Every gun owner I know is very concerned with safety, often to the point of annoyance. When I first learned about firearms, safety rules were drilled into me again and again before I was allowed to even touch a gun. To this day I cannot even hold a drill with my finger on the trigger due to these gun safety rules. Gun safety is that ingrained in me.
For those who have never heard of them, these are the four gun safety rules are as written by Col. Jeff Cooper in the 1970’s.
All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for a large percent of negligent discharges.
Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.
I have no idea if Col. Cooper invented these rules or just codified existing dogma, but the fact remains that these rules, or variants of them, are the foundation of gun safety. When was the last time you heard a politician mention anything like these rules?
But the cries continue; We have to do something! I agree. I propose that we do something, and my proposal is education.
How do we, as a society, strive to protect children from the hazards of STDs and teen pregnancy? What about the hazards of drugs and alcohol? Drinking and driving?
Our public education system teaches our children about drugs, alcohol, drunk driving, teen sex, and STDs in public schools. If all of these people passing new laws are doing it for the safety of our children, why are they not pushing for or even mandating that gun safety be taught in schools? Why isn’t there a public service message being broadcast about gun safety?
How do we teach children about matches and fire? Or knives? How do we teach children to not play with power tools? How do we teach children to not drown in the bathtub? Do we ban matches, circular saws and bathtubs that can hold more that two inches of water? No, because that would be ludicrous. We educate.
When I was a kid there were guns everywhere. People had them hanging over their fireplaces and stored them in glass-cased cabinets in their living rooms. What’s changed? It’s not the guns, it’s not the “gun show loophole”, and it’s not 30-round magazines.
The premier gun safety organization in the US is the NRA, but politicians seem hell bent on demonizing the NRA. Why is that? No organization does more to teach gun safety, but again, safety is not what these laws are about.