I can’t seem to leave well enough alone so today I’m gonna complain about the rules. I’m sure this will stir up some drama but I never shirk with the llama calls.
You know them, or should. They’re usually called “the 4 rules” and they go something like this:
1. All guns are always loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
4. Identify your target, and what is behind it.
They’re semi-sacred because Saint Cooper delivered them unto us and they’ve been drilled into the heads of shooters in one form or another for decades.
The problem with Rule 1 is that guns ARE unloaded and we all know it. If guns are always loaded we couldn’t dry fire them, clean them or work on them. Rule 1 is not a universal rule. If a rule is not universal then I’m leaning toward dumping it because human brains and non-universal rules are not mixy things.
Rule 1 is also an oddity because violating it has no real bearing on a Negligent Discharge (ND). If the gun isn’t loaded (oops but it always is!) then you can’t have a ND anyway no matter what other rules you violate.
But Rule 1 isn’t my only problem with the rules.
There are 4 rules with a yes/no possibility, that gives us 16 potential outcomes for violating any combination of rules.
In only 4 cases is a ND possible and in only two of those is it potentially deadly.
Rule 3 is the key rule. If you’re not touching the trigger, an ND is impossible. I almost said virtually impossible there, but let’s be honest, if you’re not fingering the trigger the gun isn’t going to fire. I’m sure we’re all creative enough to come up with highly unlikely scenarios where a non trigger related ND is possible but that’s about as useful as waiting for a politician to not lie. There is a special case where a malfunctioning semi-auto firearm might fire when loading a round into the chamber but the 4 rules traditionally ignore that possibility so I will too. (For you pedants out there, it’s ignored because all guns are loaded, right? You can’t be loading a gun if it’s already loaded.) Also, Please feel free to substitute any foreign object for a finger. (Kinky!)
So why is the key rule sitting at #3? Maybe “Keep your bugger hook off the bang switch” should be Rule #1.
Rule 2 is another problem for me. When I’m carrying, the muzzle of my pistol is almost ALWAYS covering something I’d rather not have a hole in. Another non-universal rule.
People don’t like guns pointed at them or their stuff. So instead of saying the passive, never let the muzzle cover anything you’re not willing to destroy, how about this?
Never point a gun at anything you don’t want a hole in.
Take another look at the chart above. There are only two results for an ND. You either hit something you didn’t want a hole in or you hit something you don’t care about.
Rule 4 really just a sub case of Rule 2. Eliminating it doesn’t change the possible outcomes. You still either hit something you care about or you don’t.
So here are Alan’s two rules:
1. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
2. Never point a gun at anything you don’t want a hole in.
With two rules we have the exact same failure modes as the 4 rules, only they’re less confusing, easier to remember and universal.
Two rules. Simple. Easy to remember. Universal.