An attempt to show his wife that a gun brought into their home by a friend wasn't loaded went terribly awry for one Vermont man who ended up shooting his wife in the legs.

Authorities in Windsor say Matthew Coleman, 37, had brought the 9mm handgun into the couple's bedroom for safekeeping out of concern that children in the house might play with it.

When his wife, Dorthea, asked him if the gun was loaded, Coleman assured her it wasn't, and demonstrated by pulling the trigger.

The gun went off, and a bullet struck Dorthea in one leg and exited through the other.

Emergency services were called to the scene, and Dorthea was rushed to a nearby hospital. She was conscious and alert at the time.

Police officers subsequently arrested Coleman and charged him with simple assault with a deadly weapon.

The county's Deputy State’s Attorney David Cahill said Coleman avoided a harsher charge of aggravated assault because he failed to demonstrate "extreme indifference to human life."

"Simply put, the state has charged Mr. Coleman for making a tragic, easily avoidable mistake," Cahill told reporters.

Coleman pleaded innocent just the same.

[screengrab via WCAX]