This morning the Detroit News has yet another report of a man negligently (negligently not accidentally) discharging his pistol with fatal results. The details are sparse but what we are told is that he was cleaning his pistol, then in the process of showing it to his wife discharged it right into his chest. Of all the stupid ways to die…
If I understand this right, he was cleaning his pistol while it was loaded. Then managed to, in showing the pistol to his wife, point it at his chest and actuate the trigger. It is at this point that I want to reiterate the 4 BASIC rules of safe gun handling:
- ALWAYS TREAT EVERY FIREARM AS IF IT WERE LOADED.
- NEVER POINT A FIREARM AT SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.
- KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL READY TO FIRE.
- BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT IS BEHIND IT.
These rules are all you need to safely use a firearm, yet so many people forget them, never learn them or disregard them. When that happens we have people shooting themselves in the chest unintentionally.
This was a needless death, but let us not let the moment pass without reflection on how you can learn from his mistake. While the above rules deal with how to safely operate a firearm, they don’t specifically speak to how to safely clean one. With that in mind I offer my humble advice for your consideration. The first step to safely cleaning your firearm is to MAKE SURE ITS UNLOADED!!! Remove the magazine, open the cylinder, open the bolt, lock the action open, do whatever you need to do on your firearm to get access to the chamber so you can visually AND physically inspect it! If there is something there STOP! REMOVE IT! Then proceed to break down your firearm according to the owner’s manual. If you want to take it a step further, clean your firearm in a room or area free of live ammo. You do this and the worst thing that can happen to you while cleaning your firearm is dropping it on your foot.
Once your firearm is clean refer to the 4 cardinal rules of safe gun handling and you will never appear in the news like the poor fellow above. Stay safe, have fun, & concentrate on the front sight!
Post by Berge Avesian, Keep & Bear LLC