Breaking two out of four gun safety rules

Sometimes I get bored when I’m done practicing, and I do stuff like that. Then for some reason, I post the video on the internet, likely because I’m a terrible person and an attention whore. But it got me thinking about a lot of things that we do in the gun culture without actually thinking about them. Like the four rules, for example. Sure we can all quote them chapter and verse, but why are they important? And are we actually learning anything if we teach people to recite them by rote?

When I was a kid, I memorized a lot of Bible verses for church. I can still repeat some of them to this day, because I committed them to long term memory. But I couldn’t tell you why I memorized them, or what they were actually about without spending some serious time thinking about it. I wonder sometimes if we don’t do the same thing with the 4 rules. Yes, all guns are always loaded, and yes you should never point a gun at something you don’t want to destroy, but why? Why is this important? Are we just repeating safety rules mindlessly in the hopes that memorization and verbal repetition will create some sort of magical safety barrier that prevents errant gun handling?

If that’s what we’re doing, if we’re just teaching the 4 rules and an exercise in memorization, than I worry that we’re missing the point of them entirely.


  1. HAAAaaa! Yes you are somewhat of an attention whore(goes with your job).
    I like to think we incessantly repeat the 4 rules for the same reason we incessantly practice skill drills(but we do it for the muscle between our ears)’muscle memory’ so that when the time comes(handling firearms)we do not even have to take the time to think about safety ‘we simply do it’ because it is what we do.
    Safety above all else .

    Now admit it (before you filmed your flamboyant prowess with a sixgun) how many times did you visually and mentally check and assure yourself it was empty as were your surroundings .

    1. At least 10 times. You can sort of see me do it in the first clip, I pop open the cylinder and hit the ejection rod without even thinking about. I did that between every take.

  2. 1. Stop messing around and go shoot the Walther CCP and post a review.
    2. You are a bad person for putting this on your blog without having completed 1.
    3. I think you are really breaking 3 of the “4 rules”: treat as loaded, muzzle control, trigger finger control.
    4. See number 1.

  3. How I explain it to people…
    We treat all guns as always loaded so as to have only a single consideration for the state of a firearm. If we have more than one we start to justify reasons for breaking the other 3 rules as well…
    “It’s ‘not loaded’/’my finger is off the trigger’ so it’s ok if I muzzle someone.” “I don’t have to be as careful with it since it’s empty.” etc.
    By having that kind of justification for complacency of “All guns are always loaded” it creates an environmnent where deadly mistakes can happen… especially if it really ISN’T unloaded. Or to put it simply, I NEVER want to say or hear the words “I didn’t know it was loaded!” or “I thought it was unloaded!”

    Ed above said it well.
    I recently replaced my range gun case because of that kind of thinking. With the way they were arranged in the case at least one firearm was always muzzling myself or someone else when I was extracting a firearm from the case. Even though I KNEW I wasn’t touching the one pointing at me or someone else it still made my brain itch badly knowing it was doing that.. violation of Rule #2.. even though Rules 1,3,4 were followed and I should be “safe.”

  4. OK, I know I’m asking for it here, but how is that inert piece of metal (which we all saw proven to be unloaded) more or less dangerous than say, a hammer?


  5. There is no such thing as an unloaded gun; therefore, all my guns are loaded all the time (An Exageration). Bill Jorden, gun writer, border patrol, whatever else,said something to the effect ; that there is no accounting for idiots because smarter idiots are born all the time. Me–hunting trip on Catalina Island with others. Mad hunter missed trophy goat with rifle; tossed rifle into back of jeep.. Rifle hit seat bracket, discharged; Rems were good for that and killed hunter. Headline read “Trophy Goat Kills Hunter”, jokeing of course but real tradgedy. Never let your Goat get your Goat!. Those are the only rules I follow. Story real, but long time ago in the ’80’s.

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