I wonder...?


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Sato Ord
April 27, 2008, 10:47 AM
I wonder how much illogical fear of firearms is also fueled by hyper-vigilance on the part of gun owners. We go to such great lengths to ensure safety that some have reached the realm of the ridiculous.

I go to show someone my new handgun. I tell them it is loaded. I drop the mag and eject the round from the chamber. I lock the slide back and hand him the weapon. He looks at the chamber and then closes the slide. After looking at the pistol, he goes through nearly the same procedure to hand the weapon back (except for dropping the mag since it was never reloaded), and accidentally sweeps me as he hands it over with the slide locked open.

I have seen people go ballistic over such a thing. As if a live round might have worm-crawled itself into the chamber while we were looking it over, and as if it will fire with the slide back. Some person unfamiliar with weapons takes the tirade as gospel because the guy "knows about guns" and becomes more afraid and less likely to be open to the reality that shooting is a safe and fun hobby.

I don't live near Toon Town, my friends don't have floppy ears and gorgeous wives (well, some of them have gorgeous wives), and my ammo doesn't talk to me in Andy Divine's, or Chill Will's voice and jump into my firearms of its own volition. (Of course, if you could give me a source for the stuff that chases the bad guy around the corner, I'd buy a box.)

If I am showing someone a firearm and haven't taken my eyes off of it, I don't need to check two or three more times before I reload it and put it away, or stow it unloaded.

I am all for being safe with firearms, but I have never had an accidental discharge, and I've been handling guns for more than four decades. Common sense is the key, and vigilance is expected.

However, many people who are interested in guns but only familiar with media hype are not necessarily calmed by hyper-vigilance, and they certainly aren't calmed by someone going off like a raving lunatic because of a perceived fault. If the four basics are followed, everyone should remain happy and have no extra holes once the weapon is put away.

Be safe, but don't fuel the anti-gun paranoia.

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MachIVshooter
April 27, 2008, 11:04 AM
There's a lot of distance between the hyper-vigilant, going ballistic over a minor safety infraction type that you talk about, and ignoring proper safety measures to avoid possibly upsetting a newbi.

When I am introducing someone to the sport and they are handling firearms, I show/tell proper safety measures. Usually they don't have a problem abiding by these common sense rules. But sometimes they get distracted and trigger fingers creeep in or muzzle control vanishes. I don't jump all over them; I gently remind them either verbally or by pointing at the their finger/pushing the muzzle away from whatever it shouldn't be pointed at.

Len S
April 27, 2008, 11:10 AM
The checking is habit almost a ritual. If you check a gun every time you get it in your hands it is less likely that at some time in the future you will forget. Gun safety habits are to avoid that one OPPS because an OPPS can be forever. As far as sweeping someone with the muzzle. I think that is a no no no matter what condition the gun is in. Again if you are always aware of where your muzzle is and NEVER point at something you do not wish to destroy it is less likely that a OPPS will happen. People train and train so that they are ready for that maybe one time when they may be attacked. No one says they train too much. The safety issue is the same thing. Now, the way such transgressions are handled are a different matter. In the scene that you gave I see no reason to yell at anyone. I think maybe the change should be not in the safety ritual but in the way we react when the ritual is not followed.


Len

Sato Ord
April 27, 2008, 11:34 AM
There's a lot of distance between the hyper-vigilant, going ballistic over a minor safety infraction type that you talk about, and ignoring proper safety measures to avoid possibly upsetting a newbi.

You are absolutely right!

I am not advocating that anyone put safety second to some newbie's delicate sensibilities.

I have just seen the type of hyper nonsense, bordering on paranoia, that I have described exhibited in my local gun shop while the guy behind the counter was showing someone who is new to shooting a firearm. (This happened just a few days ago.)

The guys where I shop know what they are doing and don't need some self proclaimed expert trying to teach them or their potential customers how to safely handle a firearm (this time the customer was a woman who had no experience with handguns but wanted to buy one for protection). The woman and the clerk were doing fine, but the guy perceived a problem that no else was worried about and proceeded to nearly get himself thrown out of the shop. It took a lot to calm the woman back down and convince her that the other customer was basically being paranoid.

To shorten the story, the "helpful customer" stomped out saying he would not come back, and the woman finally calmed down and signed up for both shooting classes and concealed firearms class, but it was touch and go for while. Eventually, between me and the clerk, we were able to convince her that the incident shouldn't prevent her from arming and protecting herself.

(Just to make things clear, the guy accused the woman of sweeping the clerk with a revolver the clerk was showing her. We had all just watched the clerk check the cylinder and he was explaining the procedure to the woman when the guy claims she pointed the gun at the clerk. I was watching and what he perceived as "sweeping the man" was she put her hand on the revolver to swing open the cylinder like the clerk told her to do while he was still holding the weapon. It wasn't the big deal the guy made it into, and his reaction was definitely no way to teach someone firearm safety.)

We all talk about trying to convince those who are "on the fence" concerning gun ownership. This (though a bit more extreme than most incidents) was a great example of how not to do it, and I've seen it often enough to make me wonder just how many newbies are scared off by such behavior.

Sato Ord
April 27, 2008, 11:36 AM
Now, the way such transgressions are handled are a different matter.

Perhaps that is more to the point. It's early and I was up late with tummy troubles last night so I may not be as coherent as I'd like.

Sato Ord
April 27, 2008, 11:40 AM
Sorry folks, I should have posted the whole incident in the first place.

I didn't mean to play NIGYYSOB with everyone. This question has been on my mind, but this incident has really brought it to the forefront.

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