The Houston office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) received wild criticism from Twitter users on Wednesday after the agency posted a picture where one of its agents failed to follow gun safety rules.
The picture showed ATF agents from Austin at a gun range, with one of the agents standing on the wrong side of the loading table. The agent, who was in his full tactical gear, had one gun pointed directly at his groin area.
The ATF Austin Office out on the range today with special guests from our local U.S. Attorneys' Offices. pic.twitter.com/568GrEEHLG
— ATF Houston (@ATFHou) July 19, 2023
The agent violated one of the most sacred rules of gun safety: never to point a gun at another person, including oneself. The term for pointing a gun at an individual, including oneself, is called “flagging.”
The agent violated another gun safety rule when he stood between the table and the shooting lanes or shooting area.
Twitter users erupted with fury and criticism when they saw the image. One user said the image presented further evidence that the common armed citizen knows more about gun safety than most law enforcement agents.
“Those firearms are flagging (pointing at) everyone that walks by them. Keep all firearms pointed in a safe direction,” one user noted.
Those firearms are flagging everyone that walks by them. Keep all firearms pointed in a safe direction.
— Jeremy Menchaca 🇺🇸 (@menchaca0809) July 20, 2023
Another Twitter user asked if it was the agent’s first time being at a gun range due to his gun safety violations.
Is this the first time you’ve done this? So many safety hazards going on here.
— Wade Miller (@WadeMiller_USMC) July 20, 2023
“Tell me why I should listen to people who flag themselves knowing they’re being photographed?” one user wrote.
Flagging themselves 🤣😆😂
Tell me why I should listen to people who flag themselves knowing they’re being photographed?
— ██████ (@Yehonathan_RS) July 20, 2023
“Why are the officers standing in front of the guns?,” another user wrote. “Does no one in that office believe in weapon safety.”
Why are the officers standing infront of the guns? Does no one in that office believe in weapon safety.
— Typhlosion (@Typhlos09841536) July 20, 2023
“As usual, law enforcement is exempt from gun laws,” one Twitter user commented. “I’m seeing multiple felonies in one picture, not to mention violation of the most basic safety procedures.”
As usual, law enforcement is exempt from gun laws. I'm seeing multiple felonies in one picture, not to mention violation of the most basic safety procedures.
— TimmerMcGraw, CFI 🇺🇸🔎 (@TimmerMcGraw) July 20, 2023
Despite the heavy criticism, the ATF has not taken the picture down.