Two hurt in accidental shooting in Eau Claire Co.

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TOWN OF WASHINGTON, Wis. (WEAU) – Charges are being recommended after a man accidentally fired a handgun while sitting in a parked car outside home in the Town of Washington.

Eau Claire County deputies say it happened on Blakeley Avenue around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday.

Deputies say the bullet hit the 21-year-old man’s left hand and then went through the right arm of a woman, 22, in the car.

Investigators say the man was trying to put the loaded handgun in a cardboard storage box when the gun accidentally fired.

Deputies say the handgun was bought or picked up Tuesday in Chippewa Falls.

Both have since been treated and released from the hospital.

Among the possible charges is negligent operation of a weapon.

The story had us look into the basics of firearm safety.

In a time when more guns are being sold than ever before, experts say whether you’re a first-time gun owner or an enthusiast, don’t take firearms for granted.

“Lately, there’s been a lot of interest in purchasing guns, rifles, semi-automatic type rifles, home defense type rifles and we're seeing more and more people coming in that have never had a gun before, especially a lot of gals,” said Brian Zinn, owner of the Coin & Gun Exchange in Eau Claire.

Zinn said the sudden interest and sales is due to the heated debate on gun control.

“People are buying guns now while they still know they have a chance,” said Zinn.

He said when beginners buy a gun from his store, he will usually show the buyer how the gun functions, teach them the basic operations of a gun, how to load and unload, how to handle it safely and where the safety is located.

And if it’s a regular at the gun shop or avid hunter that’s buying a gun, Zinn said it’s safe to assume he or she knows what they are doing.

But a rule of thumb: if it’s new, treat it as if it’s new to you.

“You never want to get too lack. I would never want to take it for granted. You always treat a gun as if it’s loaded, even if you left it and you knew it was loaded when you left it, if it was out of your sight somebody else may have had it in their hands,” said Zinn. “You can never be too safe.”

Typically, there are more accidental gunshot wounds during the fall and winter. According to the DNR, 1/3 of all hunting accidents have been self-inflicted.

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