My deepest sympathy for the Charlton family on the loss of a young man shot accidentally. This is a classic case that has occurred several times with the 1911 Colt 45. I witnessed exactly the same scenario while in the Marine Corps years ago. This weapon was a typical side arm used by military police, officers, artillery men etc. The proper procedure used when handing this pistol to another person, like the changing of the guard should be as follows:
1) Hold the pistol skyward and release the loaded magazine.
2) Pull the slider back and lock.
3) Hold the pistol aimed skyward and visibly check the chamber to make sure it is clear.
4) Release the slider.
5) Insert the magazine and pull the trigger aiming skyward.
6) hand the pistol to another person by the hand grip while pointed skyward.
Eric's procedure was flawed with mistakes according to statement details reported May 30 in the Standard-Examiner ("Statement details shooting").
The first mistake was reversing step 4) and 5) above. He inserted the magazine (Step 5) and released the slider loading a round in the chamber. The second and deadly mistake was pointing the pistol at his brother. The first rule of gun safety is never point a weapon at anyone, unless you intend to kill.
More innocent people have been killed with a 1911 Colt 45 than enemy during war and peacetime.