A man accidentally shot himself and his wife at an east Tennessee church on Thursday while having a discussion on gun violence in churches, police said.
According to Tellico Plains Police Chief Russ Parks, elder members of First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains were cleaning up after a luncheon held to celebrate Thanksgiving when the discussion turned to guns in churches, reports USA Today.
A man in his 80s pulled out a .380 caliber Ruger handgun and said, “I carry my handgun everywhere.”
The elderly man removed the magazine, cleared the chamber, and showed off his gun to some of the men in the church.
He then put the magazine back in and loaded a round in the chamber, Parks said.
“Somebody else walked up and said, ‘Can I see it?'” Parks said. “He pulled it back out and said, ‘With this loaded indicator, I can tell that it’s not loaded.'”
The man pulled the trigger.
“Evidently he just forgot that he re-chambered the weapon,” Parks said.
USA Today reports:
The gun was lying on its side on a table. The bullet sliced the palm of the man’s upward-facing hand, then entered the left side of his wife’s abdomen and exited the right side, Parks said.
Both the husband and wife, who is also in her 80s, were flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center with injuries that police said didn’t appear to be life-threatening. Their names had not been released as of Thursday evening.
Charges will not be filed, Parks said.
Following last month’s deadly church mass shooting, some gun advocates have called for bringing firearms to houses of worship.
“We’ve had shootings at churches, you know, forever. It’s going to happen again. And so, we need people in churches — either professional security or at least arming some of the parishioners or the congregation — so that they can respond, when something like this happens again,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared after the shooting. “All I can say is in Texas at least we have the opportunity to have conceal carry. And so…there’s always the opportunity that gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people.”