Safety 1st, safety 2nd, safety 3rd, 4th, 5th…

If you take an NRA certified firearm class, or any course certified by a reputable organization, you will hear safety rules repeated over and over again. There’s a reason for this. Even those familiar with firearms can have mishaps when they ignore these rules. Like this NRA employee.

An employee at one of the NRA’s museums “accidentally” shot himself while holstering a pistol. I put accidentally in quotes because “accident” implies an unforeseeable and thus unpreventable event. This was neither. Guns don’t “accidentally go off”. A gun will fire when you load it and depress the trigger. That’s kinda the point. If I press down on the “A” key on this keyboard, an “A” appears on the screen. That’s kinda the point. If the keyboard didn’t do that, or if the gun in question didn’t fire, we’d correctly report that said device is defective.

So what are those rules we should be following?

  1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  2. Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
  3. Always keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to fire the gun.

If you apply all three of these rules, a gun simply cannot “go off” and hurt someone; it’s a physical impossibility. This guy got his finger onto the trigger of a loaded gun while it was pointed at his own body. The gun functioned as advertised, as did the ammo, and now he has an extra hole in his body. The rules are there for a reason.

And if you are an NRA member, or a member of any other group that emphasizes gun safety, you are especially responsible for following these rules. A negligent discharge in any other location would have been ignored by USAToday. One at an NRA facility makes headlines. Why do you suppose that is? If you think that USAToday has a sudden interest in firearm safety, then you need to step away from the meth pipe. The media report events like this one because they want to paint gun owners, and NRA members in particular, as violent and dangerous. Follow those rules not only because you should to stay safe, but also to keep from becoming an argument against your own rights. Don’t arm the other side!