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Are Rules Rules?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Loosedhorse, Mar 3, 2012.


What about those 4 Rules?

Poll closed Apr 2, 2012.
  1. They are rules and they always apply. Stick to them

  2. There are exceptions (in post, please explain how we know when to it's safe to ignore the rules)

  3. Third option (please explain in post)

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  1. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    In another thread, we were discussing whether the 4 Rules are always applicable; or whether there are always exceptions, and an expert knows when to disregard the rules.

    My position is that the Rules always apply. If I may argue for my position:

    It is true that the Rules require interpretation--go to any appeals court, and you'll find out just how much arguing there is about what rules actually mean.

    Since we were talking about Rule 2, let's use that as the example. What does "Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy" mean? A barrel detached from your gun has a muzzle--should we apply Rule 2 to that detached barrel? How about the imaginary gun I make with my fingers--POW! Would its "muzzle" be unsafe to point at something I'm not willing to destroy? How about a cased or holtered gun?

    I have decided (for me) that the Rule applies to handled, functional, assembled guns that have their actions closed. And we already know (Rule 1) that all such guns are always loaded.

    Once we (each of us) have decided what the Rule means, IT SHOULD BE INVIOLABLE. Otherwise, it is NOT a rule, and then it is worthless, IMHO.

    Say another person were to decide that Rule 2 applies to all guns with their barrels in place; then he might decide only to check the barrel of a revolver with a mirror, or a scope of some kind. He might decide that he can't use (clean) revolvers without violating Rule 2, and therefore decline to use them. And that would be fine.

    What he should NOT decide (IMHO) that Rule 2 applies only sometimes. And if you're an "expert", you know when those times are. And what I shouldn't do is tell him that there are in fact exceptions to the Rule, because it is impossible to examine the bore of a revolver or clean it without violating his Rule 2 (as it is in fact possible to do both), but lots of people use revolvers anyway.

    What I might do is explain that if he gets an ultrasonic cleaner, or fashions himself a U-shaped cleaning rod, he can clean the barrel without pointing it at himself. Or ask him, if he gets a revolver from which the cylinder is easily removed (like a SAA), would that make a difference.

    But whatever you decide Rule 2 to be, YOU SHOULD STICK TO IT. ALWAYS. IT IS A RULE. We have all heard of (and a few of us have seen) the results of not obeying the rules. And we are all tired of various "experts" (whether they are impeached presidents, disgraced priests, or incarcerated Wall Street tycoons) who "knew" the rules didn't apply to them, because they were experts.

    There. If that seems too rigid, well, I'm just going to have to live with it. But I'd rather do that than break firearm safety rules or teach my kids and students that it's alright to break them, too.

    So--what do you all think?
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  2. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    :scrutiny: :confused:

    I think you're ridiculously overthinking this.
  3. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Well-Known Member

    Without taking a revolver to a smith with gauges and paying, there is no way to check chamber to bore alignment without looking down the barrel with the gun in full lockup...
  4. gdesloge

    gdesloge Well-Known Member

    Did you know that there are actually 10 Commandments of gun safety?


    The Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety should be etched in your memory forever. Let them govern your actions wherever and whenever you're involved with firearms. In the woods. On the range. Or in your home. Please take time to review and understand these rules.

    Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

    Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.

    Don't rely on your gun's safety.

    Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.

    Use proper ammunition.

    If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care.

    Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.

    Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.

    Don't alter or modify your gun and have it serviced regularly.

    Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.




    And here's one that was apparently taken from an old Remington publication (I like this one):


    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  5. bowman1962

    bowman1962 Well-Known Member

    There has to be a level of common sense involved in everything we do in life, i.e common sense would dictate that a barrel removed from a firearm or a pointed index finger has 0 chance of discharging and causing damage or death! It's just that simple and should be taught that way!

    Somebody needs to lay off the caffine!:what:
    GOD Bless
  6. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    Ah--perhaps I forgot the option: "Safety doesn't matter to me, so it shouldn't matter to you."

    I thought that's what range rods were for. Not to mention mirrors, videocameras and flexible fiberoptic scopes.

    But, you've hit on the nub of the matter: are you willing to point a cocked gun at your head because you "know it's unloaded"? I'm not, and never have.
    Sure--but what if my common sense tells me not to point guns at my head, and yours says it's fine to do that?

    Remember "common sense gun laws"? Everyone's common sense is different. If we could depend on everyone's common sense, why would ranges post rules or hire ROs?


    Hey guys: let's try to keep it civil and relevant. Explaining your position is fine. Saying that my position (or anyone else's) is the product of overthinking, or too much caffeine, or lack of common sense is ad hominem--and admission that you have nothing thoughtful or on-point to say.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  7. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    Strict adherence to rule two eliminates many concealed carry options.
  8. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    So, you'll edit the following?

  9. Tomcat47

    Tomcat47 Well-Known Member


    After following safety procedures.....

    Yes....I can competently look down the bore of a unloaded Revolver to check the bore alignment and timing, and feel certain that it will not load itself during the process!

    I suppose if one were super paranoid you could remove firing pin then check timing....

    I think safety rules always apply.........when handling firearms!

    I also think that there are rules for handling a firearm and doing maintenance on a firearm!............. And they are different!

    Just for example: A car has safety rules to drive it! They also have safety rules to work on it.....they are safety rules not to be bent ... but are not the same rules! The rules to work on the car are to be followed by someone that has knowledge of auto maintenance and safety!

    Firearms are no different....if one is not comfortable doing maintenance and repair, such as checking timing etc. on a firearm....A gunsmith should be considered...he will have the knowledge to do it safely.

    Maybe over thinking the subject somewhat, but that is not always a bad thing.....my 2 cents
  10. TJ AK-74

    TJ AK-74 Well-Known Member

    If a person doesn't want to look down a gun barrel, that is fine. I however feel perfectly fine looking down a gun barrel (once I have double-or-triple-checked that it is unloaded). I do not believe that you should always treat a gun as if it is loaded :what: because that is just silly. If one is not smart enough to be able to make sure a gun is actually unloaded before handling it, he probably shouldn't be inspecting it. The problem is that people get lazy or forgetful, and accidents happen. A better rule would be to always assume that a firearm is loaded until you can prove 100% that it is NOT loaded.
  11. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    "I have decided (for me) that the Rule applies to handled, functional, assembled guns that have their actions closed. And we already know (Rule 1) that all such guns are always loaded."

    Loaded guns are loaded. Empty guns aren't. Always maintain muzzle control and awareness and keep your finger off the trigger except when you are ready to actually shoot.

    Ever tried to shoot an empty gun? Wasn't loaded, was it?
  12. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    I saw this coming.
    Wrong on both counts, but I will give you that an explanation is in order.

    I can think of no circumstance where violation of Two, by itself , is going to cause a ND. I have written many times that it takes a violation of at least one other rule in concert with it. Moreover, you should look not just at the mere letter of the rule, but at its spirit. For example, a horizontal shoulder holster points the muzzle at everyone behind you, a technical violation of both Two and Four, but this isn't IMO what Cooper meant. The rules come into play the moment you touch the gun. Only if you violate Three - and to a lesser extent - Four are you going to shoot someone you didn't intend to. Now let us look at the revolver barrel example.

    Aren't you going to have the cylinder open for that? Where is the problem?

    I am in somewhat more agreement here, because to do this you have to not only have the cylinder closed, but the hammer cocked. Also, some sort of gage would be more accurate than the naked eye. But, going back to my first statement, nothing will happen if you observe Three.

    Really, you were doing OK, with thoughtful points raised, until you got to this part:
    I don't understand the relevance of these people's actions to simple firearms safety. :confused:

    At the risk of doing a little overthinking myself :D, I take issue with the bolded part. With every rule, there must be "wiggle room" for interpretation (such as I gave with the shoulder holster example), and even outright exceptions. Overadherence to rigid rules, when carried to extremes, gets us people like Draco (for whom the word "draconian" is named), or in modern times, "zero tolerance" policies.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  13. walker944

    walker944 Well-Known Member

    Well stated!!!
  14. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Well-Known Member

    I never believe in absolutes.

    Yeah, that's right. Figure that one out!
  15. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

  16. browningguy

    browningguy Well-Known Member

    I think anything can be taken to ridiculous lengths by people. Some people are smart enough to figure out that if you have an empty chamber indicator/flag in you firearm it is actually empty, some people aren't.
  17. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    I voted for the second option in the poll.

    Everything I tell you is a lie. I am lying to you now.
  18. CZguy

    CZguy Well-Known Member

    I look at it like two bare electrical wires. If there is electricity going through them, they can hurt or kill you. If there isn't electricity present then they are safe to handle.

    Some other examples off the top of my head, hydraulics, high pressure air, guns, chain saws, but I'm sure that by now you get the point. A gun without the ability to have a controlled explosion is just a piece of metal. The same with an electrical wire, without electricity going through it.

    In life there are many things that can hurt you. Survivors learn to tell the difference. ;)
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  19. Freedom_fighter_in_IL

    Freedom_fighter_in_IL Well-Known Member

    "Hold on Bad guy, let me load my carry gun because I wasn't "using" it" :rolleyes:

    How about you do what you want to with your firearms and I'll modify mine if I so choose. That rule right there would kick about 50% to 60% of us to the curb! AR owners, 1911 owners, hell too many firearms to choose from that we all like to modify in one way or another.

    Now as to the OP, there are many exceptions where simple common sense should be used in conjunction with the 4 rules. If your IQ is not sufficient to know when these instances occur, then you shouldn't be handling firearms in the first place. Pretty plain and simple.
  20. murf

    murf Well-Known Member

    these rules always apply all the time.

    even while "breaking" the rules, the rules always apply.

    even when you are sleeping the rules always apply.

    even when the gun is in someone else's hand, the rules always apply.

    even after you spill a cup of hot coffee on your crotch, the rules always apply.

    even after the bad guy sees your gun and runs off, the rules always apply.

    your mind will not always be focused on the safety of the loaded weapon in your hand. you must follow these rules especially when it is not focused. therefore, practice these rules until you can follow them without thinking about them. automatic

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