The 4 Laws of Gun Safety

1911 45ACP pistolThe 1st LawConsider every firearm loaded at all times and treat it accordingly.

It doesn’t matter if you just checked the chamber seconds ago, always assume that it is loaded.  (Note that NRA has decided not to teach this rule in their safety courses and brochures).

The 2nd LawNever Point The Gun At Something You Are Not Prepared To Destroy!  Always keep firearms pointed in a safe direction.

A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle is pointed at all times.  This rule directly correlates to the first rule; pretend that every firearm is loaded and that it will go off.  Pay attention to where your muzzle is pointed; don’t go waving it around.  Keep it pointed in a safe direction even when checking out the sights or dry-fire practicing.

The 3rd LawAlways Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Behind It!

This means don’t shoot at things your bullet could bounce off of (ricochet) and hurt someone or something that you don’t intend to shoot.  It also means don’t rely on your target to stop the projectile; be sure that if your bullet passes completely through your target that it will not continue on and hurt someone or something that you don’t intend to shoot.  It also means being sure that if you miss your target your bullet will not continue on its path and hit something or someone you don’t intend to shoot.

Be sure you have a good, bulletproof backstop.  If you can’t be sure of your projectile’s trajectory from the time it leaves your firearm until it comes safely to rest, DON”T SHOOT!

The 4th LawKeep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until You Are Ready to Fire!

The best way I’ve heard this put is “Keep your booger hook off the bang switch!”  When holding a firearm, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.  You don’t want a muscle twitch, a sneeze or a light trigger causing your firearm to go off and end in tragedy.

These rules won’t protect you from all firearm mishaps, accidental discharges (ADs) or negligent discharges (NDs) but, when combined with common sense (e.g. don’t use drugs or alcohol when handling firearms, know how to correctly operate the firearms you are handling), they will put you well on your way to being a safe shooter.

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