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Monday, June 3, 2013

The Benefits Of Following The Rules

Many years ago, a buddy of mine sent me this photo -

Any guess what that might be?

It's a hole in the ceiling in his finished garage.  Put there by a 12 gauge shotgun blast.

In my NRA FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation class, we focus on 3 primary gun safety rules:
  1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction
  2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot
  3. Always keep the gun unloaded until you're ready to shoot
I stress, ad nauseum, that the one rule that can NEVER be broken is rule Number One.  You can inadvertently hit your trigger, you may not have verified for yourself that the gun is unloaded, your gun can have a mechanical problem - a million things can happen to cause the gun to fire - but if that muzzle is always pointed away from people or animals, the worst outcome will be a repair bill.

I recently attended a hunter safety class, and one of the instructors told a similar story.

A friend of his was teaching his grandson how to smoothly "sweep" his pump shotgun when hunting birds.  Apparently, there is some size and model of flashlight that will fit into the barrel of a shotgun.  The friend and his grandson were in a bedroom with the lights off.  The flashlight was turned on, and they were sweeping the barrel along the joint where the ceiling meets the wall.

They had verified that the gun was empty and had been doing the drill for a while.  The grandson handed the shotgun to grandpa, who noticed a piece of broken rubber band in the receiver.  He removed the rubber band, and they resumed their practice.

As the grandson ended his sweep, he pulled the trigger and BOOM! the shotgun fired. 

It seems that the grandfather had lent the gun to a friend a few years earlier.  What they believe happened was that near the end of the day, the borrower had reached into his pocket, grabbed a shell - and an unintended rubber band - and loaded the shell into the tube magazine.  The rubber band held the shell in the front of the magazine.  A visual inspection would indicate the gun was empty.

When the grandson was doing his dry-fire drills, the now years-old rubber band loosened, and the shell got chambered.

Grandpa has to buy a new flat-screen TV to replace the one mounted on his wall, as well as having to fix up some wall board.

But his grandson doesn't have to live with the nightmare of having shot his grandfather (or vice versa).

My buddy called the police so they didn't respond to a "shots fired" call in his residential neighborhood.  The officer gave him a good dose of guilt trip, but didn't cite him or confiscate his gun (shocking, considering this all happened in the SF Bay Area of California).

Sometimes it takes a near-miss to focus our attention - as it did for my buddy.  Sometimes it's worse.  In my classes, I use many examples of people being killed or maimed because The Rules weren't followed.

Use these stories to remind yourself to follow The Rules each and every time you are near a gun.  They are simple, but they are life savers.

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Oblio13 said...

The only part I don't get is why grandpa called the police. Was Barney Fife in any way more qualified than him to do what needed to be done? Does anything good ever come of unnecessarily inviting a government enforcer into your life? Has even the shooting community been successfully indoctrinated to call 911 for everything?

Chief Instructor said...

Actually, it was my buddy who blew the hole in the ceiling that called the cops. He didn't want a full SWAT team showing up because of the "shots fired" in a residential neighborhood. THAT had a chance of getting ugly. He was looking at the lesser of two evils!

GunRights4US said...

I ran some numbers (After all, I am an accountant!) and I believe I’m safe in estimating that I’ve fired a couple of million rounds of ammunition in my life of 52 years. In all that time I have had exactly one negligent discharge, and like your friend, the only result was a damaged ceiling. Ya gotta really watch those Marlin lever action rifles! Once cocked you’ve got to either fire it – or ease the hammer back down with your thumb.