So here we are again. Just when you think it wont happen to you, or you say to yourself, “I don’t know anyone that has had an accident. We all hear the stories and see all the pictures on the web, we even watch the videos of DEA agents actually teaching others on gun safety and yes you guessed it, BAM! A Negligent Discharge. I am in the camp, that does not believe you should call it an “accidental discharge” Really? Can accidents happen yes.! Like maybe if you drop a firearm and it goes off, or you are running from a bear and shooting at it blindly, and you accidentally kill a mocking bird. But when you reach for a firearm to handle it and you grab it incorrectly or haphazardly, that results in the discharge of the firearm that is NEGLIGENCE! You caused it! You failed to take the appropriate measures to ensure the safe handling of the firearm. Why am I writing this article, because a buddy of mine decided to discharge his pistol while in his vehicle where he, YES! You guessed it, he shot himself in the foot and through the floorboard of his car. In his words “I had an awkward grip on the gun and my ring finger slipped into the trigger guard and it went off.” I wanted to post his picture, but he threatened me with litigation if I did, so I just told him he would be the subject of our next post. So lets go through the basics once again.
- 1) Treat all guns as if they are loaded!
This rule by itself does not completely keep you safe of negligence but it does set the tone as to how we treat a firearm and do not just assume the gun is unloaded. It must be treated with respect! Even when someone tells you it’s “Not loaded” Clear the firearm yourself!
- 2) Do not point the gun at anything you do not wish to destroy!
At this point you have not verified weather or not the gun is loaded or not, so we will consider it loaded and keep it pointed either down at the ground or in the ready position. Not to the side, not in the air, keep it pointed DOWN!
- 3) Keep you finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot!
And here we are the number one rule that if followed no matter what else you do, the gun will not discharge. Hmmm, so basically the firearm is safe, until someone picks it up, and how that person handles it determines weather or not it stays safe.
- 4) Know your target and what is beyond it!
So you have followed all the rules and now you are placed in the position to discharge your gun, either at the range or in a life or death situation, you must know what you target is and what is beyond it. What kind of backstop are you shooting at? Are there people behind your attacker? Always remember there is a lawyer behind every round that gets fired from your gun. And they want to know why it was fired and why it landed where it did. And you need to be able to articulate your thought processes as to why you discharged your gun, and why the bullets landed where they did.