Guns don’t shoot themselves, so if somebody gets shot unintentionally, that means that somebody failed to follow these rules.
1) Treat all firearms as if they are loaded (ready to fire) at all times (even if you know it’s unloaded).
2) Always point firearms in a safe direction (down and away from anything you have a problem with killing).
3) Maintain awareness of your environment (what could move between you and your target, and what could you kill if you miss).
4) Keep your finger off the trigger, and out of the trigger guard, until you decide to shoot.
Of course, unless you’re a black helicopter guy, you won’t always have your gun holstered on your person, so…
Lock it up.
If it’s not on your person AND in a holster, then it needs to be locked up AND unloaded.
Contrary to alarm ads, no one is going to break into your house in the middle of the night and try to hurt you, unless you’re a drug dealer, and even then, they generally just want your money and drugs. The fact is, criminals are just lazy turds trying to finance their weekend fun, with a minimum of effort, and most are so scared of getting caught and going to jail, or getting shot, that they will run scared at the slightest hint that someone is even nearby when they’re committing a crime, not confront you in the place you’re most likely to have access to a gun.
Children however are constantly plotting ways to satisfy their curiosities. So, if you value your offspring, lock it up with no round in the chamber, no magazine in the well (or rounds in the cylinder on revolvers), and the slide forward (hammer down on revolvers). If they still pull it off, you can rest assured that they knew exactly what they were doing. Speaking of which…
Don’t sleep near your gun.
You really need to lay off the action films and conspiracy newsletters if this one applies to you. Keep your firearm at least three steps away from your bed, so you are fully awake before you have a chance to use it, or you’ll permanently take care of little Jimmy’s nightmares, when he barges into your bedroom in the middle of the night. Another tip for handling night terrors…
Light ’em up.
Hitting a moving target is hard enough as it is, even for trained police officers. Without a flashlight in a dark room, you’re following a recipe for dead family members. So, keep a flashlight near your gun, or better yet, mount one on it, if you intend to possibly use it at night. And while we’re on the topic of shedding light…
You won’t always be there, so kill their curiosity, before it kills them. Let your kids see your gun whenever they want, but demand that they stay away from all guns, unless YOU are there to supervise things, and to make sure that they’re handling it safely. If you’re willing to help them satisfy their curiosity, they’ll be more willing to follow your conditions. If you don’t own a gun, and your kid starts talking about them, then take a trip to the local gun store. The alternative is letting them experiment with guns in the shadows, with no clue what’s safe, and what’s dangerous.
Guns are just tools, like a knife, a lighter, or a car. Each has a legitimate purpose, and each can and is used to cause serious bodily injury and death, yet we all use those other tools every day without a second thought, much less fear, and we all teach our kids how to use them at some point. This is because we all understand their usefulness, we all know how use them safely and appropriately, and we all trust each other to use them accordingly. So, let treat guns the same way, before curiosity & ignorance kill any more kids.
I hope these this has been helpful and perhaps thought-provoking, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Please comment below with your experiences and any questions you might have about what I’ve said, or haven’t said.