Richard and Barbara Barber Interview

Baltimore Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada dives but can't come up with a single by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' Carl Crawford, during the fourth inning, Tuesday night, April 17, 2007, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Devil Rays beat Baltimore 6-4.
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

In an interview with CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart, Richard and Barbara Barber talk about their experience when Barbara's Remington Model 700 rifle went off, fatally shooting their 9-year-old son Gus. The following is a full transcript of the interview.

Richard Barber: "If it were any other product on the market, it would not be tolerated."

Barbara Barber: "About two in the morning, the kids woke up and thought it was time to go hunting. We told them to go back to sleep, they were so excited."

Barbara: "Gus and I found a spot about 150 feet from the horses, just sit down under the trees and be quiet. He (Gus) went back down to the horses and got some goodies out of the saddle bags and come back to me and starts roasting his jerky over the fire and telling me how much better it tasted. It was a great morning. We (Barb and Gus) took a nice leisurely ride down, it was a beautiful, beautiful morning."

Richard: "We started walking down the road and the kids riding up in front of us started singing this crazy little song, riding circles around us and rocking back and forth."

Barbara: "I stood in front of the horse trailer with the gun pointed down and proceeded to open the bolt to unload it and the bolt wouldn’t open. The kids were still on the horse at the back of the trailer. I went to open the bolt, it wouldn’t open. I looked down and seen the safety was on, I pulled the safety off and it fired."

Barbara: "The gun went off, my finger was nowhere near the trigger, I had an open hand. I ran around the back side of the trailer. (Our daughter)Shanda at that point I seen her she was with her horse and I yelled, ‘Where’s Gus? Where’s Gus?’ and he was on the other side of the horse trailer. The bullet had hit him through his hand and through his abdomen. He had just gotten off the horse."

Jim Stewart: "Who got to him first?"

Richard: "Me."

Stewart: "What did you do?"

Richard: "First thing I did, I seen he was down, I raised his shirt and found the entrance wound. We applied pressure on the wound within seconds. We got in the truck and within 45 seconds of getting in the truck I called 911."

Richard: "He was conscious, he was talking to us. Gus’s head was in Barbara’s arm here, his body was across and his legs were across Shanda’s lap. Any wound is a bad wound with a firearm. They’re not made to wound they’re made to kill animals of all sizes."

Barbara: "He talked almost all the way down."

Richard: "We started praying immediately."

Barbara: "He tried to lift himself up and look out the window."

Richard: "He asked, 'Mom can I sit up?'"

Barbara: "He asked Shanda to take his boots off. Shanda pulled his boots off. He asked Shanda to hold his legs. He was coherent all the way down amost until he got into the ambulance."

Richard: "He told his mother he was starting to have a hard time breathing and he was getting pale and I knew it was getting bad at that point. He was calm he didn’t cry. He never complained once."

Richard: "I promised my son I’d put an end to this. Gus died at the hospital."

Richard: "They were shocked to see a beautiful little boy laying there with a hole blown through him. There’s no words to describe it. I put my hands on my son’s head and asked the lord if you can’t save him please forgive him any minor sins he might have committed in his life. Accept him into heaven."

Stewart: "No doubt in your mind that your finger was nowhere near that trigger?"

Barbara: " Absolutely not."

Barbara: "We got back up to camp and some people that were camped with us started telling us about a gun he had that went off two different times."

Richard: "On two different occasions, on two different years, his M 700 discharged, once flipping the safety off and the second time on bolt closure. They said, you know, that happened to me. In no time at all I had 14 people who had experienced the same problem with their firearm."

Stewart: "The same firearm?"

Richard: "The same M-700."

Stewart: "When you bought the Remington 700 did you have any idea there might be something wrong with it?"

Richard: "None. I was as big a Remington fan as anyone out there, very proud of them. One of my other employees, his dad is a very, very big Remington man, he owns 4 or 5 M-700s, and with all of them his rifles exhibited the same characteristics. As late as even this year when he was shooting at an antelope, when he flipped the safety off, the rifle discharged. I don’t expect anybody to believe it, until they see Remington documents."

Barbara: "I’ve hunted for enough years that I know I didn’t have my finger on the trigger. I know basic gun safety, keep the gun pointed down when you’re unloading it, do not have your finger anywhere near the trigger."

Richard: "How come people don’t know about it?"

Barbara: "Yeah, why don’t people know? I don’t understand how something could go on for this many years and the public does not know."

Richard: "This is not an anti-gun issue, this is a gun safety issue. This should not happen to good people."

Richard: "I laid my money down, I thought I’d bought a real quality product, I researched it for six weeks. Why didn’t anybody tell me? They know. Now I know they knew. I just think it’s wrong. And for anybody to say that I’m anti-gun, because of being through what I’ve been through and helplessly standing back and watching my son bleed to death. Why should I just helplessly sit back and let this happen to other good people?"

Richard: "We’ve gotten nsty letters from people, we’ve gotten nasty phone calls from people. People don’t give a crap about us. I’m trying to do what’s best for them and give them a chance we never had. I don’t want to hurt anyone, I don’t want anyone to die needlessly."

Richard: "This isn’t a war, this isn’t a campaign, this was a family out hunting who thought they had a good product in their hands and we come to find out this thing has been going for 30 plus years. Why don’t the people know?"

Richard: "This is a company that has enough money they can seal documents, they can seal testimony of their employees they can pay huge settlements and gag people. Money can buy silence but can’t buy the truth. I have a problem with that."

Richard: "Our lives will never be the same."

Barbara: "It’s really hard to sit at the table and eat dinner without Gus. It’s been 3-4 months."

Richard: "Gus was the sugar and spice and everything nice kid. You asked Gus to do something as far as chores or responsibilities on our little farm here, he was up off the floor, out there, knock his chores off and back doing what he was doing in nothing flat."

Richard: "My ultimate goal in all this is to bring an awareness educate people to the facts and if Remington is not willing to take care of the problem, then at least give the people an understanding what the problem is."

Richard: " There is no doubt in my mind they knew, and did nothing."

Stewart: "Were you surprised when you went to investigate this that there is no government agency that oversees the product safety of firearms?"

Richard: "I was really shocked. Firearms are inherently dangerous enough within themselves and I feel more strongly now that firearm manufacturers need to be held to a higher standard than anyone."

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