Want To Grow Old?
Safe Gun Handling Skills May Help.
Some of the shooting-related stuff I see and read on the Internet fills me with despair. It appears many gun owners either (a) don’t know the rules of firearm safety, or (b) know them but think they are silly.
A common thread is resentment against the old geezer at the range who criticizes their gunhandling. That old geezer would be me. I’m shy and retiring by nature, soft spoken, diffident to a fault, and willing to overlook much. If I get really bad service at a restaurant I teach them a lesson by tipping just 15 percent. I’m the sort who apologizes when someone else steps on my foot.
But anyone who points a firearm at me, intentionally or unintentionally, loaded or unloaded, is going to get corrected, immediately and loudly. I won’t tolerate it; nor should you. If I sweep you with the muzzle you need to let me know about it in no uncertain terms. And my reaction should be to apologize and thank you—sincerely—for pointing it out.
There are four basic, inviolable, unbreakable rules:
1. All guns are always handled and treated as though they were loaded.
2. Never allow the muzzle to point at anything you are not prepared to see destroyed.
3. Finger off the trigger unless sights are on target.
4. Be sure of your target, along with what is behind and in the vicinity of the target.
Why am I so adamant about Rule 2? Because it is the last line of defense. You can do everything else wrong and still not kill or injure anyone provided you control where the muzzle is pointing. Not most of the time. All of the time. It’s a concept that is hard to grasp in a society that gives second, third, twentieth chances.
You didn’t learn the material taught in Grade 5? What the heck, we’ll promote you anyway. Fail your drivers’ written test? Keep trying it until you pass. Commit cold-blooded murder? Well gosh, it’s a first offence and the murderer is a “youth” of 17, so why ruin his whole life because of one mistake?
But firearms are tools, and tools don’t forgive. They’ll kill you—or your best friend, your child, your spouse—the first time you make a mistake. Many shooters have no real understanding of what a bullet can do, especially a bullet fired from a hunting rifle.
A while back I watched an episode of Sons of Anarchy. In the episode an old man gripped by dementia wrongly concludes one of the bikers is assaulting his wife. He uses his deer rifle to shoot the biker in the shoulder at a range of about 3′. In the show the man shot reacts about as dramatically as if he’d been stung by a wasp.
Then we get the usual solemn, “We’ve got to get the bullet out” discussion. Following the bullet-digging scene he’s up and around in a day or two and within a couple of weeks has apparently made a complete recovery.
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