I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while now and I am finally getting to it. I noticed that the NRA rewrote the four rules of gun safety into three rules and I’m not really sure why. Well, I have suspicions, but that is all.
Now, the four rules (as they were taught to me) go as follows:
The 1st Law – The Firearm Is Always Loaded!
When you pick it up CHECK it and safe it. Even then, if it’s unloaded – you still treat it as if it IS loaded, it’s the best way to make sure you don’t have a negligent discharge.
The 2nd Law – Never Point The Firearm At Something You Are Not Prepared To Destroy!
Best way to make sure you don’t have years of regret is to always keep your weapon under control and on target.
The 3rd Law – Always Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Behind It!
Know what you are shooting and what is BEHIND what you are shooting. Bullets can go through quite a few things before stopping, so be dang sure you know what is there before pulling the trigger. For an example of penetration power, I direct you to my friend Michael
The 4th Law – Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Your Sights Are On The Target!
Until you are ready and willing to fire, keep the booger hook off the bang switch! Until you know for certain that rules 2 and 3 are being followed, then you don’t move on to rule 4
Notice, that not once in the rules does it say anything about what the ‘target’ is. The target could be a milk jug, a paper silhouette, or a goblin trying to get into your house. All the rules still apply. These rules have been just fine since Col. Cooper came up with them.
Now, the NRA rules read a lot different. Maybe they were written for younger shooters, or new shooters, or who knows what, but they come across a lot different to me.
1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.
3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
Now, I am no firearms expert. I haven’t spent years studying the stopping power of various rounds or going to tactical training camps to learn how to get the most out of my weapons (though I would love to!!!) I’m just a simple guy that likes to keep things as straight forward as possible and it seems to me that the NRA rules just kind of muddy up the waters.
Why isn’t the first rule “A Firearm is always loaded” To me, that is the most important fact to drive home in any shooters mind. the NRA rules don’t even talk about until rule three and that is a muddle right there “ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use”??? WTF? Lot softer of a sell that saying ‘IT’S ALWAYS LOADED NO MATTER WHAT!”
The rest of the rules to me are just as muddled. It seems like they wanted to have all the information of the Four Rules, but not call it that, and make it friendlier and less scary. Well, what a firearm can do is scary, and to me you should always handle your firearm with the respect that is required.
Maybe I’m just being pissy, but it seems to me they fixed something that wasn’t broke.