Back in 1976, approximately, I heard a story in the news about a man who was killed by accident. A woman who was licensed to carry had a .38 caliber pistol in her purse. She casually put the purse on a counter and it went off, shooting the man next to her.
When I was in Vietnam and on guard duty, the officer-of-the-guard gave his thirty-eight to the sergeant-of-the-guard and told him to put it up. Instead, he decided to horse around with it for a while and play quick-draw.
A marine ought to know better than that, especially a sergeant. Accidentally, he shot another marine in the belly. Last I heard, the man went into surgery. I don’t know if he lived through it or not.
They were two tragic events that were preventable by following a few simple safety rules. Every year there are more of them.
Don’t misunderstand. I am not in favor of eliminating guns, certainly not in the Marines. In fact, I am in favor of people being able to own guns and use them in their defense. However, I would like to make known a few simple rules to avoid such tragedies. First, in general, guns are not toys. They should be respected and great care should be used for their handling and storage.
Specifically, for revolvers, the chamber under the hammer should be empty. It means you have five instead of six bullets in the gun, but it is a small thing considering the safety factor. It completely eliminates the possibility of the gun going off as the result of a jolt. In the first example, it would mean not having to say she’s sorry.
Generally, the following should be followed with all guns.
- Until proven otherwise, all guns should be treated as if they are loaded.
- When proven to be unloaded, all guns should be treated as if they are loaded.
- Never point a gun at anyone or anything you don’t intend to shoot.
- Do not play with guns. If you want to play quick-draw, get a toy.
- Verify your target. That intruder just might be a friend or relative. It has happened and it has caused immeasurable grief that will last a lifetime.
- Never threaten a person with a gun unless you are willing to use it. It is possible that your gun might be used on you.
- Finally, practice. It will improve accuracy and confidence. Moreover, if you aim at one person, you don’t want to hit the person next to him… or behind him.
Remember, guns can be very permanent. An accident with a gun can have permanent results.