Who came up with "The Four Rules"?


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Molon Labe
August 19, 2005, 08:40 AM
I'm sure you're aware of "The Four Rules" of gun safety. If not, you should be. In fact, every responsible gun owner should have them memorized.

So who first coined the rules? I have always heard it was Jeff Cooper. Can this be confirmed?

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RTFM
August 19, 2005, 09:14 AM
Ya know for some reason I too think it was Col. Jeff Cooper.

ruger270man
August 19, 2005, 09:24 AM
lets see if i remember them..

there is no safety
keep gun pointed in safe direction
gun is always loaded
dont point at somethiing you dont intend to kill/destroy


if thats not right, I covered the basics, and thats all that matters :neener:

BigG
August 19, 2005, 10:39 AM
Yes, I guess in the 600 years firearms have been around nobody ever got around to addressing safety until Jeff Cooper did, late in the XX century. :banghead:

My dad taught me the essence of those rules and he never heard of JC, the colonel, not Christ, although I'm sure they get confused a lot. :scrutiny:

1 old 0311
August 19, 2005, 10:58 AM
If it wasn't Cooper he would still have taken credit.

Kevin

AirForceShooter
August 19, 2005, 11:20 AM
Does it matter??

AFS

pax
August 19, 2005, 11:37 AM
Of course there were always safety rules, from the earliest days of firearms:

"Keep your powder dry."

"Never draw unless to shoot, never shoot unless to kill."

Plenty of others. Some of the rules were applicable to only one kind of gun ("Keep your muzzle above the head of the tallest person on the range") or to only one set of circumstances ("Stay behind the yellow line while others are downrange"). Some would apply only to range work, some only to field work, some only to guns with external safeties, some only to revolvers or only to single-action semi-autos or only to double-action only handguns...

There were a lot of rules, but no uniformity.

Jeff Cooper deserves a great deal of credit for being the first to perceive the need for truly universal safety rules, rules that would apply to all firearms at all times. He's the first one who boiled all of the various rules about firearms down into just four rules -- rules that are simple enough that even a child could follow them, rules that provide an overlocking safety system, rules that pretty well everyone else in the gun world has acknowledged as simple and basic and enough.

You might not think that's a big deal, but there's a lot of genius that went into those four simple rules. Complexity is easy; simplicity is difficult. Jeff Cooper made firearms safety more simple at a time when firearms were becoming more complex. That's genius.

pax

There were others who might have (I question that part)
-- But, after all, they didn't do it! -- Grace Stricker Dawson

BigG
August 19, 2005, 11:48 AM
Pax, you have stated something I've often said in my day to day conversations: "complexity is easy, simplicity is hard."

However, for the pulp reading public, perhaps Cooper is a genius, but the Army teaches pretty much the same rules, as my dad and many people's dad's taught them.

Boiling it down to a slogan, maybe that was Jeff's contribution. I sure wouldn't call -all guns are loaded; dont point; keep finger off trigger; be aware of backdrop to be all that innovative. JMTC

armedandsafe
August 19, 2005, 01:41 PM
Back in the late 40s, NRA put out flyers with the basic rules of shooting. Included were the "10 commandments of hunting." They were basically the four rules, with some more common-sense rules about moving about in the field with a loaded gun.

Pops

pax
August 19, 2005, 03:05 PM
However, for the pulp reading public, perhaps Cooper is a genius, but the Army teaches pretty much the same rules, as my dad and many people's dad's taught them.
Back in the late 40s, NRA put out flyers with the basic rules of shooting. Included were the "10 commandments of hunting." They were basically the four rules, with some more common-sense rules about moving about in the field with a loaded gun.
Again, Cooper was not the first to formulate firearms safety rules. He wasn't even the first to say, "Don't point the gun at anything you don't intend to shoot."

But he was the first to put that rule with just three others, and stop there.

pax

There's a great power in words, if you don't hitch too many of them together. - Josh Billings

Standing Wolf
August 19, 2005, 09:24 PM
Complexity is easy; simplicity is difficult.

Yep. The hardest work I do as a painter is to persuade myself not to over-paint.

Sleeping Dog
August 20, 2005, 12:01 AM
Weren't the four rules scrawled on the back of the tablets that Charleton Heston brought down from Mount Ararat? :rolleyes:

imas
August 20, 2005, 05:08 AM
Whoa guys. You call yourselves gun nuts and you don't even know who developed the four rules?

"I invented the four laws of firearms safety." -Al Gore, July 1999

BigG
August 20, 2005, 08:57 AM
:banghead: [smacks forehead] I shoulda known it was algore. :banghead:

ctdonath
August 20, 2005, 06:53 PM
The essence of the rules has long been around, since shortly after the first "here, hold my sake" moment. It was Cooper who codified them into the concise, clear, re-enforcing structure we now have.

Ironically, the only time I've heard them in public is at a Penn & Teller show, right before they shot each other in the mouth.

newfalguy101
August 20, 2005, 07:05 PM
Four rules????????????

I always tell my daughter the first three rules are:

1)Keep your finger off the trigger

2) keep your finger off the damn trigger

3) keep your damn finger off the damn trigger

its ONLY your life you will save

then I get into the rest

Mannlicher
August 21, 2005, 02:21 PM
I think these thoughts have been around as long as guns have. Folks that used bows probably thought the same way also.

keyhole
August 21, 2005, 02:53 PM
If some would only THINK first. :banghead:

But then again, it's askin too much, so we have to spell it out. :D

Start 'em out young.

JoeG52
August 21, 2005, 04:27 PM
Speaking of Algore and gun safety...

http://peoplesfortheamericanway.org/images/Gore_Gun_Safety.jpg

KC&97TA
August 21, 2005, 10:49 PM
I'm used to the USMC rules, I attended Gun Site Shooting Academy for the Carbine in January, they had a bit of a twist to rule #1.

1. Every Gun is Loaded ... and all mine are :)

GRB
August 22, 2005, 12:59 AM
I'm sure you're aware of "The Four Rules" of gun safety. If not, you should be. In fact, every responsible gun owner should have them memorized.

So who first coined the rules? I have always heard it was Jeff Cooper. Can this be confirmed?Whomever it was was just someone who was cutting corners or was just too lazy to follow all the rules of gun safety. There are a few more than 4, those 4 do not cover it all, by a longshot. Just 20 years ago there were at least 6 to 7 taught everywhere. Some new age mathematician must have figured that 4 were just as good as more. That could very well have been Al Gore as someone suggested.

Legionnaire
August 22, 2005, 01:54 PM
Wherever they originated, my kids all know four rules, and they're pretty much the same as those codified by Jeff Cooper.

If you enjoyed reading about "Who came up with "The Four Rules"?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!