I’ve seen an uptick in the local NH news about accidental shootings resulting in self inflicted gun shot wounds and injuries/death to others. Additionally, I’ve heard a few recent safety stories from folks at local ranges which are upsetting. Thankfully the range safety officers were paying close attention and immediately fixed the problems! As a result, I’d like to post the basic rules of firearms safety here. These rules apply in your home, on the street, and at the range. I’d like to use the 4 main rules popularized by the late great Col. Jeff Cooper:
Rule One: All guns are always loaded. Every gun is loaded until you visually and physically check to verify it’s loaded/unloaded status. Even after unloading, you should still obey all of the rules of firearms safety and etiquette.
Rule Two: Never let the muzzle cover anything which you are not willing to destroy. This is applicable when your gun is in your hand or out of your hand, holstered, stored, or laying on a table, etc.
Rule Three: Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. If you are not ready to shoot, your trigger finger should be on the frame of the gun and not just outside the trigger guard. Sympathetic clutching in the fingers as you grip the gun can cause you to press the trigger before you’re ready to shoot.
Rule Four: Always be sure of your target. You should not only properly identify your target, but know what’s beyond it and understand the power and capabilities of the cartridges you’re firing from your gun.
Any violation of these rules, especially rules 2 and 3, could result in property damage, legal trouble, personal injury, injury to others, or a fatality. Please keep firearms away from unauthorized people, like kids, criminals, or folks with emotional or mental health troubles. The NRA has a safety rule which is worthy of attention: Always keep firearms unloaded when not in use. “In use” is determined by you, of course. Common sense and safety checks are important. Complacency, ignorance, and carelessness could cost you or others their lives.
Please take care.