    If anyone doesn't mind, I may need to edit the entry so that it doesn't always point to arming civilians with guns.
  • April 27, 2015
    Bisected8
    • In I Robot, Will Smith's Fan Of The Past character gives the Love Interest a 20th century machine gun, despite her protests. This leads to a scene where he yells at her and the comic relief for shooting with her eyes closed and swearing, respectively.
  • April 27, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Captain Amelia from Disney's Treasure Planet tosses a firearm to Doctor Doppler at the outset of the pirate mutiny, asking "Doctor, can you handle one of these?" Doppler tries to sound competent, but the device goes off, destroying a globe near the Captain. "Um, no. Definitely not." Poor Captain Amelia can only roll her eyes. She would later hand one to Jim Hawkins as he's about to begin scouting Treasure Planet for a defensible position. Jim displays much more competence with his firearm.
  • May 1, 2015
    Antigone3
    In Duty Calls, when the hybrids try to kill Cain the first time, he doesn't actually hand Zemelda the stubber one of the assassins dropped but he does give her some advice on how to use it. But in 40K, you can't really assume the random food cart merchant caught up in a fight doesn't have some familiarity with weapons.
  • May 1, 2015
    DAN004
    Please add the Berserk example.
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