Speak Up

posted on June 30, 2014
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You know the scene. You are at a gun store, gun show or shooting range, minding your own business, when you turn around and find yourself looking down the barrel of a gun. Some guy is usually busy examining the firearm and exercising absolutely no muzzle control. Too often we just shake our head and move out of the way. Well, I submit to you that it is time that we speak up.

We have so many new gun owners coming on board, I am certain many of them haven't had proper training in basic gun safety. And, to be frank, there are some of us older coots who forget from time to time. Neither is much of an excuse if a negligent discharge occurs. Moreover, people like me have looked down far too many gun barrels for real to be willing to settle for the excuse that it isn't loaded.

Now, I'm not saying that the person exhibiting poor safety habits needs to be chewed out. In most cases, such things can be handled with a kind word and friendly advice. Introduce yourself and ask him to be more careful of where he is pointing the gun muzzle. You'd be surprised how often this will be the start of a friendly conversation and provide the opportunity to explain the simple gun safety rules to the offender. Very few people actually intend to point a firearm at someone else, they are just not thinking.

We should be overjoyed that so many new shooters are coming into our sport. And we can guarantee their continued interest by making them feel welcome and safe. We need to give them a helping hand, not the back of our hand.

I see a lot of folks at gun shows who don't have a clue about good gun-show etiquette. You don't just pick up a gun off of someone's table, you ask first, and you don't assume it is unloaded, you check it yourself. When you don't know how a gun operates, you ask the vendor to show you how it works. And you take the time to throw some "thank yous" into the conversation. People who have spent their lives around guns like good manners.

There are a lot of different firearms safety rules. I happen to like those from Gunsite because they are short and simple to understand.

Gunsite Safety Rules

1. All guns are always loaded.

2. Never let your muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

4. Be sure of your target and what's behind it.

Compared to other sports, the shooting sports have a very low rate of injury. Let's all work to keep it that way. Speak up for safety!


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