Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Madam Senator...

Dear Senator Klein -

While I'm certainly glad to welcome you to the ever more diverse family of gun-owners, I'm sorry to hear that somewhere along the line, someone seriously neglected your education.

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. Always be sure of your target!

- courtesy of Col. Jeff Cooper, 1920-2006

I recognize, that as an elected official, you may have gotten used to being excused from various little inconveniences. Rules, conventions, accepted practices and politeness-es.

These are rules you don't get a pass on. Losing office is cheap...a body bleeding out on the floor because of arrogance, carelessness, obliviousness, ignorance, or all of the above...isn't.

To review your errors so you might correct them in the future, let us review.

1. All guns are always loaded.

Operating on this assumption makes those ugly little adventures known as "accidental" or "negligent" discharges much tougher to experience. Any gun that you have not personally verified, without it having left your hand or been near ammunition since you verified, IS considered loaded. The gun you just checked that's still in your hand - might be.

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy!

No matter how annoying, currently there is not an open season on reporters. Additionally, Richard Ruelas’ family and friends might, perhaps, have missed him in the event of a negligent or accidental discharge while you were engaged in your reckless behaviour. Chests, even those of reporters, are not normally disposable objects. Given he was not busily engaged in an assault or attempt thereat upon your person - you placed him needlessly in danger of life and limb.

The proper response to such a faux pas involves profuse apologies and vast humility. Not trying to play off such a fundamental violation of basic safety and respect of the well-being of others.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target!

Depending on the laser sight, and whether or not the system du jour is palm or trigger activated, you may or may not have violated this rule. Odds are, those of us amongst the unwashed masses will never know. But if you did activate a laser site with a trigger mounted switch, your negligence is certainly graver yet.

4. Always be sure of your target!

Even this rule you bent in passing, in that you failed to realize that as long as your muzzle swept him...that Ruelas' was potentially at risk.

Basically, you screwed up in a potentially lethal and reckless fashion. And you, and Ruelas', lucked out. Aside from deserved embarrassment and public humiliation, nothing particularly dreadful came of it.

There is a *right* way to show a gun. Of even letting someone unfamiliar handle a gun. What you did wasn't it.

1) Present the firearm with the muzzle pointed in a known safe direction.
2) Remove all ammunition (cartridges, magazine) from the firearm.
3) Check visually that the gun is empty.
4) Check by touch the gun is empty.

THEN you may safely and responsibly demonstrate the features of the firearm, but the muzzle should ALWAYS be pointed in a safe direction. You may even choose, carefully and if you trust the individual, to provide basic handling directions - even hands on.

When completed, again with muzzle in a safe direction, reload the firearm if a carry piece, and secure it in any case - whether in holster or a secure location.


The lesson is NOT "never show your gun to anyone", or "a gun isn't a fashion accessory".

A firearm can be a fashion accessory, just as can a Porsche - it is, however, far more portable. The key in both cases is to recognize that, while beautiful and complementary, that they must be responsibly handled.

Similarly, if we never show our firearms to anyone, we lose a valuable teaching opportunity and a chance to defuse some of the hoplophobic demonization of that most useful of inanimate self-defense tools, the firearm. We lose the chance to demonstrate that the firearm is inert and inanimate without human interaction - that it is incapable of magically turning a mild-mannered law-abiding sort into some frothing homicidal loon. And we betray some small part of our role as ambassadors and educators to folks who have been fed purposely bad data wrapped in fear and myth over the last few generations regarding firearms.

Don't just (safely) show folks your gun. Take them to the range. Shoot with them. Have dinner with them after. Expand the fraternity.

But be safe. If you need a primer or a refresher course, you have one of the worlds finest training organizations just down the road from you - the Gunsite Academy, founded by the legendary Col. Cooper, just a bit north of Phoenix. And if you are serious about carrying for self-defense, and can find any way to afford it...strongly consider taking their courses.

I'm glad you're on our side, fighting the good fight. I'd like it if you stayed there. But you need to remember, there are some rules that *cannot* be ignored.

Seattle, WA


jon spencer said...

The senators response,

Old NFO said...