A pro-gun Oklahoma Republican said he feels “horrible” about accidentally shooting another hunter last month.
“I was just sick,” said Rep. Steve Vaughn (R-Ponca City), who wounded the other man in the head with a single 12-gauge shotgun pellet about the size of a BB.
The other hunter, Drew Ihrig, said his injury wasn’t serious, and he’s not upset.
“I was shot but it was a minor injury. I’m fine. It’s no big deal,” said Ihrig, an attorney. “This was a pure accident. It could have happened to anybody on any given day. I hold no ill will at all.”
The 55-year-old Vaughn accepted blame for the shooting, reported The Oklahoman, even though others were firing during a pheasant hunt at a hunting reserve.
The lawmaker said he didn’t realize Ihrig had been injured until he saw him about a half hour later holding a rag to his face, where he’d been hit.
“I said, ‘You know, everybody’s shooting, (and) I don’t know that it was me, per se, but I would say it probably would have been because the bird did go that direction and I did shoot that direction,’” Vaughn said.
He said a 12-gauge shell contains hundreds of pellets that shoot in every direction after fired.
“Son of a gun, one of them hit him,” Vaughan said, adding that early morning sun temporarily blinded him as the bird flew up between him and the other hunter.
“I’m a safety guy,” he said. “Gosh, I’m as safety as I can be. I was so mad at myself for even thinking about shooting the bird in this direction where I knew he was down in there.”
The hunting reserve’s owner said he knows the shooting was unintentional.
“There’s really no proof that he was the one that fired the pellet that ended up there, (because) there was other people shooting, too,” said Verl Brorsen, who owns the hunting reserve. “He’s a stand-up guy and took responsibility.”
Vaughn wrote a 2011 bill, based on the state’s “Make My Day” law, to expand the rights of business owners, managers, and employees to use deadly force when they have a reasonable fear of facing death or great bodily harm.
He wrote another bill that same year creating an official Second Amendment Day in Oklahoma.