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Church learns lesson about gun safety when member shoots self, wife

A couple were taken to a hospital in Tennessee recently after the husband, who is in his 80s, accidentally shot himself and his wife while showing his gun to members of his congregation.
A couple were taken to a hospital in Tennessee recently after the husband, who is in his 80s, accidentally shot himself and his wife while showing his gun to members of his congregation. File photo

A Tennessee congregation may have learned a valuable lesson about guns recently when a member accidentally shot himself and his wife.

Tellico Plains Police Chief Russ Parks said members were talking about guns at the First United Methodist Church when a man in his 80s pulled his .380 caliber Ruger handgun, according to the Associated Press and the The Knoxville News Sentinel.

The man removed the gun’s magazine and cleared the chamber before showing it to other church members. He then put the magazine back in and returned the gun to its holster, Parks said.

But when someone else asked to see the gun, the man pulled it from the holster, said it wasn’t loaded and pulled the trigger, he said. The gun fired, slicing the palm of the man’s hand and then passing through his wife’s abdomen.

Parks told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the couple were flown to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Churches across the state and nation have been meeting with law enforcement and reviewing their security since 26 people were killed in the Nov. 5 shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

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