Shooting in E. Texas brings gun safety concerns to forefront - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Shooting in E. Texas brings gun safety concerns to forefront


An East Texas man is dead after a gun handoff went horribly wrong late Saturday night in Harrison County.

Witnesses said someone handed a shotgun to Ivan Dolley, 25, in the 1000 block of Ragon Road in Harelton. The gun was given to him barrel first, and went off, striking Dolley in the abdomen. He was taken to Good Shepherd Hospital in Longview where he later died.

The incident has highlighted the issue of gun safety. Tony Bankston is a 27 year combat arms Army veteran. "It's like a snake and the muzzle is the head and head will bite you," he said of guns.

Bankston now works at the Great American Pawn Shop in Marshall, TX and said he's seen his fair share of mistakes people make when they handle guns in his store.

"You can tell the ones that don't handle guns because the first thing they want to do is put their finger on the trigger and you never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot it," he said.

Mistakes, however, can be prevented very simply, he said. Rule number one is never hand anyone a gun, loaded or not, barrel first.

"You always hand it this way with the barrel in a safe direction, that way they can look inside the chamber and see that the gun is empty," Bankston said. "And, if you're handing a gun like this, with your finger on the trigger, then you don't know the proper way of handling a gun."

According to the National Rifle Association, more than 800 people died in America last year as a result of accidental shootings. Although Bankston has years of experience handling weapons, he said there is never a moment when he let's his guard down.

"Know your target and what's beyond it and that's the thing, you can shoot a target but that bullet keeps going and you own that bullet until it stops," he said.

Officials with the Harrison County Sheriffs Office said the shooting will go before a grand jury to determine if any charges will be filed in the Dolley's death.

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