Legal question about an ND

Hopefully this is the right place to post something like this. Goal is to start a good discussion and maybe come away with some tips.

Okay, here’s the situation. Friend A (lets call him Bob) has an apartment in South Carolina and lots of tools. Friend B (lets call him Jim) needs to borrow Bob’s armorer’s wrench to work on his AR-15 chambered in .300BLK. So Jim asks if he can come over to Bob’s apartment and borrow said wrench. Bob says sure. Jim shows up with his legally-owned firearm in a case to Bob’s apartment. Bob did not know that Jim was planning on doing the modification to his firearm there, but since Jim is an Army Combat Vet, has his CCW, and has shot with Bob before, Bob doesn’t think anything of it and allows Jim to work on his firearm in the apartment. Before you know it, Jim has a Negligent Discharge of his firearm that goes through Bob’s door, across the hall, and into a neighbor’s apartment. Jim asks Bob what to do and Bob says call 911 while he clears the weapon and points it in a safe direction. Once 911 is on the line both Jim and Bob rush to check on the neighbors and luckily no one was hurt. The bullet went about 18" into the other apartment at about ground level and ended up in the stud of a bathroom wall.

Police arrive, they give Jim a County Ordinance violation. Jim offers to pay for all damages. Bob calls the landlord the next morning to apologize and offer to assist in any way he can.

A few days later Bob get a 14 day eviction notice. He is seeking legal council and doesn’t really know what to do besides that.

Any advice for Bob? Comments?

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I can only say hello and welcome to the Community. :handshake:
Legal advice for Bob? Contact local attorney.

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@John1426 Welcome to our community, we are glad to have you. :slightly_smiling_face:

Hmmm… They both failed to clear the weapon. It did happen in Bobs apartment so…
It sucks to be Bob but… He is lucky that’s all that happened.
Anything said here would be conjecture and opinion. Good idea to seek legal council. :man_shrugging:

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:point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2:
Hello and welcome @John1426

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Thanks for the welcomes.

Yes, it is my understanding that Bob is seeking immediate legal council. I would be curious about what else he could do in the meantime that might be helpful to his situation besides the obvious answer of lawyer up first and foremost. I am interested in the conjecture and opinion even if it is not legal advice as I might be able to give Bob some tips.

Also, to Bruce26, Bob did clear the weapon, but as Jim was working on it ammo was introduced (most likely from Jim’s range bag). Bob was at fault for not securing the ammo I suppose and not paying 100% attention to everything Jim was doing, but he trusted the experience of Jim, who as was stated was an Army Combat Vet that ran a SAW as a 19D Calvary Scout in Iraq.

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Welcome John1426. Interesting post.

Lots to glean.

A while back, there was a post about building a 360 shield around firearm repair or cleaning rooms, that could catch said cartridge. But then there’s the sound, anyone next door can hear, or some police install sound capture devices which alert them down to an address.

Your main question makes me think about tenant/landlord rights, city, county, state laws. If there was a landlord contract which the tenant signed, and what the wording is.

Makes me think about preparing, considering if one’s in a large apartment complex, house, homestead, or out in the country, and improvising.

I’ll certainly return here again to learn from all.

Good luck Bob.

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There is a clause in the lease “Discharge, display, or in any way use in, on, or around the Premises or common areas any firearm or weapon of any type…”

This however is preceded by “Resident Agrees Not To:” so I wonder if that is technically a break of the terms of the lease being that Bob (the resident) was not the one who performed the “Discharge”. I also wonder what SC state law says about responsibility for guests. I have had trouble finding information on that when looking up SC landlord/tenant laws.

Also, yes… good luck to Bob.

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Jim should let Bob stay at his place until Bob finds another place. For what it’s worth.

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Welcome to the right place!
IMHO
Technically speaking, if neither Jim or Bob has been charged, you’ll need a real estate agent not a lawyer. Good thing no one was hurt.

On a personal note, whether both were combat veterans or first time owners, double, triple and quadruple check your firearms!
There were two people on the scene that could/should have looked over each other’s shoulders. Cleared and removed all ammunition from the work space!

In particular can either of them describe in detail how the firing pin made contact with a round on a “cleared” rifle.

This makes the case for the liberals! “The gun just went off”, sounds like Jim’s real name is Alec Baldwin! We’re in the most hostile environment for gun ownership in 246 years, negligence is not an option.

When I come home from the range, I know my guns are clear! Except for my EDC which is in condition one!
But OOOHHHH NO, not until the wife verifies and we both agree that all is clear. Fortunately I live in a single family home and have a safe direction in which to point my firearms.
Being in an apartment in close proximity to innocents, things could have gone very badly, especially in this climate. How do the neighbors feel, is there a chance they may sue you?

Bob and Jim need refresher courses, all gear must be clear before work begins, bags, pockets, socks, shoes or bras. It’s the reason most people end up at the airport with a round in the carryon or in their pockets. Including some firearms being confiscated by TSA because they forgot what bag their gun was in!

As a submariner, redundancy was crucial. I’m not anal nor am I OCD. But my wife and I check everything, including house security, two, three and in some cases, four times. Gets on my nerves because she makes me second guess myself. We are both getting older, so checks and balances are a must in my home!

You know…when you’re 30 miles from the house and she asks “did you turn off the oven.” I never have to ask or answer that question! Heck I leave my house for two days and I’m clearing each room.
Twice. OK, maybe a little OCD. But hey, better OCD than ND.

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Sounds like bob needs a real-estate agent and they both need to go to weapons safety 101 again. If the cops didnt charge him or issue a sitation the lawyers irrelevant unless hes going to try to fight the eviction, in which case if his lease has the clause you stated it sounds like its pretty well a breach of his lease and he doesnt have much of a leg to stand on. Better start appartment hunting

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Financially speaking, too. I dont suppose it is such a big problem to find a decent apartment in SC, that would justify spending money on legal help. Bob is not the most favorite person to his neighbors either, maybe moving away from them is a good idea. Does Jim deserve a lawsuit from Bob? Yes, but then Bob would lose both the apartment and a friend.

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Bob’s gonna have to find a new place to live.

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“Bob did clear the weapon, but as Jim was working on it ammo was introduced (most likely from Jim’s range bag)”

WHY???
Anything more said now would be Monday morning quarterbacking but it is a good lesson for all Gunner’s. This is the type of stuff I dig and why I come here (to learn)
My opinion only is:
Bob is a Good guy, He continued to help a friend even after the friend threw a monkey wrench into the works by bringing the weapon to his apartment. He cleared the weapon and let Jim remain to do the work @ his place. Probably what I might have done also… makes you go hmmmmmmmmmm doesn’t it?
Now Jim is a ‘Motard’, They both cleared the weapon, EXCELLENT, why did G.I.Jim reintroduce BOOLITS?
In my service weapon there is one in the pipe (always). I know it, my household knows it. She has one in the pipe also. The rest of the firepower has those Orange ‘thingy’s sticking out of the weapons that tells us they are ‘cleared’ (w/ NO MAGS inserted also). But we still treat all weapons as loaded. When loading up a few of the toys, we recheck each one again. Ammo in separate bags because duh! S— happens. Even careful gunner’s can make mistakes but ’ ammo was introduced…’
I just can’t get over that ! I know Massad, Col. Cooper and Chris Kyle would be stepping on old Jim’s throat! if they saw this idiot move taking place. Mr. ‘Saw’ should know better. there is no earthly reason to do that. NONE.
Maybe Bob should have helped Jim in the ‘wrenching’ but I don’t know if I would have done the same thing. Mr. Non-wrench probably said ‘he had it’ and that was good enough for Bob. Lesson learned hopefully. In Bob’s new digs hopefully Jim is persona-non-grata or @ least unarmed if they are still friends @ this point.
My point is even before I read this I always had a ‘clean room’ (wrenching, cleaning, maintenance). I have the luxury of being in a single family home. Bullets aren’t welcome in that room. Firearms that are worked on are cleared. No mags,bullets,flame throwers, are allowed in that room. Now that decision is reinforced (and I look like a genius, I’m kidding)
Bob, I wish you all the best.
Jim you are one lucky b-----d that you didn’t take out a kid in a crib, I wish you the best also.
Angels were probably involved here and thank you to them also.
john1426, Thank you for bringing this to the Group, nice going and welcome to the family.

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Legal advice , move, and count your BLESSING , you could have been charged as an assistant In manslaughter , THANK GOD ,

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First, welcome to the Community. Second, per quote above, he should be looking for some place to stay. Additionally, I find it curious that you mentioned “Bod did clear the weapon.” Bob could have gone one step further to ensure that Jim didn’t have any live ammunition with him. Therein is what led to the failure to clear the weapon. It also would have done more to alleviate that creepy feeling you described early on. But hey, it’s easy to be an after-action hind catcher. It will be an expensive lesson for him going forward. Let’s hope that he’s learned it, because it will probably be a long time before he touches or comes into close proximity to another one. I feel for Jim/Bob.

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Yes, that. Ammo was re-introduced? I guess whatever he was doing to the rifle, he wanted to test the fitment of a round, but a live round in an apartment building? Worse, yet, he obviously did not take necessary precautions to ensure that the round could not be ignited. In an apartment building finding a “safe”, safer, direction to point would be difficult, but I don’t believe the door is such a direction.

If I were doing such a test at home, I would likely use a snap cap or a spent cartridrige. If I am loading a live round to “test”, I would not be pulling the trigger, or on a rifle with a “floating” pin, I would remove the pin first. Apparently the adage about familiarity is true here.

I suggest the next place he lives, he invests in a barrel of sand or a bullet trap.

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Thanks for all the replies. Lots of good info for Bob.

Dave, yeah… in my own apartment if I want to test the cycling of a weapon I DO use live ammo and don’t remove the pin, but I keep my finger off the trigger and keep the firearm pointed into a burm outside of the window. If something were to happened I might still be breaking the law (and a window), but none of the four rules in the case of an accidental. In the case of a negligent (my finger slips onto the trigger or something) I would only be breaking one. I personally have never come close to that to my knowledge though. If I want to function check I do at minimum several racks, two visual checks, and the good ol’ finger in the chamber check, usually followed by a third visual before I drop the bolt and preform the check still following all four rules the entire time.

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John1426 and I do not understand something is a miss Bobby Jean :100:🫶🏼:chile::owl::feather::feather:

No judgement here, but really appreciate the stories and advice.

I know someone to whom had a similar experience, but minus the land lord, there was no landlord involved per se.

But, from their story, paralleled yours in that sometimes those chambers can be so small and dark, that what was learned - was

  • Bright lights
  • Triple check those chambers, and never trust just one or two looks;
    Nothing hides as well as a bullet nestled inside that chamber
  • If/when I can find them, as long as meets other needs or quality, I do like those casings whose rear is bright and shiny
  • Wearing a head lamp when servicing a firearm, noways, can find for like $10
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