ATLANTA – An antique .38-caliber pistol accidentally discharged as it was being handled by Rep. Bob Barr during a reception in his honor. The bullet hit a glass door, and no one was hurt.
Georgia lobbyist Bruce Widener said Tuesday that he had removed the magazine from the 1908 Colt but did not clear the chamber before handing the weapon to Barr, a board member of the National Rifle Association.
Widener said "one of us hit the trigger" just as he gave Barr the gun during Friday's reception in north Fulton County.
"Nobody was in any danger. We were handling it safely, except that it was loaded," Widener said. "I am thankful Bob was careful to always keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction."
Through a spokesman, Barr said: "It's very fortunate no one was hurt. ... but this accident only underscores the importance of proven gun safety measures, especially when owning and handling antique firearms."
Widener said it was improper to store a loaded weapon in a gun cabinet.
Barr is locked in a tight Republican primary with fellow incumbent John Linder in the 7th Congressional District, and Barr has tied his NRA endorsement closely to his campaign. NRA President Charlton Heston has cut a TV commercial for Barr, and NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre will attend a fund-raiser Saturday.
Of the gun accident, Linder said: "The first time you hear this, it's funny. But it's not funny. The guy's a loose cannon. I've been around guns a lot. I just don't pick up other people's guns."