As you’d expect, the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety gets referenced quite often here on USA Carry. I wanted to have an article to link back to discussing the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety. But instead of just listing them, I thought I’d find some real-life examples of what happens when the rules are broken. So let’s get right into it.
4 Rules of Firearm Safety:
1. Always treat every gun as if it were loaded.
Even when you “know it is unloaded,” treat the gun as if it were loaded. In the video below, a man is handing a pistol in a gun store that he might potentially buy…or not (we’ve all been to gun stores). At some point, he has his left hand over the muzzle and pulls the trigger, shooting himself in the hand.
Now, I’m sure he assumed the gun was unloading since it was on display for sale. I would assume that as well if I were in a gun store. But no matter what, always check to ensure the firearm is unloaded when taking control of it.
But even if he had checked and ensured it was unloaded, there’s no reason to point the muzzle in the middle of your hand…and then pull the trigger. This brings us to our next Firearm Safety Rule, “Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.”
2. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
An instructor told me a long time ago to assume a laser is coming out of the barrel of a gun that will destroy anything it hits. As a gun range, that means keeping it pointed downrange. I’ve got two videos showing people breaking this rule. In the first video, the consequences are minimal. A couple of people got a scare, and the shooter probably had a bruised ego.
UPDATE: There was another video that showed a man having a malfunction at a gun range and then pulling the trigger while trying to clear it. He had the pistol pointed at himself and his friend. This negligent discharge led to him being shot in the arm and his friend being fatally shot in the abdomen. But that video was taken down and I was unable to find it anywhere else.
But I found another video that fit in perfectly for Rule #2. This is from an incident we covered back in Jan 2022.
Recently, a man and two women were at the Parma Armory Shooting Range in Parma, Ohio. We don’t know if they are preparing to go shooting or just finishing up. You can see the man explaining something to the two women, and then he picks up his Glock 9mm handgun. It is hard to tell what he is trying to do. But then you see him turn the gun slightly so that it was then pointed at the woman next to him. It seems like he tries to rack the slide with his finger on the trigger. And then he has a negligent discharge.
The round went through the man’s wrist, into the woman’s stomach, and then in and out of her leg, according to Clevland19. Both were treated at the hospital and released. Luckily, no one was severely injured.
3. Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
I’m sure we’ve all seen this one. The instructor is demonstrating how to grip the gun. Then he talks about being able to shoot the 44 Magnum revolver that he is holding single-action by cocking the hammer, and then he pulls the trigger causing the revolver to go off right in front of his face. The recoil nearly caused the revolver to hit his face. When asked if he meant to do that, he brushes it off, saying yes, but we all know that was not intentional.
4. Always be sure of your target and beyond
I thought this was an interesting video when I came across it. It shows the aftermath of a negligent discharge. A man was putting a bag into the back of a truck when someone at the truck’s rear had a negligent discharge with an AK-47. As you’ll see in the video, the man traced the bullet’s path through his truck. You can see he was maybe two feet away from the round when he put that bag in the truck.