Gun Safety Rules: For Those Who Know Guns
- Always treat a gun as if it were loaded.
- Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire.
- Never point the gun at something you aren’t willing to destroy.
- Know what is beyond your target.
If you have a gun, you should know the 4 basic gun safety rules. If you don’t have a gun, you should know the 4 basic gun safety rules. It seems that for some reason, I have been hearing about or encountering too many people who either don’t know or are too comfortable with the rules. It is good to have a healthy fear of guns. Guns should be respected and given proper treatment.
Being new to the business side of guns, I have never been muzzled more times than in the last few months. At our very first show, there was a woman looking for a holster. When I asked her what type of gun she had, she pulled it out of her purse and handed it to me, muzzle first. Every gun safety alarm went off in my head. I took the weapon from her to get myself out of the line of the barrel and proceeded to clear it. Not being very familiar with revolvers, I was unable to open the cylinder. In an effort to not freak out, I held the gun in a safe direction as I talked to her about carry methods and holster options. In further conversation, I found out her son had bought the gun for her to use for home defense. Later, I thought it was interesting that she was comfortable enough to just throw the gun in her purse and use it on the range, but not competent enough to hand it over to another person.
Men, don’t start thinking it’s a woman thing. I’ve seen it from you too. I can’t tell you the countless times I have been handed a gun muzzle first, have one thrown on a table, or seen someone trying to check out the type of a gun they have in their girlfriend’s face. In the last case, my business partner graciously took the weapon, cleared it, and handed it back with the slide locked back to the rear. And time after time I get the response, “It’s not loaded.” My 4 year old can tell you that a gun is always loaded. It’s rule number one!
Don’t worry, it’s not just the civilians either. I know a lot of cops and I hear a lot of stories. Recently, I got a call from a friend saying she was on her way to the emergency room because an officer had shot his hand while cleaning his gun. What!?! He was preparing to clear his gun and got distracted. He forgot to do a double check. When he pulled the trigger to release the slide for cleaning, he found out it was still loaded. It blew the watch right off his wrist. He did not treat the gun as if it were loaded, he put his finger on the trigger when he wasn’t ready to fire, he pointed his gun at something he wasn’t willing to destroy, and he did not check what was behind his target. Safety rules 1-4, BROKEN.
I’m not trying to call people out or say they are stupid. What I’m trying to say, is people are too comfortable with the rules and don’t respect them. You wouldn’t pass a set mouse trap without disarming it. You wouldn’t put your hand on a chainsaw blade with your finger on the trigger. A gun should get the same treatment.
So let’s take our 4 rules a step further and add some etiquette.
- Always clear your weapon in a safe direction.
- Do a visual and physical check of the chamber to make sure it is empty.
- Hand the weapon to the other person with the action (slide or cylinder) open.
- Hand over the weapon with the muzzle pointing down (or another safe direction).
- The receiving person should be able to get a good grip on the frame when taking it from you or just lay it down on a table so they can pick it up themselves.
- Always index your trigger finger when handling the gun.
This may be common sense, but sometimes we just need to be reminded. Be aware of where you are and who you are dealing with. If you don’t know something, ask. I assure you, I have now learned the proper way to open the cylinder of a revolver and if I’m not familiar with a gun, I ask. You are not only responsible for what you know, but also for what you think others know. Nobody will ever get mad at you for being too safe.
Stay safe and have fun.