Rule 1


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RyanM
September 6, 2007, 01:50 PM
(This is my 2,222nd post, hooray)

Rule 1 of gun safety: all guns are always loaded. Oftentimes, people change this to "treat all guns as if they were loaded." In any case, that's the way people like to interpret it. But that is absolutely, positively wrong. All guns are always loaded.

That means always keep your guns are loaded, unless it's absolutely necessary to unload them. There is absolutely no such thing as an unloaded gun. All guns are always loaded. Keep them that way. If you get in the habit of always unloading your guns, you come to subconsciously think of them that way. The one time they're not empty, best case scenario is you crap your pants. Again, there is no such thing as an unloaded gun. By always keeping your firearms loaded, that point is driven home.

You may say that keeping your guns loaded is "dangerous." That's absolutely false. An "empty" gun is considerably more dangerous than a loaded one, as long as it's in mechanically sound condition. You should be genuinely surprised if you pick up one of your guns, clear it, and don't get ammo popping out of it, because all guns are always loaded. They're safer that way.

I've never had a negligent discharge, and I hope I never will. Because unloaded guns do not exist. I know for a fact that all my guns are loaded. Do you?

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Blackbeard
September 6, 2007, 01:53 PM
Sounds good but if it were true I couldn't go to the range. Can't transport a loaded firearm in Daleystan.

AZAndy
September 6, 2007, 02:01 PM
Gonna make dry-firing a bit difficult. ;-) But yes, other than dry-firing, draw practice, or cleaning, my pistols are always loaded and ready.

A.

MachIVshooter
September 6, 2007, 02:04 PM
I've never had a negligent discharge, and I hope I never will. Because unloaded guns do not exist. I know for a fact that all my guns are loaded. Do you?

Just wait. Like you, I keep mine loaded always and know that they are. I still have a hole from a 250 gr. .452" slug in the basement carpet. ND doesn't necessarily mean that the gun was thought to be empty, it just means that you discharged a round when you didn't intend to. In my example, a combination of a fully loaded SAA and too much gun oil.

That's why all the other rules take a back seat to rule #2; as long as your firearm is pointed in a safe direction, a ND will only result in some embarrassment and perhaps minor property damage.

ranger58
September 6, 2007, 02:18 PM
congrats on the 2,222 posts:),good points to be reminded of on gun saftey.

R58

spencerhut
September 6, 2007, 03:00 PM
I thought Rule #1 was "Bring a gun" :rolleyes:

ShooterMcGavin
September 6, 2007, 03:20 PM
It seems logical that on your 2,222nd post, you might give reinforcement to Rule #2 ;)

Congrats.

Are these reasons to unload your gun?:
Storing a gun for long term
transporting it (in some states)
shipping
shooting the last round [at the range]
-AND ESPECIALLY THE FOLLOWING...
cleaning
dry firing
handing a firearm to a friend

Onto Rule #2....
I point my gun or allow it to point (same thing) at my feet regularly, when it is carried in my IWB holster. I point my gun at other people, when carrying in a shoulder holster. My gun points at one of my walls all night, when it is on my nightstand as I sleep. My barrel points all over my house, when I clean my gun.

I will not go on with the other rules. My point is that it is literally impossible to follow the first 3 rules PERFECTLY. As you can see, my little post started to sound quite pedantic. There is always human involvement. Therefore, there will always be the possibility of danger when handling firearms, just as when driving a car. I think the point of Rule #1 is to KNOW, without a doubt, that your gun is uloaded when you handle it as such (i.e. cleaning). There is a difference between the act of unloading and the state of being unloaded. How do I KNOW, without a doubt, that my gun is unloaded? Shortly after I have stuck my finger in the chamber. That gives me enough time to clean, dry fire, or hand my gun to a friend. If the gun leaves my hand or my immediate sight, it is loaded and deadly, and will be treated as such.

Ok, I am ready to be flamed. Go easy on me :o

littlegator
September 6, 2007, 03:24 PM
point my gun or allow it to point (same thing) at my feet regularly

No wonder your feet are afraid of you. :p

ShooterMcGavin
September 6, 2007, 03:25 PM
That means always keep your guns are loaded, unless it's absolutely necessary to unload them.
I guess I should also acknowledge that you (RyanM) were not making the outrageous claim that it might have seemed I responded to. I was really trying to point out that the 4 rules are flawed, because they were written by humans and must be followed by humans.

I do agree with your sentiment.

M_Olson
September 6, 2007, 03:45 PM
ok, its been about 10 years since my firearms safety course. i always hear people talking about the 4 rules on here, but no one ever lists them, and i only remember 3 of 4:

gun is always loaded

finger off the trigger till ready to shoot
and
never point the gun at anything your not willing to destroy.

whats #4?

MakAttak
September 6, 2007, 03:52 PM
Rule #4: Know your target and what's behind it.

ShooterMcGavin
September 6, 2007, 03:53 PM
Be sure of your target and what is beyond/around it.

ArfinGreebly
September 6, 2007, 03:56 PM
For those of you worried about long-term storage, that's what gun locks are for.

When you know you're going to store the gun unloaded for any amount of time, then you employ a cable lock.

This way, it's obvious and visible that the gun is not loaded, there's no way someone will play with it and hurt themselves, and you won't be tempted to do something truly stupid, like trying to defend yourself with an unloaded gun.

Cleaning, inspecting, handing to a friend, and dry firing are all short-term activities during which you temporarily unload the gun. You have to double check when you do that, because they're more dangerous when unloaded.

Under normal circumstances, when you look in your safe, you will immediately know which ones are unloaded and dangerous, as they'll be the ones with the locks on them.

The unlocked ones are, of course, loaded and ready for use.

[There's no "ha-ha, only serious" smiley; rats]

JohnBT
September 6, 2007, 04:30 PM
"That means always keep your guns are loaded, unless it's absolutely necessary to unload them."

No thanks, never have kept all of my guns loaded and I never will.

To each their own, but I just don't see any value in your scheme.

I know a man with 1200 shotguns in his collection. You think he needs to keep all of them loaded?

When you pick a gun up you open the action and check it. Simple.

John

tydephan
September 6, 2007, 04:36 PM
I know a man with 1200 shotguns in his collection.

Holy Toledo!

Is that a typo?

Does he own a Mountain called Gander?

Mainsail
September 6, 2007, 05:02 PM
Huh, when I remove all the cartridges from my firearm, it’s unloaded. I can then treat it like it’s unloaded and dry fire it, clean it, or disassemble it. So I guess I regularly violate (your) rule one. Here’s the four rules as I know them:

1. All guns are always loaded (until you establish whether they are or not).
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. Keep your gun pointed in a safe direction at all times: on the range, at home, loading, or unloading.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target (and you are ready to shoot).
4. Be sure of your target. Know what it is, what is in line with it and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you haven't positively identified.

sacp81170a
September 6, 2007, 05:28 PM
Rule 1 of gun safety: all guns are always loaded.

I don't see what's so hard about adding 4 little logical words: "until you confirm otherwise". Simple. It's loaded unless I've checked it to make sure. Otherwise, how are you supposed to check the barrel of your hunting rifle for obstructions? Don't want to point a "loaded" gun at your own head, eh?

I understand your sentiment, but guns aren't magical articles subject to different laws of physics than other dangerous objects. The electrical wire is "hot" until I confirm otherwise. The water is too shallow to dive into until I confirm otherwise. It would be nonsensical to stop and say only this thing or that thing exists in any condition until you check for yourself. You should always check when dangerous tools or actions are involved, however. Dangerous habits are what kill, not tools.

RyanM
September 6, 2007, 05:32 PM
1200 shotguns? Holy crap. Although the ones that are handled and/or shot regularly should indeed be kept loaded. No such thing as an empty gun, and an empty gun is more dangerous than a loaded one anyway.

And I'd say Arfin summed up what I was trying to say perfectly.

I don't see what's so hard about adding 4 little logical words: "until you confirm otherwise". Simple. It's loaded unless I've checked it to make sure. Otherwise, how are you supposed to check the barrel of your hunting rifle for obstructions? Don't want to point a "loaded" gun at your own head, eh?

Are you perfect? Have you never missed a single detail, ever, in your entire life? Are you able to open a Where's Waldo book to any random page, and immediately find Waldo, every time?

It's possible to forget the chamber, or forget the magazine. It's possible that the extractor may fail, and leave a round in the chamber. It's possible that you might not see the round in the chamber. The LCI might fail, especially if the extractor is broken.

Therefore, when handling an "unloaded" gun, in any way, for any reason, you must still point it in a safe direction, and otherwise act as though it's loaded. When dry-firing, you must point it in a safe direction (I use a wall in the basement, low enough that there's nothing but dirt, should the bullet make it through the wall), as though it were loaded and you had no choice but to fire the gun in some direction, for some reason. You must still assume the gun is loaded, because it might be. The only allowable exception would be if the gun is very clearly empty, with the action open and a "flag" or something inserted in the chamber, or if it's in enough pieces that it can no longer function.

sacp81170a
September 6, 2007, 05:47 PM
Are you perfect? Have you never missed a single detail, ever, in your entire life? Are you able to open a Where's Waldo book to any random page, and immediately find Waldo, every time?

No, that's why rule 2 exists. Never point a loaded gun at something you're not willing to destroy. If I haven't checked it, it's loaded.

The only allowable exception would be if the gun is very clearly empty, with the action open and a "flag" or something inserted in the chamber, or if it's in enough pieces that it can no longer function.

So you admit that there is a logical exception, and that is when you have visually and physically checked that a gun is unloaded. The problem we have here is one of semantics, and I believe it has to do with what we mean by "check". For the record, to check a weapon, you ensure that there is no magazine in the well, no rounds in the cylinder, or, for rifles and shotguns, no rounds in the magazine. Open the action, and visually and physically confirm that there is no round in the chamber. This means you look and stick your finger in the chamber to check. Then you are assured that it is unloaded.

The problems that people get into usually involve missing one or more steps of this check procedure. Ammo out, chamber clear. Too many times you hear about people assuming without checking or taking someone else's word that a firearm is unloaded. It's loaded until you personally have checked, even if it's only been handed to your buddy for a second for him to look at. Proper etiquette is for you to hand a weapon to him in such a manner that he can easily check for himself, i.e., action open and toward him, and he hands it back in the same manner. I do this all the time, and the habit is contagious if you follow it conscientiously. For the record, I have had ND's, and it's always been because I broke rule #1 or #3 (booger hook off the bang switch).

Fortunately, because I was following rule #2, nothing was hurt. That's the way the rules work. For someone to get hurt, you have to break two or more of them and breaking two or more of the rules is no accident, it's negligence.

Mainsail
September 6, 2007, 06:17 PM
Therefore, when handling an "unloaded" gun, in any way, for any reason, you must still point it in a safe direction, and otherwise act as though it's loaded. When dry-firing, you must point it in a safe direction (I use a wall in the basement, low enough that there's nothing but dirt, should the bullet make it through the wall), as though it were loaded and you had no choice but to fire the gun in some direction, for some reason. You must still assume the gun is loaded, because it might be. The only allowable exception would be if the gun is very clearly empty, with the action open and a "flag" or something inserted in the chamber, or if it's in enough pieces that it can no longer function.

That’s a lot of “you must” statements. Since my firearms cannot possibly load themselves, I can dry fire it wherever I determine it’s prudent. If I want to track the cat as it walks across the room, I can. It’s unloaded because I unloaded it and checked to ensure it was unloaded. If I am any less than 100% sure that it’s unloaded, it takes only the briefest moment to check.

Lets examine the four rules, using your logic:
“1. All guns are always loaded.”
According to this, you shouldn’t be dry firing at all! Neither should you clean it or allow anyone else to touch it.
“2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.”
Well, you don’t want to destroy the top of your safe. You don’t want to destroy the bottom of your holster either. You probably don’t want to destroy the cellar wall.
“3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.”
On the target? That requires you to get pretty close. Wear your eye protection!
“4. Be sure of your target.” Know what it is, what is in line with it and what is behind it.”
Well, if you violate all the other rules and get to the point where you’re actually pointing your gun at something, say an elk, how do you know that there isn’t a little school girl standing behind the elk? You can’t be sure of what’s behind the elk, right?

That is, of course, sarcasm. My point is that you have to know not just the rule in its rote abbreviated form, but also what it’s protecting against and why it’s a rule. If your intellect is lacking, such that you feel you can only be safe if you’re obedient to a mechanical repetition of the rules, you may be better off not owning any firearms whatsoever.

My guns are either loaded or unloaded. I treat them as though they are loaded until I have positively determined that they are not. Don’t treat your firearms with a condition of fear, but with respect for what they are and what they are capable of doing.

boredelmo
September 6, 2007, 06:29 PM
Between my father and i, we have approx 30 firearms. Keeping all of them loaded just wouldn't make sense.

Keeping them unloaded just in case you ever slip up on rule 1 is not too bad.

No matter how perfect we are, there are too many variables. Some loaded firearms go off when dropped, im pretty sure dropping a gun is an accident. You can say youve never dropped your camera/cell phone a few times right? Of course you didn't mean it.

But of course, rules 1 will have a different interpretation from person to person

XD Fan
September 6, 2007, 06:51 PM
Wow, 1200 firearms of any kind...cool.

I do not keep any of my guns loaded. I know many here think that is fool hardy. I will endure your disapproval. I agree that "empty" (emphasis on the quotation marks) guns are dangerous, however I have never had an ND with a gun I thought was unloaded. Why is that? It is because I never pick up a gun without checking to see if it is loaded or not. If I have just wacthed someone unload a gun, I check it after they hand it to me. If they hand it to me with the action open and the magazine out, I check it again. I treat my guns as loaded except in the above mentioned situations of cleaning and what not.

As to whether it is possible to follow the letter of the four rules, I think we are really getting into semantics. It is the spirit of the rules that is important.

All guns are always loaded (until you establish whether they are or not).


Even when we establish that a gun is unloaded, we still live by the spirit of the four rules. Yes we may clean it, dry fire it or "track the cat":what:. However, we would (should) never track our child or jump out of a closet and point a confirmed unloaded gun at our spouse to see the expression on his/her face. Obviously these are things we should never do no matter how sure we are that a gun is unloaded. Even if I had a cable lock through the action, I should not be pointing a gun at a person. In that sense I still treat it like it is loaded.

Hey, Ryan. Congrats on #2222.

SteveS
September 6, 2007, 06:52 PM
All guns are always loaded.

I get it.

That means always keep your guns are loaded, unless it's absolutely necessary to unload them.

Huh, so all guns are always unloaded unless they aren't? Thanks, but no thanks. I have gotten by all these years with "treat them as if they were loaded" and "always check."

RH822
September 6, 2007, 09:17 PM
I was raised with my fathers version of the rules, very similar.

Treat every gun as if it is loaded, until you check that it isn't.
Never point a gun at anything you don't intend to shoot.
Pay attention to what's behind your target, bullets can go a long way.
and my favorite,
Never use your scope as binoculars, people tend to get nervous when some jackass is pointing a rifle at them.

As for keeping all my guns loaded. The only loaded gun in my house is the one I have with me. The way I see it, if a bad guy wants a loaded gun...he can bring his own, I sure as hell ain't gonna supply him one.

RH

JohnBT
September 6, 2007, 09:28 PM
Holy Toledo!

Is that a typo?
_______________

No.

Visualize a collection containing a lot of old English shotguns. Visualize a gun room with a house built up around it.

I understand that his grandmother has her own collection, but hers might still be in England.

John

cnorman18
September 6, 2007, 09:46 PM
NOBODY should be confident that he will never have an AD. Confidence is dangerous. Never, ever let your guard down when handling firearms; you check the gun's chamber every time you pick it up, even if no one else is in the room.

Colonel Jeff Cooper himself--the guy who WROTE those four rules--had at least one AD, in front of witnesses, which he found hugely embarrassing. If it can happen to the redoubtable Col. Cooper, it can sure enough happen to any of us.

A Texas Ranger who carried his 1911 cocked-and-locked was once asked by a concerned woman, "Isn't that dangerous?" His reply was, "Yes, Ma'am. It sure is."

Guns ARE dangerous; if they weren't, they would have no purpose or value. Those who get casual around their weapons tend to put holes in things they'd rather not see perforated.

Oh--and for my money, that means leaving all one's guns loaded at all times. One or two, ready and at hand in case of emergencies, sure; but ALL of them? At one time I owned 33 pistols, and it would have been beyond dumb to leave them all loaded--if for no other reason than that it would make them that much closer to being readily available to someone ELSE. That's not the dumbest thing I've ever heard--that would have something to do with a voting booth and Al Gore--but it's pretty close.

If I'm not supposed to put my finger on the trigger till I'm ready to fire, it doesn't seem illogical to keep the ammo out of my gun until the time to fire it is at least imminent.

Honestly.

I don't leave all my pocketknives open all the time, either.

cnorman18
September 6, 2007, 10:00 PM
If anybody remembers Skeeter Skelton's stories about his buddy with the ranch down by the border--that mostly fictional fellow had a gun collection I still dream about. Drillings, Artillery Lugers, original Sharps buffalo rifles, custom 1911s, cap-and-ball guns and English double rifles--and not least, dozens of Colt SAAs and a box of enough loose Colt parts to make a dozen more.

Brr. If I ever win the MegaMillions...

ArfinGreebly
September 6, 2007, 10:21 PM
I don't leave all my pocketknives open all the time, either.
Yeah.

Neither do I.

And I'm always worried that one of them will "go off" when I'm cleaning it.

I should probably get some knife locks.

RyanM
September 6, 2007, 11:33 PM
Yeah.

Neither do I.

And I'm always worried that one of them will "go off" when I'm cleaning it.

I should probably get some knife locks.

Y'know, I've actually had an auto open unexpectedly and stab my hand, one time. Typically, I do leave all the leaf spring ones open, though that's to avoid spring fatigue more than anything.

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