Kentucky Sheriff’s Deputy Accidentally Shoots His Mother In Church

Gun owners don’t get any more responsible than law enforcement officers, right? After all, they are experts, having received training in how to handle weapons — or so logic would tell us.

Then how is it that a Kentucky sheriff’s deputy managed to accidentally shoot his own mother? In church. At a wedding.

McCracken County deputy Cory Golightly escorted his mother to a wedding on May 2. The wedding wasn’t in McCracken County. It was at the Bardwell Baptist Church in neighboring Carlisle County.

Nevertheless, Golightly saw fit to carry a gun in his jacket. To the wedding. In church.

Between the ceremony and leaving for the reception, the gun fell out of Golightly’s jacket and shot his mother through the abdomen. This was no superficial wound. The woman underwent abdominal surgery at a local hospital, where she is reportedly in stable condition.

Deputy Golightly, meanwhile, is on paid administrative leave while an investigation is completed. According to McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden, the gun, a .38 revolver, was not a department-issued weapon.

Of course, it doesn’t matter that Golightly wasn’t in his jurisdiction, or that the gun wasn’t department-issued. The federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), enacted in 2004, allows any “qualified law enforcement officer” to “carry a concealed firearm anywhere in the nation,” in spite of state and local laws. Oh, except for machine guns and silencers.

Feel safer now?

The church’s pianist, Jeanine King, described her reaction when she heard the shot:

“My initial reaction was, ‘Oh my goodness. Could that possibly be a gun?’ Then my next thought was, ‘Gosh, who’s in the church with a gun?'”

So even in a red state like Kentucky — home to Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell — the expectation that a person can go to a house of worship without a gun going off next to him is a reasonable one.

The law enforcement community, of course, rallied in support of the deputy sheriff. Apparently, the Golightly family has roots in yet another neighboring area, Ballard County. Their county sheriff, Carey Batts, posted an instructive message on his department’s Facebook page. In it, he asked citizens “not to judge, but to pray” for the Golightly family. After all, “it is in times like these that we are reminded that we are only human.”

Fair enough. But that’s exactly the argument behind gun control laws. We are only human, all of us — law enforcement and civilians alike. We have a right to be as protected as possible from the human errors that accompany the public handling of firearms in places where people gather.

Is there any good news in this story? Well, the victim is going to recover — and at least the shooting didn’t happen on Mother’s Day.

Feature photo, McCracken County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page.