Using your oven for gun storage? Turns out it’s a recipe for disaster.
A Warren, Ohio, father wanted to keep his revolver out of his kids’ hands when they visited his home Sunday, so he hid the weapon in the broiler of his Maytag oven, according to police. But Robin Garlock, 44, didn’t tell his girlfriend about the hiding spot before she started heating the oven to do some baking later that night, the Youngstown Vindicator reports.
She found out about the gun with a “bang,” police said — though at first she assumed the gunfire she heard had come from outside the house, the newspaper reports. The girlfriend yelled for Garlock, who told her to run for cover, according to police. Garlock then headed for the broiler himself, where he was burned as he tried to secure the weapon.
“It’s too hot,” Warren Police Detective Wayne Mackey told the Vindicator. “The gun literally spun around because it’s going off.”
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Garlock was seriously injured in the incident, Mackey told Raw Story, but Garlock is now doing better. In addition to the burns Garlock suffered, two bullets or bullet fragments struck him.
The heat is what made the bullets explode, Mackey explained.
“Don’t store your guns anywhere that’s hot,” Mackey told Raw Story. “Don’t put your gun in an appliance. They make things for that and an oven is not one of the things.”
There have been calls for increased gun safety measures in the U.S. following deadly, high-profile shootings at schools, nightclubs and concert venues in recent years.
But the number of accidental shootings in the county — like the Sunday accident in Ohio — has actually fallen precipitously in recent years, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. While 824 people died of inadvertent shootings in the U.S. in 1999, accidental shootings killed only 489 Americans in 2015 — even as the country’s population grew over the same period, the Los Angeles Times reports.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t still accidents, though. And the Ohio incident isn’t the first time one of those accidents has involved an oven.
An 18-year-old St. Petersburg, Florida, woman was trying to make waffles in February 2013 when she accidentally set off a round of ammunition that she didn’t realize was in her oven, the Tampa Bay Times reports. A friend had left the magazine from a .45-caliber Glock 21 there without telling her. She sustained only minor injuries, police said.
Mackey told the Vindicator that, though Garlock’s oven-explosion-gunfire story in Warren seemed unlikely at first, an investigation concluded that’s what happened — and the stove was riddled with bullet holes to prove it. Beyond the bullet holes, Mackey said, the gun had clearly been on fire.
A neighbor, Jennifer Harris, overheard the gunfire and called 911 to report it, worried there had been a shooting in her otherwise safe neighborhood. After realizing it was an oven accident, Harris told the Vindicator she was happy to hear “people aren’t just getting shot outside my house.”
“You know it’s a weird one,” Mackey told Raw Story. “In thirty years I have not had anybody shot by an appliance.”