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Gun safety this holiday season

Posted 11-26-2010 at 21:54 by Six Feet Under

I'd like to take a minute and remind everyone to be safe this holiday season. I'm four days away from marking the one year anniversary of being shot by a friend who had a negligent discharge and it has definitely been a life-changing event. From learning what it's like to actually be shot and how I reacted to it immediately and further on down the road to seeing what our healthcare system is REALLY like without insurance (both in cost and how inefficient it is), the experience has been an eye opener. I'm now about $50,000 in debt and going for my second surgery to remove some hardware in a week.

Gun safety isn't hard, and for most of us, it becomes a mundane subject after years of safely handling firearms while hunting, shooting, or on the job if you're in law enforcement or serve in the military.

Rule #1: All guns are always loaded

This seems to be the one that gets people in trouble. Remember, it's never the gun everyone in the room knew was loaded that someone negligently discharged and caused injury to themselves or others, or property damage of some type. What's the first line out of their mouth after the bang? "I thought the gun was empty." When my friend had the ND that landed me in the hospital, those were his first words.

Rule #2: Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target

Can you guess his second words? That's right, the next sentence to come out of his mouth was "the gun just went off." Guns don't just go off by themselves. Taking away the minute possibility of a mechanical failure, it's all the person holding the gun. Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot. Goes along with treating all guns as if they were loaded, don't you think?

Rule #3: Never let your muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy

This really is my favorite gun safety rule. Even if you violate every other rule, if the gun is pointed in a safe direction, people don't get shot, period. Down range or down at the ground (provided you are not on the second story of a building with people below you) are both safe directions. If this ONE rule would have been followed, I wouldn't have ended up in the hospital. Sure, I might be out a laptop, window, or TV, or my pillow might be dead, but I'd still have 100% range of motion and strength in my right arm.

Rule #4: Be sure of your target and what is beyond it

I think the thing that catches people with rule four is they don't make sure of what's behind it. This rings especially true when out hunting. People get caught up all the time by the sight of a huge deer or squirrels on a low branch and pull the trigger without ever thinking what their bullet is going to do if it comes out the other side of their intended target, or misses entirely. Make sure your target has a safe backdrop before you pull the trigger.

Many people handle guns for years before having a negligent discharge and the reason is because they get complacent. Thinking you know all there is to know about guns and/or gun safety is not a free ticket to act like a jackass. I have a family member who builds precision rifles on a daily basis after decades in the SEALs and even HE has had a negligent discharge. Sometimes bad stuff happens, so make sure you minimize your chances by following the four easy rules listed above. It may save your life.

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  1. Old Comment
    Jon_R's Avatar
    I hope you get all better and thanks for the reminder.

    Guns are very simple machines. They are also very reliable. When the striker / firing pin hits that primer it is going to go bang and it is going to go into whatever the barrel is pointing at.

    It takes many failures by people for very bad results yet they happen a lot more then they should.
    Posted 12-03-2010 at 18:02 by Jon_R Jon_R is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Six Feet Under's Avatar
    I had that same conversation with my anesthesiologist before I went into surgery yesterday... It's easy to make a mistake with a firearm, but it's just as easy NOT TO. Or easier, maybe. All it takes is common sense and not allowing yourself to get comfortable with something that can kill people by basically pulling a lever.
    Posted 12-03-2010 at 18:13 by Six Feet Under Six Feet Under is offline
    Updated 12-03-2010 at 20:11 by Six Feet Under
  3. Old Comment
    prayers for a full recovery.

    aside from getting stuck in the wrist(as a child) w/a dart, i've been blessed w/no accidents such as yours.
    i did have a sign from The Boss(i've had lots of these throughout my life!)that He's watching: most of my shooting has been on non-ranges(you are your own range officer)and most of my habits are self-taught.
    i was shooting 1911s almost exclusively(first gun)and i wanted to maximize my firepower so i would load a mag, put it down, drop a round in the chamber, drop the slide and insert the mag. i did this for years, 15-18 years.
    me and my best friend were shooting on the lease. friend weighs about 370. i had my v16(45super). i was sitting on my tailgate and he was standing to my right, watching me load it(load mag, drop round in pipe).
    he tells me why it's a bad idea to do it that way and i tell him, bulltwinkies! i've been doing it this way as long as i've been shooting!
    he took a step back and i turned to my left, dropped the slide and it went OFF! he spoke first and said i told you so.
    i spent the rest of the day(long after shooting was over)w/the knowledge that if i had shot him and the wound didn't kill him the lack of treatment would have cause there's no way i could have gotten him into either of the trucks.
    i've never 'dropped' the slide since then either.
    now i just need to work on the nephew...
    Posted 12-12-2010 at 07:23 by xdmikey xdmikey is offline

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