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Earlier in June a local police chief shot himself in the hand while cleaning his gun.  You can read about it here. I feel bad for him; he must be dying of embarrassment because I know I’d be! 

What makes it cringe worthy for me is that incidents like this that make guns even scarier to people who don’t know anything about them and think they’re bad to begin with.  If a cop who carries a gun on a daily basis can have an accident like this then how in the world can “normal” people handle it?

One of my friends asked me just that the other day.  Now that I consider myself to be one of the “normal” people handing guns I felt a little offended.  

I try to keep in mind that not too long ago I would have felt that way.  It’s not easy shifting beliefs and coming to grips that I was wrong about guns in the past.  But I can at least admit that I was wrong…I think that is half the battle.    

So how would someone have convinced me that “normal” people could handle guns safely if the so called “experts” cannot?  Honestly, as a non-gun owner I’m not sure that I would have ever “got” it. 

I’m not here to change anyone’s opinions about guns.  Gun ownership is a personal choice. I know all too well that I can’t make people change their views.  The only thing I can do is present my friends with facts and have an open, honest, and respectful discussion with them. 

Since I’m new to guns I’m still trying to figure out the best way to defend myself and fellow gun owners when I have these conversations with my non-gun owning friends.  I’m not sure if this was the best answer but this is what I told her:

I explained to her that I felt that this can happen when anyone normal or otherwise becomes complacent and doesn’t follow the rules.  That’s why there are rules in the first place, to follow them.  Not sometimes, or most of the time, but ALWAYS. 

It’s like the “normal” people who text and drive at the same time, or drink and drive.  They are not following the “rules” and unfortunately sometimes get into accidents or wind up hurting themselves or others.  They have texted while driving a thousand times before.  But it’s that one time.  Does that mean that “normal” people shouldn’t be allowed to drive?  So only police and NASCAR drivers who are “experts” should be able to drive? The fact is even then the “experts” would have mishaps from time to time.

The NRA’s Fundamental Gun Safety Rules are found here.  Just in case you don’t want to go there they are:

  • ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

 On top of the NRA Gun Safety rules the instructors of our pistol safety course told us to  treat ALL guns as loaded ALL of the time.  Even if you think that you cleared it. 

I love this addition and think that it should be rule number 1.  To me it helps makes all of the other rules fall right into place.  If I treat all guns as loaded then it makes complete sense to make sure that I keep them pointed in a safe direction, to know my target and what is beyond, and to keep my finger off the trigger. 

I don’t want to hurt anyone or anything.  I think that it is a common misconception from non-gun owners that they feel gun owners are just hankering to kill someone or something but I’ll save that conversation for another post.  I also don’t want to make the paper for shooting myself and be the next winner of the Darwin Award. 

I guess my point is that no matter what field an “expert” comes from they are still “normal” people that can have accidents.