No Indefinitely Wild, all the Rules matter

The usually great blog Indefinitely Wild ran an interesting post explaining how people who hate guns can safely handle them. While I appreciate the education, the tone was a bit derogatory but more importantly the author made this claim:

There are five rules of firearm safety, but only two matter if you’re not going to shoot one:
Don’t point the gun at anything you don’t want to get shot.
Don’t put your finger on the trigger.

Sure, these two rules are a good foundation, but the rest are indispensable, especially for people unfamiliar with or afraid of guns. While his rule 5 (always wear ear and eye protection) is very important, we’ll just focus on the other two for now.

Treat every gun as if it’s loaded

Even if you’ve emptied the firearm and are 100% sure it’s empty, DO NOT treat it differently. It reinforces bad habits and can still result in shootings. Negligent discharges happen all the time when people are sure they’re empty. When you don’t treat a firearm with the respect it deserves, bad things can happen. Just like you should’t absentmindedly hurtle down the highway talking on your phone and driving, you shouldn’t distract yourself or be lackadaisical handling a firearm.

Be sure of your target and what’s beyond

Part of not “pointing the gun at anything you don’t want to get shot” is being sure of what is behind it. Obviously bullets penetrate things. Most modern bullets can fairly easily blow through wood, drywall, and thin metal.

When you “safely” point a gun at a wall, always ask what’s behind that wall. Are you in an apartment with uncomfortably thin walls? If you can hear whatever unspeakable things your neighbor does, it’s probably not a safe direction.

Standard ammunition can be very powerful.

If you are outside, what’s a safe direction? Many bullets can travel for more than two miles with deadly velocity, so pointing a firearm into the air or over the horizon is not a good idea. It’s going to land somewhere and you have no idea where.

Instead, be mindful of where a bullet can end up if the gun is fired, not just what’s directly in front of you.

Always follow the rules

Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction.
Treat ALL firearms as if they were loaded.
Keep your trigger finger outside the trigger guard and off of the trigger until you are ready to fire.
Be certain of your target, your line of fire, and what lies beyond your target.

To reiterate, if you follow all of these rules you will probably never have a negligent discharge.

Be safe out there.

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