Follow TV Tropes


Reckless Gun Usage

Go To
"Ohhh, so THIS is the end that flaming death comes out of..."

"Don't worry about it ... Look, the clip is not even in it. What do you think I'm gonna do? Blow my brains out?"

There are some basic rules for safely using guns. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what they are since many people are not used to firearms and/or are just Too Dumb to Live.

This trope is when somebody unfamiliar with firearms does something reckless with guns that endangers others. Whether it's some schmuck in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse or a bank robber, screwing up is still dangerous. When somebody who should know proper gun safety, such as soldiers or police, uses guns recklessly because the writer doesn't know any better, 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 Reliably Unreliable Guns. See also Remonstrating with a Gun. Gun Twirling and Pants-Positive Safety are almost always this trope when they aren't Artistic License – Gun Safety. If the gun-handler themself is killed, it's an Accidental Suicide.

Perhaps realizing the high number of occasions where actors (due to the script or their own inexperience) may mishandle guns, it's not uncommon to discover that firearms that are seen in film and TV productions often end up (when examined in detail) being carved pieces of wood or molded plastic or rubber. It's also fairly common practice to issue "hero" prop weapons (that could be blank-firing or deactivated real weapons, or built around the same) which are meant to look good and appear functional in close-up, and which are given only to lead actors who (on a well-run set) have received at least minimal instruction in their safe handling, while background characters get the cheaper, entirely non-functional moulded props so that they don't need to be trained or supervised. Given the relative ease of adding realistic-enough muzzle flashes in modern post productionnote , and a history of tragic on-set incidents involving the mishandling of prop firearms, there are an increasing number of voices calling to entirely eliminate the use of any prop weapon that is capable of firing an actual round from production.note 

This trope is unfortunately Truth in Television, often with tragic results. In the United States, about one in 50 of all firearm deaths have this as their cause, with some being children of the actual gun owners. Even in historical military contexts (such as the time of the The Vietnam War and earlier), quite a number of tenets of modern gun safety (such as always keeping your fingers off of the trigger until actually shooting) were not universally or thoroughly drilled into soldiers, though the required complexity for firing the sorts of guns that predated the use of metallic cartridges made it difficult for sudden-shooting accidents to occur with them.


    open/close all folders 


    Anime & Manga 
  • Assassination Classroom: In possibly one of the most egregious examples in all of anime, an assassin is shown to have a preference for eating ramen by dipping his loaded revolver into the bowl, then slurping the broth out of the barrel. With his finger on the trigger the whole time. The fact that the show has a no-killing policy is the only reason he doesn't end up introducing what little brains he has to the fresh air.
  • 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).
  • Cat Planet Cuties: Manami is a huge gun enthusiast but doesn't have much experience in handling firearms, so she tends to carelessly wave them around, even in crowded restaurants. It's less dangerous than most examples since her guns are loaded with Catian quasi-antimatter bullets that disintegrate non-living matter in a radius of about a foot but are completely harmless to living targets (other than leaving them naked) but it's still amazing that she doesn't get chewed out more by Aoi, who actually is trained in firearms.
  • Cat's Eye:
    • Hirano is called a "mad shooter" for his habit of pointing his Hand Cannon at various things, before he actually shoots something that shouldn't be shot — and that's with him being a crack shot who can easily pull a Bullet Outline (how he solved a hostage crisis: the moment the criminal showed up he made an outline around his head and flat-out stated he could shoot him in the head even with the hostage).
    • Also, Toshio once fooled around with a gun at the police academy and ended up shooting himself in the foot, leaving him with a crippling terror of guns.
  • This is how you recognize amateur gun users in City Hunter: they tend to do stupid things with their guns, while professionals like Ryo, Umibozu, Saeko and even Kaori always follow gun safety rules. One Running Gag is an amateur threaten a professional with a revolver at arm's length only for the professional to block the cylinder.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Inuyasha: In the Band of Seven Arc, Jakotsu is confronted by soldiers who introduce the matchlock to the series. After dispatching them with ease, he studies the gun 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 fazed him much either. Also, the guns require a lit fuse and must be loaded manually after each shot.
  • The title character of Jesus has his revolver fall out of his jacket onto the floor in front of all of his new co-workers. The ditzy Sayuri picks it up, admonishes him about bringing model guns to school... then put the barrel to his head and pulled the trigger. Only the fact that Jesus followed good gun safety by keeping the first chamber empty spared his life.
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Not knowing what a pistol is, Tao points one at Esteban, who's obviously startled. Tao then suspects it might be some sort of weapon, and the shot goes off, almost hitting Esteban.
  • Sound of the Sky: 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 intentionally 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...
  • 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.

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: In "Mistfall", Turlough picks up the traitor's gun when he is disarmed. When Nyssa tries to tell him something only for him to dismissively tell her "I know how to handle a gun". What she was trying to tell him is that the gun is still fully charged. He then accidentally discharges it which creates enough confusion for the traitor to escape.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Part of Scarecrow's backstory (now retconned) is that he was a psychology professor who pointed a gun at a student giving a presentation to demonstrate fear. Naturally, his ass was fired pretty fast.
  • The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers: Fat Freddy takes the household food money and buys a shotgun. He explains to his irritated roommates that he can hunt for their food, and they get more sore at him as he fools around with the gun in the house. While marching around playing parade drill he drops it and it goes off, shooting a hole in the ceiling and killing a rat. The other two hold him to his vow to eat everything he killed.
  • Robin (1993): Johnny Warren tries to shoot Robin and the woman Robin is saving from him even though Tim warned him that the epoxy he tossed on Johnny's gun has warped the barrel and the gun is visibly deformed. He loses a hand for his bloodlust.
  • Wolverine: During the fight with the pirates in Wolverine (1988), one opens up on him with an AK-47 in a crowded room, and Logan notes that the guy doesn't care a whit if he hits anyone else (which he does) as long as he hits Logan (which he also does, and which makes Logan go berserk).

    Comic Strips 
  • Don Martin has a cop chasing a crook in an alley. The cop fires a few shots into the air to make the crook give up. It works... at the cost of accidentally shooting a few spectators.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Star Trek TOS fanfic Plague Ship McCoy (who is infected with an alien virus at the point and is very mentally unstable) is shown waving around his phaser in panic and shooting hallucinations. He ends up shooting an ensign by mistake — fortunately, the phaser was set on Stun.
  • In the Fate/Apocrypha fic Fate-Twin Souls, the extreme Cloudcuckoolander Flat Escardos asks Kairi Sisigou to let him hold his gun. Kairi obliges but is smart enough to remove the bullets first. Good call; as soon as Flat gets a hold of it, he starts playing around, pointing the gun in random directions and pulling the trigger repeatedly.
  • 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!)
  • In Xendra, Xander takes out a trio of vampires by tricking them into trying to shoot him with his shotgun, which he'd earlier dropped in the mud. The clogged barrel causes the gun to explode and the vampires get hit with the Depleted Phlebotinum Shells.
  • The plot of Zähmen kicks off because, unlike Judy, Nick doesn't know a thing about guns and doesn't check the chamber for a pellet when replacing the rounds in Bellwether's gun. In the first chapter, Judy thinks to herself that that would be asking too much of an untrained civilian, and she should have known better.
  • The Discworld fic Negligent Discharge deals with what will inevitably happen when somebody like Nobby Nobbs is allowed access to a big powerful weapon capable of inflicting serious destruction on a target. Despite the supervising officer's conscientious and repeated checks to ensure the weapon is unloaded and Nobby cannot get access to the ammo, what might be called an Act of God ensures the inevitable happens.

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman: Assault on Arkham: When Joker holds Deadshot at gunpoint, Deadshot tells him he's out of bullets and when he pulls the trigger and nothing happens, he's going to bash his skull in. He starts counting down to make good on his threat until Joker tells him to stop, saying he knows for sure there are still bullets in the gun... while looking directly down the barrel. Though this is only for a second before pointing it at the ceiling and firing off a shot and smugly telling Deadshot he knew it.
  • In Rango, Rango hands over his loaded revolver to a little kid so he could sign his autograph. The kid proceeds to do everything you shouldn't do with a pistol, including pointing it at his mom, chewing on it, and gazing down the barrel and exclaiming "There's a bullet in here!"
  • The Rescuers Down Under: For a poacher, Percival C. McLeach does not handle his shotgun properly, the first instance of this being when he uses it (already loaded and cocked) to pull Cody out of a trap.
  • Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars begins with Rico leading a New Meat squad whose ineptness is culminated by their Ensign Newbie accidentally firing off a nuclear missile that kills them all. Fortunately, it's a Danger Room Cold Open.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The scene between Buzzy and Duffy in 11:14 could be shown in gun safety classes as "Things You Must Never Do." First, Duffy points it at Buzzy's head when he has no intention of harming her. Then Buzzy picks it up, twirls it and starts playing cops-and-robbers with it...knowing it's loaded because the bullets fell out when she twirled it and she put them back in. It's sheer luck that nobody's hurt when the gun goes off.
  • Just about everyone in 1941 (1979):
    • 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 Boulevard, 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.
  • 22 Jump Street has Jonah Hill's character return Channing Tatum's character tossing him a football by tossing his gun in return. The gun goes off as Tatum tries to catch it, though no one is hit. Tatum's character actually asks him "Who throws a gun?!"
  • 30 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 68 Kill, Chip arrives home to discover Liza pointing a pair of pistols at him; showing off what she just got from Dwayne. A short time later, she points both guns at her crotch.
  • The Korean film 71: Into the Fire features seventy-one students being drafted to fight in the Korean war. Some of the younger students who have never seen combat before, upon getting hold of their first firearms, then goofs off with their weapons including waving loaded guns like toys and playing catch with a grenade.
  • 8 Mile: Eminem's friend shoots himself in his leg in the act of putting a gun in his waistbandwith surprisingly little reaction.
  • Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion: After being told to assemble a mounted gun, Lou ends up accidentally triggering it and causing a lot of damage at the Legion's camp.
  • Adopting Terror has Tim Broadbent closing his eyes and pulling the trigger blindly the one time he fires his weapon.
  • During one scene in American Gangster, a crook tries to shoot some cops through a door with a shotgun... forgetting that the door has been made bulletproof due to a metal cover. He winds up getting the ricochet right back, including apparently in his eyes and face in general.
  • Jake in American Honey carries around a loaded handgun and jokingly waves it in front of Star’s face, angering her. Later, he uses it to threaten the cowboys who Star hitched a ride with.
  • Referenced but averted in Angel and the Badman. Early in the film, a delirious Quirt Evans won't hold still long enough for the doctor to treat him. Thomas Worth tries giving Quirt his revolver back (to the disbelief of his wife and the doc), but he emptied it of bullets first. Quirt immediately goes limp.
  • Darren Cross in Ant-Man shoots recklessly inside of a helicopter while trying to hit Scott. Ignoring his own guards yelling at him to stop. It gets worse when he dons the Yellow Jacket suit and start shooting lasers all over the place. Somewhat justified by the fact that he wasn't a particularly stable man even before he started messing with shrinking technology that is explicitly stated to severely mess with your brain if it's not adequately protected.
  • In Bank Shot, Hermann X carries a gun that he draws at the slightest provocation. When Victor's very intimidating 'door bell' goes off, Hermann draws and fires despite not having a target. The bullet ricochets around the inside of Victor's home. Ballentine ends up forbidding Hermann to bring the gun along on The Caper.
  • Among the many, many common-sense failures of Birdemic, our hero Rod introduces two children to another survivor of the titular "shock and terror" by pointing his loaded gun at each one as he names them.
  • 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.
  • Calvary: A police inspector offering to lend a revolver to Father James picks it up and points it right at Father James's face as some sort of joke. Upset at the "joke," Father James loads the revolver and points it right back into the inspector's face. In both instances, their fingers are on the trigger.
  • Clue:
    • When French Maid Yvette tries to Shoot Out the Lock of a locked door, what follows is a comedy of errors: First, Yvette retrieves the gun, runs along with it, only to trip and accidentally discharge the gun into the ceiling. After that, she points the gun at the lock, despite the fact that Mr. Green and Professor Plum are dangerously close to the line of fire and have to dive out of the way before she begins shooting. And although she succeeds in shooting out the lock, she does it while Mustard and Scarlett are still just on the other side of the door she's shooting at! Indeed, one of the shots appears to go right through the door and graze Colonel Mustard. After shooting out the lock, she basically strikes a sexy pose with the gun, once again thoughtlessly aiming it straight at Mr. Green and Prof. Plum, who frantically scuttle out of the way a second time. With the door now open, the first thing Colonel Mustard does is chew Yvette out for almost killing him.
    • Also, in Ending A where Miss Scarlett is the killer, we have a case of this being done by someone who is, presumably, trained in firearm safety! During a standoff, Wadsworth claims that the gun is empty and Scarlett insists there is one bullet left. Eventually, she gets distracted and Wadsworth manages to overpower her and take the gun away. Then, in an attempt prove that he was right, rather than simply open up the gun Wadsworth casually aims at the ceiling and pulls the trigger, and it turns out that there really was one bullet left. And as a consequence of his reckless handling of the gun, another guest almost gets killed.
  • Commando: After John Matrix gets locked up in a police van, Cindy tries to free him with a quad-barreled 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.
  • The Dark Knight: Psychopaths don't observe proper gun safety for obvious reasons.
    • At one point The Joker stumbles and unintentionally sprays a burst of S&W M76 fire in a random direction. He just giggles about it, obviously unconcerned with someone potentially getting hit.
    • Harvey Dent points loaded guns at people with his finger on the trigger while he's still determining whether to shoot them. Not that he would particularly care if he accidentally killed any of them; an accident is no less random than a coin-flip, after all.
  • The Darwin Awards: After accidentally sinking his truck with dynamite while attempting to ice fish, Tom falls through the hole in the ice into the frozen lake. Stan goes to rescue him and extends his rife, butt first, to Tom to pull him out. Tom grabs the rifle and accidentally pulls the trigger; shooting Stan in the shoulder.
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978): 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.
  • Diamonds on Wheels: Finch is carrying a gun and is very keen to use it, although he doesn't seem to know much about it, and all of the other gang members are horrified he brought a shooter along on the job and keep telling him to put it away. At one stage, he points it at Wheeler's head at laughs like it is a joke. When he is hoist into the air during the fight in the warehouse, he has the gun in his hand and panic fires several times, nearly hitting his comrades.
  • In Dobermann Mosquito is shown to be noticeably lax regarding gun safety. He constantly keeps a loaded gun thrust into the waistband of his pants. He pulls the gun at the slightest provocation. He gestures with the hand holding the gun; often waving it in someone's face to emphasise a point. At one point, he holds the gun upside down and peers down the barrel, despite the fact it is loaded. Manu isn't much better; showing off his new sniper rifle by aiming it at Dobermann's head.
  • In Dr. Minx, David attempts to scare a confession out his friend Brian by pointing a loaded pistol at him. The gun goes and hits Brian.
  • A minor example from Escape from L.A.: the lead into 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.
  • Several examples in Falling Down, since for as much as Foster ends up using guns across the film, it's clear that it's his first day he's actually done so. There are two standout examples, both of which revolve around Foster keeping his finger on the trigger when he doesn't intend to shoot:
    • The first is the Whammyburger scene, where he pulls a machine pistol on the staff because they won't serve breakfast past 11:30 AM. When the rest of the customers panic, he tries to calm them down, only to immediately send them into further panic because he accidentally lets loose a burst into the ceiling. Notably, after he explains that it's a "sensitive trigger" and he didn't mean to do that, he pointedly keeps his finger off the trigger for the rest of the scene.
    • The second is the scene where he pulls out a rocket launcher to try to destroy heavy machinery, but has no idea how to use it until a random kid who watched a lot of action movies teaches him — it's only about a second between him being told what part is the trigger and him accidentally hitting that trigger while he has the launcher off-target, sending it down an open sewer pipe.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: While driving to Vegas, Gonzo waves a revolver around and starts pulling the trigger. Luckily, it is not loaded. When trying to leave Vegas the first time, Duke blasts away in the desert — it's loaded now. After that we get the adrenochrome sequence, in which Duke snorts cocaine off the barrel of the gun, which is held by Gonzo.
  • Forced Vengeance. Chuck Norris' character lends his girlfriend his pistol when he has to leave her alone, but she's so nervous she puts a bullet through the door the moment he calls out to her on returning. Our hero then delivers An Aesop: "Note: Never let your girl handle your piece."
  • In 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.
  • Go has a scene where 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.
  • Goodfellas wavers between Artistic License – Gun Safety and this trope. It's impossible to tell from the film when the actors are making mistakes and when they're portraying their character's blatant disregard for gun safety.
    • Karen in one scene hides a snub-nose revolver in her panties. A Justified Trope in this case, as she is hiding it from a police search. Plenty of other characters stick guns in waistbands or pockets where they could negligently discharge.
    • Tommy, Joe Pesci's iconic complete lunatic of a gangster, frequently violates the rules about not mixing firearms and alcohol and not pointing a weapon at anything you aren't meaning to hit. In a memorable sequence, he drunkenly waves a revolver around while comparing himself to a movie cowboy. He "flags" (unintentionally points the muzzle at) everyone else at his poker table. The other players are justifiably alarmed — then go right back to laughing. Tommy then shoots at Spider while imitating a stunt in a movie. He accidentally shoots Spider in the foot. It's arguable whether this counts as failing to never aim at anything you do not want to hit since Tommy is just a monster.
    • Near the end of the film, Ray Liotta's Henry Hill is waiting for his wife to get back from meeting one of his accomplices. Henry carries a semi-auto pistol. He runs out to escort his wife Karen from her car to the door. He holds the firearm in a very strange position as if he were palming it, where the trigger might snag as he physically hauls Karen into the house. The muzzle rakes across Henry's chest so it might or might not enter and exit obliquely. Then the bullet would hit Karen straight in the side of the torso, cutting along from just under one armpit to exit out the other side of her chest. During that sequence, if the gun discharged, Karen's heart, aorta, both lungs, liver, stomach, and spleen were all right about at the right level to be hit.
    • Henry is seen in the next scene holding Karen in bed. He has a drawn semi-auto pistol. His finger is in the trigger well.
    • Early in the film, Henry gives Karen a bloody, loaded revolver to hide. Karen (presumably) has no experience with firearms at that point in the film. It's good practice to unload and clear a firearm before passing it to someone else. When passing it over, make sure it's open so the recipient can check to make sure it's not loaded. Granted, Henry was more concerned with having Karen hide the revolver since he used it to pistol-whip a man who sexually assaulted her just a few minutes ago.
  • 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.
  • Harry Brown: The street scum villains handle their weapons in ridiculously unsafe manners. The drug den honcho takes the cake for using his pistol as a weed pipe, stuffing buds into the chamber and smoking out the barrel. Comes into play later when, at a crucial moment, his weapon jams due to his poor treatment and maintenance of it, allowing Harry to kill him. "You failed to maintain your weapon, son."
  • In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Hellboy fires his Hand Cannon 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.
  • In The Host (2006), Nam-il keeps pointing the barrel of his shotgun at objects (and people). In one scene, he pointed and thrust the shotgun at his own big brother Gang-du's head while the latter was asleep.
  • House: 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.
  • In the film, I, Robot, during the climactic robot uprising, Detective Spooner gets saved by Dr. Calvin when she shoots one of the rogue NS-5 who has him by the neck... with her eyes closed. Spooner unsurprisingly is not too happy with her method, and reminds her to aim.
  • The Immortals: While he and Billy are robbing the diner, George is sitting at the counter having a Seinfeldian Conversation about milkshake flavours and gesturing wildly with his revolver — causing the hostages to duck for cover every time the barrel sweeps past them — and occasionally banging it on the counter.
  • In Intolerable Cruelty, George Clooney is about to be killed by a hitman known as "Wheezy Joe". Just before he shoots them he has an asthma attack and confuses his gun for his inhaler. They later claim he suffered sudden remorse and committed suicide.
  • Invention for Destruction: During the train trip, a passenger tries to shoot a bird out the window with a shotgun. After both barrels fail to fire, he sits back down, only for the gun to go off a second later; blowing a hole in the newspaper of the passenger sitting opposite.
  • In Joker, Arthur dances in his apartment, holding his gun and picturing himself being at a club and randomly shooting another patron for dancing badly. He fires the gun for real, hitting the wall and having to pretend to his mother that the noise was from a war movie on the TV. Later, he hides the gun inside the sleeve of his clown costume while doing a routine for children in an hospital, and the gun naturally falls to the floor; he even kicks it while trying to retrieve it and pretends nothing happened.
  • Many examples in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (private detective Gay Perry keeps a tiny gun concealed in his underwear to hide it from homophobes who won't search there when patting him down), but the unquestioned funniest (in the blackest way possible) is when protagonist Harry (an idiot) and Perry are trying to interrogate a thug about the location of a missing girl and Harry attempts to intimidate the guy into talking by loading a single round into a revolver, spinning the cylinder, pointing it at the guy's head, and pulling the trigger while demanding to know where the girl is. Obviously the guy gets his brains spread all over the ground. A shocked Harry lamely protests to a furious Perry that he didn't think it'd be that dangerous because there was only an 8% chance of it landing on the loaded chamber.
    Perry: "Eight"?! Who taught you math?!
  • In Long Weekend, Peter's gun sins include testing the sight on his rifle by aiming it at his unsuspecting wife; leaving a loaded speargun around, which goes off narrowly avoiding Marcia; drinking and shooting; running down a sand dune carrying a loaded rifle; and firing randomly at nothing.
  • At the Christmas party in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, one of the guests turns up and starts waving a loaded revolver around, pointing it at people, et cetera. This is Played for Laughs (!!!), then Jim Williams and John Kelso decide to find a conversation, in Kelso's words, "less likely to involve gunfire."
  • In Mistress of the Apes, Gun Nut Thurston has a habit of blasting away without warning, and often without a clear target. His Trigger-Happy tendencies wind up killing a female of the Near Men and landing the expedition in serious hot water.
  • In the 1939 Nancy Drew film 'Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase', sixteen-year-old Nancy is suspicious of the bullet casing a man allegedly killed himself with and asks Ted Nickerson if he will get her the same model of gun for her to do an experiment on. He puts it in a bag and leaves it on her doorstep with a note inside telling her not to bother him that day. Nancy tricks him into coming out to the deserted roadway she has sought to test the gun at, and when she sees him, starts animatedly gesturing with the loaded gun, including pressing the barrel into her own chest. She complains that she hasn’t been able to fire the gun (it’s a Luger and needs to be untoggled) and cajoles Ted to do it for her, which he does, right into a sign prohibiting shooting in the area.
  • Narc (2002): the cops are called to the scene of an apparent Bath 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.
  • The Other Guys: the other cops trick Allen into firing his gun in the office, saying a "desk pop" is tradition. He is asked to hand over his gun and given a wooden parade pistol instead. Later he loses rights to the wood pistol too and is just given a rape whistle.
  • In Pig Hunt, Ben carries a Magnum revolver that he brandishes at the slightest provocation, including waving it around inside the car while he is driving. When John tells him to put it away before it goes off, he leans out the window and fires several shots at a road sign while still driving.
  • 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, and please bear in mind that Wood was a World War II veteran, who knew exactly what was and was not safe to do with a gun. At the yearly film festival B-Fest, where this is shown at midnight, every time he makes a mistake with his gun, the audience yells "BANG!"
  • In 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.
  • Pulp Fiction. Vincent Vega is still holding his gun in the car after an assassination and waves it around while speaking. When he turns to ask a question to Marvin in the backseat, he rests his gun hand on his headrest, pointing the gun right at Marvin. When the car goes over a bump,note  he accidentally shoots Marvin in the face.
  • The Prestige ably demonstrates why the Bullet Catch trick and Audience Participation don't mix. The trick is carried out using a muzzle-loading pistol with a special ramrod that has a magnet in the tip to remove the bullet. This is fairly safe unless the volunteer from the audience thinks it clever to drop a penny or a glass marble or something down the barrel when you're not looking. A disguised Angier does this to Borden and blows off two of his fingers.
  • Ride Along: Ben is so incompetent at being an officer that he can't even handle a gun properly. He does things like falling backwards whilst practicing at the shooting range, waving his gun randomly, and accidentally shooting a suspect in the shoulder.
  • In RoboCop (1987),
    • An executive called Dick Jones is showing off his new military prototype robot ED-209. He grabs a Hand Cannon, slides a magazine in, waves it at a crowded boardroom, then tells the younger executive to use the gun in a threatening manner. The young executive takes it and then points it right at Dick Jones. Given Jones' company handles military contracts, Jones should have known this breaks pretty much every rule about gun handling.
    • Jones then tells the young man to turn it towards the robot. It turns out Ed-209's massive cannons are loaded with live ammunition. When the machine predictably malfunctions while trying to subdue him, it blows the poor schmuck to bits in a scene which Crosses the Line Twice with More Dakka Played for Laughs.
  • Semi-Pro plays this for comedy when a bunch of characters at a poker game drunkenly play with a revolver. They start pointing it at each other and pulling the trigger, laughing about the fact that it's not loaded. After the gun has gone around a while, and the trigger has been pulled about a dozen times, it suddenly goes off.
  • 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 Bullet Tooth Tony.
    • Subverted in the scenes where Boris the Blade sells pistols to Tommy and Franky Four Fingers; both engage in some stupid behavior (Tommy aiming a gun right at Gorgeous George, Franky scratching his temple with the gunbarrel). Boris shows no concern either time, despite being a trained gun professional. Because he knows the guns don't fire.
  • In Spider-Man 3, it's revealed that Uncle Ben's death was not intended. He'd actually talked his would-be assailant Flint Marko into putting the gun down and walking away, but his accomplice Denis Carradine came up from behind and slapped him on the shoulder, startling him and causing him to jolt, accidentally pulling the trigger in the process.
  • Stargate: This is a large part of Jack O'Neill's backstory in both the movie and Stargate SG-1. Jack's son accidentally killed himself with Jack's gun while playing with it.
  • 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.
  • Film/Superbad: the two cops are cartoonishly careless with their guns, even letting McLoving shoot at their car.
  • The police farce Super Troopers has a scene where the protagonists are up at a shooting range testing out a bulletproof groin protector worn by Mac... using live rounds.
    O'Hagan: Bulletproof cup, huh? I invented this gag, Rabbit! Only in my day, the rookie got naked! [fires gun, accidentally shooting out a car window] And we also used blanks. You're a sick motherfucker, Mac.
    Mac: Thanks, Chief.
    • Ironically, it shows excellent gun handling on the Captain's part, even though he assumes they're using blanks, he keeps the gun always aiming away from the troopers and fires aiming away and covering his eyes note 
  • Thirteen Women: While talking with Ursula, Helen casually waves her revolver around; even pointing it at herself at one stage. She then casually tosses it aside without looking where she is tossing it.
  • One of the funniest sequences in This Is the End involves Jonah Hill waving around James Franco's gun from Flyboys to scare everyone in the room, jokingly pointing the gun at everyone (including himself) and pretending to shoot them as they freak out. Jonah is disappointed later when the gun doesn't actually work; contrary to James Franco saying the gun was "real", it turned out to be just a prop gun.
  • Thane of East County: At a get-together for actors in a theatrical production of Macbeth, lead actor Duke has his gun collection in full display. He tries to show his understudy James how to shoot one. Later, Duke calls out James for this trope.
    Duke: (sternly) No. You NEVER point the barrel at anything living, unless you are planning on killing it, alright?
  • The opening credits of Top Secret! are shown over a music video of the protagonist's hit song "Skeet Surfing", which is about shooting skeet while surfing. If you're wondering how to safely handle a loaded skeet rifle while surfing, the video provides a very clear answer: you can't.
  • Subverted in Tremors with resident Gun Nut Burt, who despite his zeal for firearms, explosives, and paranoid doomsday prepping, never once mishandles a firearm.note  Even when he gives the schmuck Melvin an unloaded revolver to entice him to make a run for it past the Graboids, he still properly handles it and even opens the cylinder and confirms it is unloaded when he takes it back despite there being no possible way Melvin could have put anything in it.
  • In Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, one of the college kids gets out of the sheriff's car and draws the dead sheriff's gun from its holster, aiming it at Tucker and Dale. He pulls the trigger, but the gun doesn't go off, and Dale tells him the safety is on. The college kid proceeds to aim the gun directly at his face with his finger on the trigger while taking the safety off. Predictably, he ends up pulling the trigger and shooting himself in the head.
  • In Unbreakable, David’s son Joseph finds and loads David’s handgun and points it at David’s head in an attempt to prove that David is Immune to Bullets. Fortunately David is able to talk him down, but leaving weapons and ammo unsecured in a house with a child would also count as a serious gun safety failure on David’s part.
  • In World War Z, while Brad Pitt's character is in South Korea working to extract a doctor who is supposedly humanity's best hope, said doctor turns out to be a young man who knows nothing about guns. When they need to break into the base of a few survivors to grab essential gear, the team (doctor included) are escorted into an airfield in the middle of a rainstorm and have to clear a path. Despite being warned not to, the doctor keeps his finger on the trigger with the gun loaded as he runs down the rear ramp of the plane, and due to the wet metal ramp, he slips and falls, causing the gun to hit the ramp and discharge, shooting the poor doctor in the head and killing him.
  • 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.
  • Youth (2017): While Dingding is aiming at a target on the shooting range, a photographer pops up and asks her to look at him. She turns, swinging the gun towards him, and the shooting instructor jumps in to yank it up toward the sky before lambasting both of them.
  • Zeppelin (1971). A politician is angrily slamming a prototype incendiary bullet on the table, saying they don't have three months to wait until these bullet have been perfected while Britain is being attacked by German zeppelins, when a general points out that the bullets are rather unstable. The politician then tosses the bullet aside, making the general wince.

  • The Alice Network: In her first appearance, a sloshed-out-of-her-mind Eve waves a gun around and points it at people. We later discover that her driver, Finn, takes the bullets out of her gun each night before bed (although even later, we find out that he only started doing that after his second night working for her, and only then because she nearly shot his ear off the first night).
  • Early in Battle Ground, Harry sees Rudolph keeping his finger on the trigger and pointing the gun even though he should know better. Later on, Murphy instructs several people on how to avert this. Foreshadowing for Rudolph's next appearance, where he goes hysterical while pointing with his gun at Murphy and accidentally pulls the trigger, killing her.
  • Lampshaded by both Roland and the narrator in The Drawing of the Three during a shootout in a mob base, when one particularly dim mobster cuts loose with an assault rifle on full auto, only managing to do massive amounts of property damage and kill one of his fellow mobsters by mistake.
  • 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 the magazine before handing over his firearm.
  • In "Gentlemen, the King!" by Damon Runyon, a gangster who has been charmed by a small boy lets the kid hold his handgun without making sure the safety is on, and while the kid is waving it around shouting "boom-boom" it goes off, destroying a Priceless Ming Vase and damaging a hat but fortunately not injuring any of the people in the room.
  • The Great Balloon Race: When the starting cannon fails to go off, the mayor peers down the barrel to see what is wrong. The cannon then goes off and the mayor is carried off in a state of shock.
  • In John Dies at the End, John and Dave are searching for a missing person inside an abandoned mall. While creeping around in the dark building, Dave hears a voice behind him, spins around, and pulls the trigger, only to find that it's the man they were looking for. Fortunately, he hadn't chambered a round, so he just poses casually with the gun, "so as not to be too blatant about the fact that [he] had almost killed him with it just now." In the sequel This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It, Amy informs wannabe-badass Josh that, while loading his gun, he accidentally pointed the barrel at her head four times. She goes on to say that he and his friends clearly don't know what they're doing, and they're way more likely to shoot each other by accident than do anything useful. Later, while watching the footage on Josh's gun-mounted camera, she notices that he frequently points it right at the back of his friend's head, and he records a message on said camera by pointing it at his own face. Josh and his fellow wannabe badasses do in fact end up panicking and shooting a bunch of innocent people; the gunfire attracts the actual monsters, which goes...poorly.
  • Not a gun, but the same principle: in Men at Arms, when Lance-Constable Detritus first starts waving the massive siege bow that eventually becomes known as the Piecemaker around, there's a heart-stopping moment when he asks "What are a safety catch?" By Night Watch, Sergeant Detritus has been taught "When Mister Safety Catch Is Not On, Mister Crossbow Is Not Your Friend", but Commander Vimes still needs to keep checking he's remembering that.
  • The New Management: Dead Lies Dreaming: When making a comparison between magic stuff in a trunk at a home, and guns:
    But if you leave a loaded handgun lying around the family home, you shouldn't be surprised if a child finds it and pulls the trigger.
  • Averted in John Ringo's Islands of Rage and Hope. They are clearing Caribbean islands by placing boats on both sides of the island, when the British Sergeant Major points out that Anguilla and St Martins are 3 miles wide, and the 50 caliber BMG Ma Deuce they are using has a range of 7 miles. As such, both boats are in range of the other boat's weapons. He insists on range and arc limiters on the guns to prevent being killed by their own people. Admittedly, before he arrived, people were fairly casual about fire control, even after all night parties to draw the infected to the shore where the boats were parked.
  • 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.
  • In The Return of Rapido Clint and Mr. J.G. Reeder by J.T. Edson, a British thug picks up Rapido's Colt automatic. Being unfamiliar with firearms, he pushes the safety catch off thinking that he is putting it on. He then strikes a pose like his favourite cowboy actor and the gun goes off.
  • Schroedinger's 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 as to point out his inexperience in handling firearms in the "Dramatis Personae" section at the very beginning.
  • In 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).
  • Rixon Pengraft gets taken to task for this by none less than the ghost of "Devil" Anse Hatfield himself in the Silver John-story "Old Devlins Was A-Waitin'". Pengraft tries to claim it was a joke, but Anse is... unamused.
    "A mighty sorry joke," said Devil Anse. "I never yet laughed at a gun going off."
  • In The Stand, one woman who survives the superflu becomes so afraid of being raped that she gets her father's World War II-era pistol out of storage for protection. It hasn't been cleaned or oiled in decades, and the ammo is old and tarnished, but she loads it and keeps it handy anyway. The first time she tries to shoot someone, it explodes in her hand and kills her.
  • Averted hard in Starship Troopers: gun safety is taken so seriously that during basic training Rico was flogged for breaking it with a simulated nuke (actual payload, a smoke grenade)-and, as the narrator, implies he should have been drummed out, being saved by being smart enough to not ask for a court-martial when offered (that had been when he actually realized how badly he had screwed up) and his drill instructor vouching for him. He learned his lesson, as when given two nukes and an order to expend all his munitions in actual combat Rico actually prefers breaking his order rather than throw his second nuke at something not worth the sheer power or risk hitting a teammate.
  • King Solomon's Mines: Invoked. When Quatermain is forced to leave the bulk of the expedition's arsenal in the safekeeping of a rather untrustworthy figure in the hinterlands, he deliberately leaves the guns loaded, cocked and unsafe in order to discourage said figure from getting ideas about moving, tampering with or selling on said guns before they get back.
  • Universal Monsters: In book 2, when Joe meets Deputy Chad Barnes, Barnes claims to be guilty of this — when he was practicing his quick draw, he was startled by Sheriff Marshall suddenly walking in, causing his gun to go off and shoot over the man's hat. Ever since then, he's had to carry it empty, with only one bullet in his possession at a time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 1000 Ways to Die:
    • One death involved two guys who have been friends since they were in elementary; they do everything together and are generally chummy towards each other, even deciding to live together as roommates in college. Unfortunately, in adulthood one of the two friends became addicted to cigarettes and constantly bothers the other for money so he can buy more, or for spares to share with him. Becoming tired of having to supply cigarettes for his friend, the annoyed friend loads some cigarettes into his shotgun and aims them directly into his roommate's face, saying, "Hey buddy want some cigarettes?" Being drunk at the time, he 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 supersonic speed and penetrate the guy's skull. He simply wanted to injure his friend; he didn't think cigarettes would penetrate flesh as bullets do. This shows 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.
    • Then there was the Boyfriend-Blocking Dad who came at his daughter's boyfriend with a revolver and fired it at him — only to reveal he'd loaded it with blanks. Bad enough for this trope on its own, even worse when he then tries to demonstrate that it's "harmless" by placing the muzzle to his head and pulling the trigger, which causes the flash from the blank to propel a chunk of his own skull through his brain and kill him.
  • 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 the fact that if the woman had struck someone with the butt of the loaded, flintlock pistol, it would've gone off. Directly into HER.
  • In The Andy Griffith Show:
    • Barney Fife has accidentally discharged his revolver so many times that Andy now issues him only one round at a time, which he has to carry in his shirt pocket.
    • Andy presents an example of his own. When he's trying to scare a lazy handyman, Andy points a shotgun at the man's face several times while he pretends to clean it.
    • On one occasion, Andy faces down a criminal who had stolen Barney's gun. The criminal pulls the trigger on an empty chamber five times; when Andy arrests him he smugly remarks he knew Barney's gun would not be loaded. To demonstrate he pulls the trigger again, and is horrified to discover the gun was loaded with the one bullet. Andy immediately realizes how bad the situation actually was, and is so shaken that he nearly faints.
    • Worst of all is The Ditz Gomer Pyle — "And get that gun out of your mouth!"
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead has a notable scene where Kelly uses the barrel of a shotgun as a bong, filling it with smoke at the receiver end and putting the muzzle in her mouth. Pablo gives her a look that expresses how patently stupid this is. Justified as she's demonically possessed at this point, hoping to trick him into trying it so she can blast him.
  • 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.
    • In "Torn", Commander Adama throws a loaded gun on a table between Kara and Colonel Tigh, who are drunk and spreading sedition in the mess hall, causing them to jump back and angrily remark that there's a live round in the chamber. Adama responds with "The Reason You Suck" Speech, challenging them to shoot him as their actions are endangering his ship.
  • 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.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Leonard and Penny go out to a gun range for a date. They start kissing while Leonard still has the gun in his hand, and Leonard shoots himself in the foot. Thankfully, it only grazes his pinky toe.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Reckless crossbow accidents are seen or mentioned on a couple of occasions, like the Noodle Incident involving the death of Willow and Tara's pet cat. Justified as Scoobies (or ditzy vampires like Harmony) are basically fighting civilians. Even trained Slayers, however...
    Kendra: I'm an expert in all weapons.
    [bolt shoots out of the crossbow and breaks a lamp]
    Giles: Is everything alright?
    Buffy: Yeah, it's okay. Kendra killed the bad lamp.
  • 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.
    • In another episode a despondent Frasier takes a gun into Sam's office to threaten him with. Sam is nonplussed because it's a revolver and he can see that none of the chambers are loaded.
  • Happens frequently on the rare occasions the eponymous Chuck handles a gun. The first time, he drops it while trying to rescue Casey and Sarah, then stumbles on a windowsill with it drawn and pointed at the Big Bad before Knee-capping the scientist they're all trying to save. He doesn't get much better by the time he's officially issued his service sidearm; tucking it in his back pants pocket and sitting on it, then waving it around a CIA office when venting his frustration over how uncomfortable it is to carry to his new coworkers. He does become much more proficient in handling them later on. But that still doesn't stop him from accidentally shooting down Casey's helicopter with his own Desert Eagle in the series finale, when he fires a "warning shot" straight into the air in the middle of a crowded street.
  • During Eddie Izzard's show Circle, he discusses the deadly force of a monkey with a gun. And how effective it would be if let into Charlton Heston's house.
  • 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.
  • In a case of Strawman Has a Point, Stephen Colbert on his May 8th, 2014 show spoke with Jake Rush, a congressional candidate from Florida. While mocking Jake Rush's gun positions, Stephen pulls out his gun "Sweetness," and points the revolver at his own head. When an exasperated Jake Rush tries to correct Stephen, Colbert continues his comedic routine.
  • Community: In "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design," there's a ridiculous Gambit Pileup with everyone shooting guns loaded with blanks at each other in order to teach everyone else various lessons. Once everything is over and done with, a cop comes in, sees a guy waving a gun around, and shoots him dead... only for it to turn out that this was yet another lesson, this one about how it's a terrible idea to play with guns, blanks or not. Referenced again in "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism."
    Officer Cackowski: Say, you look familiar. Did I ever pretend to shoot a guy in front of you to teach you a lesson about gun safety?
    Annie: ...yes.
    Officer Cackowski: Knew it. Never forget a face.
  • 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!"
    • Another episode sees an especially impressive scenario when Sara, Nick, and Warrick look into the case of a teenager found dead in an abandoned warehouse who was shot by a single bullet, but the walls are absolutely riddled with bullet holes. Turns out, the teen and his idiot friends tried to make their own Jackass-style stunt called "Bamboo Russian Roulette", where they spun a machine pistol down on a bamboo pole suspended from the ceiling and tried to dodge the bullets as the gun's hair trigger pressed against the pole on the way down. The victim died after being struck by one of these bullets.
  • The District: A woman gets shot with no-one nearby in a subplot for one episode. Turns out some punk got a hold of a World War II gun and test-fired it by shooting down the apparently empty street.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Space Museum", there's all kinds of stupidity with the laser rifle the characters discover. First Ian (quite uncharacteristically) mimes shooting all the others with it, and later Vicki wanders around carrying it vertically under her arm with the end of the barrel tucked into her armpit.
    • In "The Gunfighters", probably as part of the story's general comic tone, the Doctor, Dodo, and Steven show ridiculous recklessness and ignorance in handling firearms, in contrast to other stories (especially since Steven was originally meant to have a far-future military background). In particular, there's the scene where Doc gives the Doctor a revolver, which the Doctor then repeatedly and unthinkingly points at both Doc and Kate and fails to react when they shove it away.
    • In the 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. If the script had followed real life, they should have had John Hurt show up shortly after... Unless you really want to die, you do not point anything that even remotely looks like a gun at a police officer. For any reason.
    • 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 from uncocking itself, or does he believe that the gun knows when he changes his mind? It shouldn't even be possible to do that. Considering that the gun in question is Wilf's old service revolver (and therefore impossible to Dramatic Gun Cock more than once) this is most likely a sound effect added for dramatic purpose rather than the Doctor actually doing the impossible (for a change).
    • 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.
    • Amy Pond's alternate universe skill with a gun did not carry over, as shown when she wildly swings around a revolver in "A Town Called Mercy". Her first accidental shot was no doubt because of her Dramatic Gun Cock earlier, but then it goes off a second time. Yes, she manages to have an accidental discharge with a single-action revolver.
      The Doctor: Everyone who is not an American, drop your gun!
    • In "Hell Bent", the at-the-end-of-his-rope Twelfth Doctor waves a gun at a room full of people, including the person he's trying to save, who is visibly unnerved. The General feels the need to mention the weapon has no stun setting.
  • One episode of Empty Nest has Carol almost kill Charlie by firing at him in the dark. (She'd bought a gun for safety after the house was robbed).
  • 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.
  • On an episode of ER, a husband and wife pair of dealers come to the hospital from a gun show where he got shot in the leg. The wife shows off the merchandise and tries to sell guns in the reception area, letting people handle non-functional samples. Desk clerk Jerry picks up a grenade launcher and at one point, playfully points it directly at the other receptionist, who yelps and ducks away. The wife laughs and assures her that it's perfectly safe because it isn't loaded... just as Jerry pulls the trigger and fires a grenade into the parking lot, where it blows up an ambulance. The very fact that the husband was shot at the gun show already demonstrates incredible carelessness on their parts, and there's considerable Fridge Horror that Jerry would have killed the other clerk and likely other people had he pulled the trigger earlier. Always assume a gun is loaded, even if you yourself just unloaded it, and never, ever point a gun at someone unless you intend to use it.
  • Evil: The young incel who Leland is grooming accidentally shot himself when he foolishly pointed a gun at his own head with his finger on the trigger. Leland rants at his stupidity on hearing this.
  • Pretty much everything Lester is shown doing with his shotgun in the flashback to when he purchased it in the Fargo episode "The Six Ungraspables". His wife remarks that he would be the only person capable of blowing his face off with an unloaded shotgun.
  • Straddling the line with Artistic License – Gun Safety, on the famous Farscape episode "Crackers Don't Matter", the normally pretty well-trained and cautious characters (most notably Aeryn Sun) end up committing egregious sins against firearms safety such as waving their guns around and even pointing her gun at her own head. This is largely to display their mental deterioration.
  • In one episode of Frasier, Niles buys a starter's pistol in order to make Maris feel better about home security. While he's demonstrating it to Martin, it predictably goes off in his hand. Though no-one was hurt, Frasier is understandably horrified:
    Niles: It's only a starter's pistol, there's no need to get snippy.
    Frasier: Oh, was I being snippy? I didn't realise it was too much to ask that there not be GUNPLAY IN MY LIVING ROOM!!
  • Game of Thrones: In "Beyond the Wall", Arya recalls to Sansa how one day, years earlier, she had found where Bran had left his bow, and a single arrow, out on the ground in the Winterfell courtyard, and started practicing herself, shooting the arrow at the target over and over until she could regularly hit the bullseye. It's lampshaded by her offhand comment that Ser Rodrik would have "cuffed" Bran for leaving the bow where he did, and then, in turn, subverted when she heard Ser Rodrik clapping behind her after she'd finished.
  • The Get Some In! episode "Flight" features a scene where the RAF National Servicemen are taken for their first target practice at a nearby RAF base's rifle range. One of the recruits, Matthew Lilley, does not place the butt of his rifle properly against his shoulder and is caught off guard by the recoil on his first shot; on his second shot, the gun jams, and in communicating this to his drill instructor, Corporal Marsh, he stands up and turns around, still holding the gun and causing his fellow airmen to scatter in terror. Marsh just manages to keep his cool as he directs Lilley to turn around, set the gun down gently, and step away from it before giving him a bollocking for endangering the lives of everyone else present.
  • The Golden Girls. Rose buys a gun for protection after the house is robbed. Late one night, she hears a noise and fires a shot, and only afterwards does she turn on the light to see that she's destroyed Blanche's Ming vase. Blanche's hysterical reaction — "You shot my vase!" — is played for laughs, but in truth, Rose could have injured or even killed Blanche or her date with her stupidity, as Sophia points out with a hilarious rant.
    Sophia: I manage to live eighty, eighty-one years. I survived two operations, pneumonia, a stroke. One night I'll belch and Stable Mabel here will blow my head off!
  • 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.
  • Horrible Histories did a "Stupid Death" segment on Clement Vallandigham, a 19th Century American lawyer who accidentally shot himself in court. He was representing a man accused of shooting and killing someone else in a bar fight, and was demonstrating that it would have been possible for the alleged victim to have accidentally shot himself. He thought the gun he was using as a prop was unloaded. It wasn't. He did prove his case though, and his client was freed.
    • Another segment actually shows two examples of this without guns, both involving Tudor archers. In one, the dead guy bet his friend that he couldn't shoot his hat out of his hand and got hit in the chest; in another, the bow got stuck, so the archer bent over to see what was wrong and accidentally shot himself in the head.
  • House:
    • House has been irresponsible with firearms — and potato shooters — more than once. The worst, however, happened after Wilson finally found a pistol that House owned to win an argument (long story). House convinces Wilson that the pistol is not, in fact, a firearm, but a prop gun that had belonged to a famous magician. House inserts the clip and cycles the action and then places the barrel to his head. This is enough to prove to Wilson that the gun is a prop, but the weapon is later revealed to be his father's very real M1911, and House was aiming it at himself with a round chambered.
    • He also once shot a corpse in the hospital morgue.
    • Handing surrendered handgun back to a man who had taken hostages, two of whom he had seriously injured has to count.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • The characters pick up a man they think is Moby. After some time in the car, he gets out his gun, explaining that he never leaves home without it, and proceeds to make elaborate hand gestures while holding it. After they drop him off, he steps back in, still holding the gun, to give them a word of New-Year's-Eve advice: "Safety first!"
    • In another episode, Marshall tells the group about how he was robbed, and Robin recommends he get "One of these", casually drawing a large handgun from her purse with her finger on the trigger, which she then waves around negligently several times. When the others react with understandable terror she assures them the safety is on, then looks closely at the gun, calmly says "Oh, wait" and then puts the safety on.
    • In yet another episode, she chases her boyfriend's hippy friends out of the apartment by pointing a gun at them, something you should never, ever do, even with a gun you know for a fact isn't loaded and/or has the safety on.
    • Robin is a gun enthusiast who routinely loses her guns, accidentally points a gun at another character while making vague threats, and apparently goes to the shooting range while blackout drunk (a good way to get banned for life at a real range). This is because it isn't how she actually acts; it's how an uber-liberal, previously established Unreliable Narrator (Ted) thinks she acts.
  • In The IT Crowd, Douglas Reynholm, having inherited Reynholm Industries after his father's suicide, discovers a revolver in his late father's desk drawer, and proceeds to check if it's loaded by putting the barrel in his mouth and pulling the trigger five times. He then loads the gun and, within a few minutes, manages to shoot himself in the leg while trying to conceal it. He truly is Too Dumb to Live. Moss also counts at the end of the episode, where he drives off the bullies in the park by waving the weapon over his head screaming "I've got a gun! I've got a ruddy gun!"
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia plays this for comedy.
    • A Running Gag has Frank always carrying a snub-nose revolver, which he whips out at the slightest provocation and points at people, fully cocked and with his finger on the trigger. It's even gone off on a few occasions. The gang occasionally yank it out of his hand.
    • In "The Gang Gets Gun Fever", the gang purchases a pistol and handle it with laughably dangerous abandon. In one sequence, Mac waves the gun around while he and Dennis walk down a public hallway, then he points it at Dennis and says, "Pow pow pow!" Then he drops the ammo clip and fumbles to put it back in. Dennis eventually snatches the firearm out of Mac's hands.
    • The Sequel Episode, "Gun Fever Too: Still Hot," shows that the characters haven't learned much since the first season. A highlight is a scene in which Dee carelessly waves around an AR-15 at a gun shop and repeatedly points it at the owner (who treats it as though it's loaded and tries to guide her aim away). Dennis and Dee are also denied a purchase from said shop because a background check reveals their history of felonious behavior.
    • Frank's reckless gun habits are taken to their logical conclusion in the Season 16 episode "Frank Shoots Every Member of the Gang." In addition to shooting everyone in the bar, he also attempts to open a can of anchovies with the firearm and almost eats it after dipping the tip in ketchup.
  • 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 L Word: Kit leaves her gun in her coat, and her little niece Angelica gets ahold of it. Kit gets it safely away from her but is distraught over what could have happened.
  • This caused the death of one of MacGyver (1985)'s childhood friends, as shown during a flashback in "Blood Brothers".
  • 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.
  • Pretty much any time Frank Burns gets hold of a firearm in M*A*S*H. He's managed to shoot himself in the foot and also shoot BJ.
    • Klinger nearly got himself shot in "What's Up, Doc?", when a wounded lieutenant grabbed a pistol and took Winchester hostage, demanding transport home to Ohio. Hoping to get home too, Klinger volunteered to take Winchester's place, only for the hostage-taker to become woozy and confused from his previous injury; still determined to reach Toledo, Klinger put the gun back in the disoriented man's hand and led him out to catch the waiting helicopter, apparently never stopping to consider that a loaded weapon in a half-conscious person's fumbling hands was pointed at his back.
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, during the third season, features Miss Fisher teaching Dot about common weapons, having laid out a whole table of them. Dot picks up one and points directly towards the nearest portal, through which Phryne's aunt Prudence immediately appears.
    Aunt Prudence: MUST everyone in this household brandish a weapon?
    Dot: Sorry Miss...
  • 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 to climb down some stairs to assist Natalie, that she was okay...and unintentionally shot Monk in his uninjured leg.
  • 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.
  • MythBusters: Often, Adam does a demonstration of the use of guns with a stand-in pistol (or two), Lampshading times when he's being more reckless than usual with comments like "I'm shooting my cameraman's knees out right now...."
  • From episode 3 of Narcos; though the camera is situated so we only see their faces, Pablo is heavily implied to be using the barrel of his pistol to stimulate his mistress' lady parts during foreplay. Very reckless indeed.
  • NCIS: S10 Ep 16 "Detour" has Palmer (no actual firearms training) with a handgun, which he rather casually waves around. Fortunately, Ducky (military training from many decades past) carefully redirects it away from his face.
  • Bull shot himself in the foot in an episode of Night Court.
  • 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 while wearing the holster with the gun in it. When people complain about this he gets irritated and tries to twirl the gun. The gun discharges and he almost shoots Andy in the head. Andy's eardrum 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 an 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.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Swap Week", one of the swapped items at Madison High School is a shotgun . . . fortunately unloaded.
    • First, Mr. Conklin practices aiming and shooting it at the unlocked door to his inner office. He is badly startled when his daughter Harriet walks through that door:
    Harriet (pretending to be shot): Oh, you shot me!
    Mr. Conklin: Harriet, don't you know better than to aim yourself at a man holding a gun!
    • Later on, Mr. Conklin trades the shotgun (amongst other things) to Walter Denton for an interest in his jalopy. Walter casually carries it around the school along with some other bartered goods.
  • Jefferson in Once Upon a Time seems to have little knowledge or regard for gun safety, waving his pistol around and once deliberately pointing it at Emma's head when she's not looking. Justified in that he has no apparent background in gun usage, and is more than a little crazy at the time.
  • An episode of Peep Show has Mark and Jeremy (mostly Jeremy) do this with an antique gun one of them inherits from a relative. They point it at each other and themselves, all with their finger on the trigger, completely as jokes. And then, it happens: they find out the gun had been decommissioned long ago and couldn't possibly fire. However, they thought they were handling a loaded gun irresponsibly, which arguably still counts.
  • 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.
  • Showed up occasionally in The Practice, where lawyers would use evidence guns as props to help make their point, doing things that would never be allowed in court, such as pointing a gun at the jury and pretending to fire it, handing an assault rifle to a firearms expert so he can demonstrate what "spray fire" looks like and, most egregiously, handing a gun to a murder defendant and making him pull the trigger five times. Even though these guns are obviously not loaded, no judge would ever let them do this.
  • Tragically deconstructed on an episode of Quincy, M.E.. The eponymous character spends the latter half of the episode trying to keep a confiscated revolver from reentering the hands of its rightful owner, who has two small children. As luck would have it, the owner proceeds to leave it lying, fully loaded, safety off (if it had one; revolvers typically don't), on his bedroom closet floor. His son finds it, thinks its a toy gun, and shoots his sister. Gory Discretion Shot to credits.
  • Real Humans: While searching for Mimi, Max comes upon a gun and carries it to Leo, asking "What should I do with this?" — pointing it straight at him. Subverted in that Leo knows exactly that Max is only doing that because that's the only way he's ever seen a gun carried, and has no intention of harming him; so he casually replies, "Put it here."
  • Riverdale: In Season One, Alice finds a gun in the house and understandably freaks out about it. However, she does so by carelessly waving the gun around in front of herself and Betty and not bothering to check if it has the safety on or if it's loaded.
  • 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.
  • Saturday Night Live: Parodied in the sketch Picture With Dad, in which a father poses for a photo where he "jokingly" threatens his daughter's prom date (sadly a real life trend) with a shotgun. Naturally he shoots his own dick off while posing.
  • Used often in Sherlock.
    • In "The Great Game", following an intensely stressful confrontation with his arch-nemesis, Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes agitatedly waves around a loaded gun without the safety on, then proceeds to absent-mindedly scratch his head with it.
    • In the same episode, he fires a pistol at the living room wall...of a terraced house. Firstly, the noise might have alerted his neighbours, upon which he could've expected a visit from the Metropolitan Police (who, for the record, are explicitly stated to be itching to prosecute him for something).note  Secondly, over-penetration: the very real risk of the bullets passing through the wall and hitting something (or someone) in other rooms/buildings. Not to mention that he then fires it behind his back, doesn't look where he's aiming, has the gun lying around loaded, chambered, and armed, holds it loosely, and lets it wobble around after ceasing fire, and points it at John while handing it back.
    • In "A Scandal in Belgravia", he disarms a man and flips the gun through the air before casually catching and aiming it while holding the trigger. In contrast, Irene Adler, in the same scene, points a pistol at her assailant with her finger clearly off the trigger — just like the assailants themselves were doing moments earlier. (The assailants being CIA operatives, justifying their knowledge of proper firearm handling.) He makes things worse by going outside and firing the gun into the air a few times (to summon the police, because he can't be bothered to just dial 999), apparently unaware of the numerous cases of people wounded or killed by stray shots and celebratory gunfire.
    • In "The Reichenbach Fall", Sherlock shoots twice into the air in a highly-populated area, presses the loaded gun to his best friend's head with his finger on the trigger, and later just drops it onto the cobblestoned street while running away.
  • 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.
  • The Spy plays this for drama. The spoiled idiot nephew of a powerful general is introduced when he drunkenly hands his loaded service pistol to a bartender and demands that the man point it at him and pose like a famous movie star. In another scene, he points his gun at the protagonist and threatens him, but it turns out that he's only joking. The protagonist lambastes him for pointing a weapon at him in his own home.
  • Stargate Atlantis: In the episode "Common Ground", "Todd" handles a human firearm in an extremely reckless way while he and Sheppard are escaping. This is actually realistic though since "Todd" is an alien from another galaxy, so there's no way he would know how to use human firearms safely. Also, keep in mind the handheld weapons his race (the Wraith) use stun only. They use humans for food, and the feeding process depends on them being alive, so killing them outright with weapons would be counterproductive. He's simply handling the human firearm the way he would handle one of his race's weapons. The series averts this with the human characters, who always use weapons the proper way.
  • 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.
  • 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 to not give away future information. Similarly, in City on the Edge of Forever, a homeless man robs Bones while he's unconscious, and promptly vaporizes himself with the doctor's phaser.
  • In the 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 (an old witch traded bodies with her) while holding the gun and ends up shooting his wife.
  • An episode of Three's Company had Jack buying a revolver, proceeding to be his usual clumsy self with it (tossing it from hand to hand while claiming it was unloaded), and dropping it resulting in a discharge.
  • A Time Trax episode has Darien go on a tour through the wilderness with a group in order to find the week's criminal from the future and send him back. Due to plastic surgery, he has no idea what the guy looks like. He accidentally drops his gun, which looks like a keyless car alarm remote. Another guy picks it up and says he has seen something like this before. Darien is suspicious (even though the device is disguised as a common object), and the guy ends up pointing it at Darien and pressing the button while saying "Beam Me Up, Scotty!". Darien is stunned for a few minutes but is fine afterwards. Of course, one of the buttons doses the target with a compound necessary for time travel to which a person can only be safely exposed to twice before dying. Had the guy pressed that button, the show would've been over.
  • The hosts of Top Gear 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.
  • 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.
  • Touched by an Angel, someone breaking just about all the rules — carelessly waving a loaded WW2-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?
  • In the final episode of the first season of Twin Peaks, there's a love scene between Bobby and Shelly that has them playing around with a pistol in a truly stupid way while fantasising about killing Shelly's husband Leo, including Bobby sticking the pistol barrel first down Shelly's cleavage with his finger on the trigger. It comes in here as it isn't played as deliberately creepy sexual foreplay, but as both of them simply being completely blind to the danger.
  • 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.
  • Whodunnit? (UK): In "Diamonds Are Almost Forever", a pair of diamond merchants who obviously have no experience with firearms are putting a gun in the safe. One pulls it from his pocket and hands it to his boss barrel first before realising his mistake and turning it handle first. His boss first sensibly holds the gun sideways, before forgetting and poiting it at his subordinate while gesturing to make a point.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?: One version of '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.
  • In the first episode of Wild Boys, Jack wakes up to find Mary's young son Tom pointing Jack's own gun at his (Jack's) head. Jack is understandably angry.
  • 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 nearby, and, in another, Dante accidentally shoots a member of his own stickup crew, and probably never even realises he did so.
  • X-Play: Adam Sessler went to a SWAT training session, and got chewed out for having his finger on the trigger.
  • Yellowjackets: In "Bear Down" there are two instances:
    • In a flashback, Natalie's dad is beating her mom. Natalie grabs a shotgun to stop him. Nat's dad mocks her for trying to shoot him with the safety on. He mock-reassures her mother that "It's perfectly okay to keep a gun in the house, if your kid's too stupid to know how to use it." He blows his head off shortly after.
    • Coach Ben is familiar with guns but is is no physical condition to go out hunting, so he conducts tryouts among the other survivors to see who is best suited to be sent out hunting. When Nat calls Travis by his Embarrassing Nickname, he points the loaded gun at her. Coach sternly tells him to never do that again.

  • "The Hunting Song" by Tom Lehrer, from Songs 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!
    You just stand there looking cute...
    And when something moves, you shoot!"
  • Leave it to Lynyrd Skynyrd to write, in "Saturday Night Special", the classic song verse about this trope. A few lines later, the self-inflicted variation is discussed.
    Big Jim's been drinkin' whiskey
    And playing poker on a losin' night.
    Pretty soon, Big Jim starts a thinkin'
    Somebody been cheatin' and lyin'.
    So Big Jim commences to fightin'
    (I wouldn't tell you no lie )
    And Big Jim done grab his pistol
    Shot his friend right between the eyes.
  • The protagonist of "18 and Life" by Skid Row accidentally shoots and kills another teenager while playing around with a gun and ends up in jail for the rest of his life for it. This was, sadly, Ripped from the Headlines.
  • 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 horseman and his hanging for manslaughter.
  • The album Off the Deep End by "Weird Al" Yankovic has the song "Trigger Happy", which is this trope in song form. The narrator speaks of accidentally shooting family members and pets, shooting while drinking, and always having a loaded gun on them, ready to shoot as soon as a situation arises. In the style of The Beach Boys, no less.
  • Discussed in Mark Chesnutt's "Bubba Shot the Jukebox." Bubba shoots out the jukebox in a crowded bar for playing a song that made him cry, and the police charge him with reckless discharge of a gun. Bubba is outraged at the insinuation.
    Reckless discharge of a gun
    That's what the officers are claimin'
    Bubba hollered out "Reckless?! Hell!
    I hit just where I was aimin'!"

    Music Videos 
  • In the video for Jim Carrey's comedy song "Cold Dead Hand", which mocks pro-gun advocates and Charlton Heston in particular, shows several clips of Heston (played by Carrey) doing incredibly unsafe things with a shotgun, including simulating masturbation with it, before finally shooting his own foot off.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Back in '80s WWF, Dr David Schultznote  had a vignette where he showed Lord Alfred Hayes and Vince McMahon his gun collection. First he pointed to a loaded rifle which he kept unsecured and mounted on his wall, then took a series of long guns out of his cupboard and negligently waved them near Al and Vince, with the barrels pointed right at their heads, as the pair ducked and backed away from him. Eventually, a shotgun he assumed was empty went off in his hand. Vince, who at that point was still the dorky Face announcer actually shouted at him in anger, with his "Mr McMahon" voice bleeding through.

  • Assassins: Sara 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 handbag, 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.
  • 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).
  • Hedda Gabler has the title character absently firing off inherited pistols offstage out of sheer boredom.

    Theme Parks 
  • The skipper in the JAWS ride at Universal Studios is not exactly good with the grenade launcher, completely missing the shark every time until the ride's finale. Then there's also the fact that the skipper at one point accidentally shoots a gas dock, creating a wall of fire. Additionally, the skipper will sometimes let a kid hold the launcher for a moment.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Orks Give the same consideration to gun safety as they do to any form of safety; meaning none at all. Orks have no sense of friendly fire since as they say "if it hits, it's an enemy; if it misses, it's a friendly" and as a result, they really don't care if they hit their own. Additionally, they treat their guns like clubs that just happen to shoot bullets, pair that with the fact ork gun engineering is interesting at best meaning guns may go off by simply hitting them hard enough and you can get some hilarious results from it.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Lucca of Chrono Trigger has moments that are either this or Artistic License – Gun Safety.note When she builds her Infinity +1 Gun, which concentrates eons worth of solar power into each shot, the first thing she does is point it all around the room, miming firing, including directly at her observing friends.
  • The Militant Squad from Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, reflecting their nature as untrained civilians, would often display poor firearm responsibility; they will either look down directly at the barrel of the gun to check their ammo, or, out of boredom, pick up a rock and use their rifle to swing it as a baseball bat, with the handguard acting as its handle.
  • 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?"
  • Genshin Impact: The promotional art for the "Muskets and Roses" event shows Ayaka holding a gun with her finger on the trigger. While it’s revealed to be a prop gun, as Chevreuse explains to her in the event, you must never put your finger on the trigger of a gun, even if it is a prop gun.
  • 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.
  • Ricardo Diaz in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has an unsettling tendency to wave his gun around randomly, which generally results in Tommy recoiling whenever the gun points in his general direction. Justified by the strong implication that Diaz is coked out of his mind during his cutscene appearances. There's also one scene where Diaz scratches his crotch with his gun.
  • Half-Life:
    • In the original Half-Life, Gordon can twirl a loaded revolver in front of vital characters or even pull the trigger back far enough to raise the hammer while pointing it at them (they're part of idle animations, and all conversations are in-game so you'll see it a lot) which almost guarantees a friendly fire incident or six. Half-Life 2 makes Gordon lower his weapon automatically when pointing the crosshairs at a friendly NPC so it no longer applies.
    • Half-Life: Alyx: Before Alyx heads to the Quarantine Zone, Russell tells her she's going to need a gun and gives her one... by throwing it onto the hood of a car from a two-story window.
      Russell: Don't worry, it's unloaded!
      (He tosses the pistol, which hits the roof of the car and discharges, destroying the windshield)
      Russell: It's unloaded now!
  • An early cutscene in kill.switch have you coming across a mook being reprimanded by his sergeant for pointing his gun in the wrong direction. It's hilarious.
    "Hey, is your gun loaded? BECAUSE YOU'RE POINTING IT RIGHT AT ME! YOU IDIOT!"
  • Metal Gear Solid's Ocelot, particularly in the third game, turns this into a form of art. He twirls his guns obsessively, aims them around with no concept of trigger discipline, and juggles three at a time while randomly aiming and firing to grill a man for information.
  • In Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, Artyom will sometimes do some incredibly stupid/funny things when the Idle Animation begin to play, such as repeatedly tossing his Bastard Gun — which is cobbled together from half a dozen rusting weapons — into the air high enough for him to look up for it, only for it to smack him in the face as it falls. Most of his other reckless usage is him simply breaking his weapons — playing with the selector switch until it falls off (before smacking it back in place), tweaking the adjustable stock on his shotgun which causes the gun to break in half, et cetera.
  • Mortal Kombat 9 sees a Tarkatan unloading automatic shotguns recently delivered to Outworld, as part of a deal between Kano and Shao Kahn. As he takes one out, he points it at Baraka, finger on the trigger. (To be fair, it's more than likely that's the first time he's ever seen a gun.) Baraka catches this, yanks the gun away, and angrily shouts, "That is not a toy!"
  • Red Dead Redemption features Edgar Ross handing John Marston a handgun by shoving it barrel-first into Marston's chest. With his finger on the trigger. Justified as Ross hates Marston so much that he honestly wouldn't care if he accidentally killed him, and it would have saved him the trouble of tracking Marston down and killing him later.
  • Resident Evil: Early games had this in droves, though Resident Evil: 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.
  • Second Sight: Justified on the cover as the protagonist is mentally unstable, possibly even suicidal. His firearms instructions are also limited to one day of basic training, after which he is thrust into a hot zone.
  • Vampyr downplays this trope; while guns aren't misused (at least on screen), the ambulance driver at Pembroke Hospital runs an illegal store where he sells guns to patients. The main protagonist can point out how careless and dangerous it is to smuggle guns from inside a hospital.
  • Yakuza: Dead Souls: During the fight with the Tsuchigumo Prototype, Majima and Akiyama's HEAT action against the mutant is for the latter to call the former's attention and throws a grenade while Majima preps his semi-auto shotgun as a baseball bat and smack it straight to the monster's mouth.

    Web Animation 
  • Cheat Commandos features a scene of the Commandos shooting each other while wearing a Bulletproof Vest for fun. Later on, Gunhaver shoots Flashfight and claims "Nah, it's cool. He's wearin' that bullet-proof vest from earlier." (He wasn't.)
  • Girl-chan in Paradise: "It's out of bullets, anyway!" "Then that means... I... can do this!" (BANG)
  • In the MMD video "Go Home Homura, You Are Drunk", an apparently drunken Homura dances around to the tune of "Levan Polkka", firing her guns off in all directions, and in the end, throws a grenade into the sky, bringing Kyubey to earth and setting him ablaze.

    Web Comics 
  • Discussed in Amya #4.08. Faye points the (empty) flintlock pistol her father just gave her as a self-defense weapon at Accel's head.
    Accel: [panicking] What are you doing!?
    Kaden: That's never a wise idea, Faye — even if it is unloaded.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del: Ethan demonstrates why Gun Safety rules exist.
  • Evil Plan: Firing 12 handguns at once using telekinetic powers without seeing where you're aiming goes poorly for Tal A Kinesis. He gets rightfully chewed out for it.
  • Exterminatus Now: Virus has to keep pointing the scientist's gun somewhere else.
  • Grrl Power: Maxima points her gun at Sydney to intimidate the latter. She justifies this when called on it by saying that as she's a Flying Brick, even if the gun somehow managed to go off despite being a single-shot pistol that she doesn't carry bullets for, she's fast and strong enough that she could snatch the bullet out of the air before it got anywhere near someone. She's also the commanding officer—the officer in charge of the firing range insists that absolutely no one else is allowed to do that, no matter their powers.
  • In Homestuck, a young Jade unintentionally nearly shoots herself when playing with flintlock pistols.
    • "This is exactly why babies should not be allowed to dual-wield flintlock pistols."
  • Lackadaisy: In a background extra strip, Rocky shoots himself in the ear when waving around his pistol, giving him the hole in the ear seen in the regular strip.
  • Leftover Soup: the notes once made mention of a TTRPG character of the artist's, who was kicked out of Jedi Academy for failing one of their most important rules: "if your lightsaber doesn't turn on immediately, do not look directly into the focusing crystal while shaking it".
  • Questionable Content: Marten doesn't observe taser safety and unintentionally electrocutes himself. Of course, he was drunk.
  • Schlock Mercenary: If you know your sidearm is barely more than annoying to someone wearing low-profile armor, using it to get someone's attention is all too tempting.
    Footnote: The advent of low-profile carbonan armored uniforms in the mid-29th century served to underscore the importance of fire discipline in organizations where those uniforms were standard issue. It became entirely too tempting to tap an officer on the shoulder from fifty yards away to get his attention. After all, shouting takes effort, ammo is cheap, and shooting your CO in the back never gets old.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Alt-Bun-Bun invokes this trope, enough that Torg yells, "Quit pointing that empty gun at me, it's not really for making points in conversation!" Justified since Alt-Bun-Bun comes from a dimension without guns (or much in the way of violence at all).
  • In Spider-Man Unlimited (2023), a Maggia goon tries to scare F.E.A.S.T. into listening to him by firing his gun into the air. Everyone else present asks what the hell is wrong with him for waving a gun around so carelessly. Spider-Boy punishes him with a bite full of paralyzing venom.
  • Gone with the Blastwave; Pyro gets his hands on a rifle after he and Crosshairs link up with another squad of Reds. Crosshairs asks if he knows how to use one, which Pyro mockingly says "of course"... before slinging the rifle over his shoulder and Knee Capping a passing friendly when he accidentally pulls the trigger.
    • In another scene, Pyro and Crosshairs fire their guns straight up into the air, and see whose bullet takes the longest to come down. Neither of them seems particularly concerned that the bullets both land between them, and that they are standing less than two feet apart and could easily have been hit and killed. Worse, the dialogue indicates that betting on this is a frequent form of entertainment for them.

    Web Original 
  • The Onion has this article about 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, (seemingly) completely untrained, points her weapon directly at another police officer, finger on the trigger, and discusses shooting him. However, later in the story, it is made clear that she is very well versed in firearms use and was dead serious about shooting him if he didn't get out of her way.

    Web Videos 
  • The members of Channel Awesome are all extremely reckless with their weapons
    • In Kickassia, Bennett the Sage at one point wipes a tear off his own cheek with an Uzi.
    • The Nostalgia Critic carries a handgun which he is prone to firing wildly in a residential area.
    • In Atop the Fourth Wall, '90s Kid's first reaction to even seeing a weapon is to pick it up and begin firing randomly while shouting "Awesome" at the top of his lungs. Fortunately, he's an honorary graduate of the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.
    • Linkara himself has been known to wave the magic gun around unsettlingly.
    • The pinnacle of this is the review of Alone in the Dark where various TGWTG reviewers fire an assortment of guns in every direction in pitch blackness, parodying an (in)famous scene in the movie.
  • An early episode of Ian is Bored shows Ian, Anthony, and some other friends going to a gun range. Ian holds a loaded pistol in a ridiculous fashion For the Lulz, one of their friends loads his gun in an overly dramatic way, and another points a live gun at the person holding the camera.
  • Iraqveteran8888 have a regular series on gun facts, in which they discuss safety, and once admitted that they didn't practice safety to the degree they should, and are going to improve their commitment to gun safety. They also have their regular Gun Gripes series, in which they go on for some time about safety problems, be it with badly maintained guns, lack of training, lack of common sense, lack of responsibility, and utter horror stories of people handling guns dangerously right in the presenter's faces. Examples:
    • The woman who claimed her new revolver wouldn't fire, bringing it into the store (the show operates out of a gun store the presenters work in) still loaded, sweeping the staff with it, and handing it over to the staff for testing. It functioned flawlessly, meaning it would have killed them if the trigger had been pulled at the right time. She didn't know you have to pull the trigger.
    • Twice, people have shot themselves in the arse by Mexican-carrying loaded 1911 pistols cocked and locked, which is a problem with that exposed hammer which can be triggered when the hammer is caught on objects.
    • More than once, people have failed to read the instructions sufficiently to load magazines correctly; multiple times the rounds have been loaded backwards. If there is any obstruction in the chamber or bore, theoretically the round could fire, and who knows what could be blown off you?
    • At least one large coffee jar per month is filled with live rounds ejected from weapons brought in for servicing, customising, or to sell or trade. These weapons were sweeping the staffs bodies all the time the weapons were being carried in. They always say it isn't loaded, but the staff checks it themselves (some customers actually become offended by this) and when the slide is racked, or manual actions worked, suddenly a live round flies out of the ejection port.
    • One man decided to buy some 12 gauge deer slugs to celebrate the 4th of July with. He didn't know the things come down. Must have thought they go into orbit or something.
    • One man picked a shotgun off a rack and pointed it at his buddy in jest. In the words of the late Barry:
      Barry: Uh-uh. Don't do that. I see him doing that again ah'm'o tase him.
    • The episode "Range Jerks" discussed men who take tiny girls who have never fired a gun before to a range and show them how manly they are by handing them a gun so big its recoil is more like thrust, thinking that if he can shoot it when she cannot, he'll look more badass to her. Usually, he can't shoot it either, but the point is that the girl will be hurt by the gun; in one case one was killed as the snub-nosed .500 revolver she was handed to fire doubled back on her, pulling its own trigger against her finger whilst pointed at her face. Others include people who sight down the barrels of pistol-grip shotguns held up to their faces, and end up having their faces rearranged; and one man who fired a Desert Eagle with the breech up to his face, the slide driving part of his facial bones fatally backwards into his brain.
    • The episode "Range Ninjas" discussed people who shoot at ranges like they are in video games. Many ranges have a rate of fire of one round per second, for safety. Range ninjas fire as fast as they can pull the trigger; even "bump-firing" — in an indoor range.
    • There is a constant struggle to promote muzzle discipline among customers. They never seem to learn. Daily, the staff has to deal with customers pointing guns right at them. One woman was at a local range and had a stovepipe in her Glock, suddenly deciding to step back and walk up to the range safety officer, pointing the gun at him and working the trigger over and over, yelling due to wearing earmuffs "WHY AIN'T IT GOIN' BANG?"
    • "This Gripe" has Eric and Barry discussing unintentional discharges they've had, and why you always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, wherever practical. Eric tells of how he once shot a target pistol inside his mother's house and demonstrated to a superior officer in Iraq that the weapon he was in charge of shouldn't have a round in the chamber, as it is an open-bolt weapon — the hard way. Barry tells of walls, floors, and cupboards he'd shot over the '70s and early '80s when he was "full o' whiskey an' beans and didn't care about anything". One customer had a .45 discharge in his hand and ended up shooting his .357 revolver in the trigger guard, twisting the whole frame.
  • Jake and Amir: in "Ransom", Amir is convinced that the gun he wants to fire at his head isn't loaded (it is) and it's only thanks to Jake pushing it out of the way that nobody gets hurt.
  • The Spoony Experiment: The Spoony One has an unlocked closet full of various guns which he occasionally leaves lying around loaded and has attempted to train an easily distracted and playful dog to retrieve for him.
  • In the Arby 'n' the Chief movie, Skyler Loveheart enters a dramatic over the top chase with Master Chief with a handgun when Master Chief pretty much wastes all his invested money on a Machinima project that is incredibly short, and really bad. However, his eccentric personality results in him firing rapidly with little to no consistent aim at any possible moment. Considering he's running at break-neck speed, screaming at the top of his lungs, waving his arms wildly, thus results in some exceedingly reckless gun-handling. At one point, he even crashes into a wall, falls down, and as he gets up, he discharges the pistol into his own leg.

    Western Animation 
  • 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."
  • The episode, "Hunting Trip" of Beavis And Butthead features quite a bit of this when the boys take Tom Anderson's hunting rifle without his knowing. Due to the rifle being a single shot, and the boys insufficient knowledge of proper firearm safety, or usage, the only injury that happens is to Beavis who is hit by the rifle's strong recoil.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Averted in "OK at the Gunfight Corral". Some time after the Planeteers follow the villains into the past (long story), Wheeler shows off his gun-twirling skills with a revolver. Kwame worries that he might accidentally shoot himself, until Greedly's henchman accidentally spills the beans that the gun is empty.
    Wheeler tests out the gun provided to him.
    Ma-Ti: He is very good!
    Kwame: I hope he does not shoot himself...
    Henchman: Can't. He ain't got no bullets. ...Ooops!
    Wheeler: Huh!? (loses his grip on the gun, which flies and conks Greedly on the head)
  • This exchange from Duckman:
    Duckman: Did I ever tell you my dad's last words to me?
    Cornfed: Mm-hmm. "Careful, son, I don't think the safety's on."
    Duckman: Before that!
  • Gargoyles: This is the plot-driver of "Deadly Force". 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 came from a period with no firearms... but Elisa, an NYPD detective, had left her sidearm, holster and gun belt unattended in another room from where she was (she admits later that she was careless and 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. It also becomes the key to their respective and collective Character Development: Elisa thereafter unloads and locks away her service weapon when not in use, while using guns irresponsibly or for evil purposes becomes a Berserk Button for Broadway.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Not surprisingly, ponies are not versed in basic gun safety. A non-lethal example occurs in "Yakity-Sax" when Applejack peers down the barrel of Pinkie Pie's party cannon after it just gave a weak burst and gets a faceful of confetti for her troubles.
  • In Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf, Vanna Pyra shoots Dracula in the face with the starting pistol.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the 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. The apple is in his mouth.
      Krusty: Guns are not toys! They're for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face!"
    • "Homer the Vigilante" has a scene where Homer's neighborhood watch somehow gets their hands on a bunch of pump shotguns, and start cocking them and pointing them around in Homer's front hall with their fingers on the triggers—at one point, Homer even looks down the barrel of the fully-cocked shotgun. When Marge steps in and points out that this seems too dangerous, Homer says they're responsible adults who can be trusted to handle firearms... then, in the next ten seconds, Moe, Captain McCallister, Principal Skinner, Moe again, and Bart all have their guns accidentally discharge in sequence.
    • 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 ringed around his gun barrel, which is pointing directly into his mouth. It then goes off, but by some miracle (possibly due to the recoil) the bullet goes skywards instead, leaving him with a bullethole in the brim of his hat. He says "Wooooah, that was close!", before immediately continuing to munch on the donuts.
    • 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.
    • Wiggum also uses the butt of his gun to crack nuts open and then shoots one of them when he is unsuccessful.
    • Wiggum scratches his ear with the barrel of his gun when he points out Homer Simpson is that stupid cop off the TV.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • Louis, Count of Soissons, on the battlefield of La Marfée, when the battle was almost won, asked for some water and tried to lift the visor of his helmet with the barrel of a loaded pistol, with predictable results.
  • American lawyer Clement Vallandigham was representing a man who was believed to have killed another man. Vallandigham argued the other man had in fact shot himself; to demonstrate this, he selected a pistol he believed to be unloaded, placed it in his pocket, and began a re-enactment of what he proposed had occurred - during which, well, you can guess. He died a day later, his last words reportedly being to affirm his belief in Predestination, presumably putting the blame on God for the whole messnote . His client was not found guilty as a result, although ironically enough he would be shot to death in another barroom brawl just four years later.
  • Actor Jon-Erik Hexum killed himself on the set of the series Cover Up by playing with a .44 Magnum handgun. Joking around during a delay in filming, he put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. Because the gun was loaded with blank cartridges, Hexum evidently thought it was harmless, but he was still setting off a gunpowder explosion next to his head. The detonation shattered his skull and drove a fragment of it into his brain, wounding him fatally.
  • "A youth who can't hit a cathedral at thirty yards with a Gatling gun in three-quarters of an hour, can take up an old empty musket and bag his mother every time at a hundred." - Mark Twain
  • The page quote (allegedly) comes from the incident that led to Terry Kath's death. He was cleaning a pistol, and when one of his friends was worried about it, Kath pointed out that the magazine wasn't in the gun to reassure everyone. He showed them that there weren't any bullets in the magazine, then put it back in, put it against his head, and pulled the trigger. There was a bullet in the chamber.
  • Cop sitting on a shotgun.
  • Alice Cooper claims that the one time he met Elvis Presley, Elvis handed him a gun and ordered Cooper to point it at him. Elvis then apparently disarmed and pinned Cooper to demonstrate self-defence techniques. Even if the gun wasn't loaded, that was a truly insane thing to do.
  • Invoked in a Penn & Teller routine where they do their "Bullet Catch" magic act, in which they describe all of the basic rules of gun safety and go on to "violate" all of them, culminating with both Penn and Teller in a pseudo-Mexican Standoff until they fire at each other. (In one documentary, "50 Greatest Magic Tricks", Penn emphasises that they ensure safety with a rigid series of checks before and during the routine and a stage manager with the power to call it off if anything goes off-script.)
  • Russian soldiers have been photographed using PPSH 41s as stools to this very day (where it is used mostly ceremonially). Worse, for this to work the magazine is the seat.
  • Stories of children accidentally shooting themselves with their parents' firearms are sadly too numerous to mention, but there is an even worse subset of young children mistaking their mothers' hot-pink "designer" pistols for squirt guns. While full responsibility lies with the parents, one could argue the recklessness of gun manufacturers as well. In the United States, toy guns are required by law to have bright coloration somewhere on them to indicate that they're toys (usually a bright orange muzzle cap at a bare minimum), so making a real gun look like a toy to a child who doesn't know better often has tragic consequences.note 
  • In the summer of 2020, a social media fad emerged where people, ostensibly (but not always) right-wing Americans, would point loaded pistols at their own genitals and take a photo or film themselves repeatedly flicking or lightly pressing the trigger. One unidentified man actually did manage to blast his testicles into a pulp by accidentally pulling the trigger.
  • No matter how cool she thought it might have looked, this woman quickly found out that you can't use your chest to holster a freshly-fired derringer.
  • In June 2020, after a Black Lives Matter protest had forced access into their St. Louis gated private community, Mark and Patricia McCloskey ran out to confront protestors, ostensibly to protect their home from vandalism. He was armed with rifle, she with a small-caliber pistol. They both proceeded to wave their guns recklessly, pointing them at protestors and at each other with zero trigger discipline, Mr. McCloskey aiming his rifle from the hip, and both looking like they would drop their weapon at the slightest disturbance. No one was harmed during the incident.
  • The game of Russian Roulette definitely qualifies, even if the player is hoping to be one of the lucky ones who pulls the trigger on an empty chamber instead of the loaded one.
  • Armed Forces around the world are very likely to have some variation on the saying, "There is no such thing as an accidental discharge, there is only a negligent discharge." If you are a soldier, airman, sailor, marine, or any other service member, and your weapon discharges when you did not mean for it to happen, you cannot protest that it was an accident; you are assumed to have been reckless and therefore negligent, and most of the arguments that a civilian might make before a court in similar circumstances are barred to you. If the weapon was poorly maintained, that's also your fault, because you are supposed to frequently inspect and maintain your weapon. Hair trigger? While some military weapons (sniper rifles in particular) do have very light pulls for operational reasons, again, you're supposed to report it and get it fixed if it's too sensitive. Had your finger on the trigger and it slipped? There's a reason you were taught trigger discipline. You dropped your weapon? All you have just proved is that you shouldn't be allowed to carry one. The ideal is that your weapon never once fires without your intent; actually hitting what you were aiming at is considered secondary to that.


Shooting with Closed Eyes

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / RecklessGunUsage

Media sources: