Functional Behavior Assessment of the Unintentional Discharge of Firearms in Law Enforcement

Journal of Organizational Behavior Management

Journal of Organizational Behavior Management

Author: John O’Neill

Unintentional discharge (UD) is a term used in law enforcement to distinguish between an unplanned gunshot and a planned gunshot, regardless of context. The purpose of this paper is to (a) discuss the interdisciplinary literature on this topic, (b) merge and summarize the behavioral literature to provide a cohesive account of the phenomenon, (c) analyze injuries in relation to antecedent classes and context, and (d) develop strategies for firearm safety training that might prevent UDs and associated injuries in law enforcement. We provide a contextual behavioral taxonomy through the identification of six distinct antecedent classes in which UD can be categorized: contact with objects, medical symptoms, muscle coactivations, routine tasks, startle stimuli, and unfamiliar tasks.

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