You continue to try to make a case that there should be zero tolerance for gun-owners who negligently discharge their weapon. You cited Jeff Coopers Gun safety rules in one post presumably as evidence to support your zero tolerance policy. You refuse to even consider analogies of other irresponsible behavior that results in many times more injury and death and whether or not other zero tolerance rules would be appropriate.
So, I thought perhaps a brief primer on the 4 gun rules may be in order to help put thing into perspective. This is not an effort to excuse any negligent discharge. It is, however, intended to show that not all ND's are equal and to highlight just one reason why your dream of instant stripping of all gun-rights for any infraction is just a silly, nonsensical wet-dream fantasy.
The four rules are (the most common version):
- All guns are always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
- Identify your target, and what is behind it.
The first three rules deal with safe gun handling until the point in which you are ready to fire. The fourth rule deals with collateral damage when firing - it really does not come into play for safe gun handling when not intending to fire. So for the purposes of this discussion, we will cover the first three rules.
The thing about these rules is that they are not universally absolute. Now that I threw that bomb our there for you - I anticipate you, or one of your cronies, will take it out of context. So please, let me explain.
For the purposes of general gun handling (i.e. nearly all the time) they are 100 percent absolute. But, there are times in which the rules must be modified in letter but not violated in spirit. Several examples include:
All guns are always loaded: Well, this is true - except that every-time a gun is disassembled for cleaning, this rule must be modified to become "All guns are always loaded - until proven otherwise". (Actually, this modification is written as the rule in some places.) We check and double check our guns to ensure they are not loaded so that they can be disassembled and cleaned. But, the other rules are strictly obeyed even while modifying this one.
Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy: You know those cool shoulder holsters that you see detectives use on TV? Did you know that the muzzle of their loaded gun is nearly horizontal and thus constantly pointed directly at people everywhere they go? Is this a violation of the four rules? By the letter, yes. But they are not handling it at the time. The trigger is covered as thus it is impossible for anything, including fingers, to be in the trigger guard. So in spirit it is not considered a violation. But extra care has to be used when drawing the weapon as it is impossible not to sweep the area during the draw.
Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target: If only this rule were religiously followed, the number of ND's would shrink to a mere fraction of current levels. And yet, this is one of the rules that frequently must be modified in the course of normal gun care and training. After cleaning, the re-assembly of some guns require the trigger to be pulled to reset the hammer or striker mechanism. Also, repeated dry-firing (or using a snap cap) is an excellent tool used by competition shooters and others wanting to become familiar with particular trigger feel on a gun. So, after verifying (many of us do this twice) that a gun is unloaded and while obeying the other rules, we will repeatedly cycle the trigger mechanism.
But none of these instances violate the spirit of the rules, and in fact are necessary activity specific modifications of the rules.
So, why do I highlight all of this? The point is that in order to have an ND inflict injury to anyone - all three of the rules must be simultaneously broken. I would never excuse any violation of the rules - but the reason that all three are important is that we are, in fact, human beings. Mistakes WILL happen. Just like they do when we humans drive 4,000 pound vehicles on the road. We miss stop signs and red lights and turn in front of oncoming traffic and veer on the roads and follow to close behind another mistake prone human driver. Human error is a part of the human experience. The three rules are designed, not only to prevent ND's when properly followed, but to minimize damage when a mistake causes one (or even two) of them to be violated.
If 1 and 2 are broken no shot is fired because no finger is on the trigger.
If 2 and 3 are broken (assuming the rule 1 modification is accepted and the gun is verified unloaded) no shot is fired because there is no ammunition.
If 1 and 3 are broken a shot might be fired (an ND to be sure), but no one is harmed because the gun was pointed in a safe direction.
In fact, while nearly all ND's could be prevented by being strict about rule 3 - rule 2 is, in my opinion, is the more critical rule. If it were followed religiously - no one would ever be hurt by an ND. And yet it is the one that, when violated by itself, never results in a call to police and therefore no opportunity to apply your draconian dream. So you would be unable to consistently punish the most flagrant violators.
Let me close by highlighting a way in which silly gun-control laws and regulations force diligent gun owners to actually break the rules - on a daily basis. I work at university and am, by law and university policy, prohibited from carrying my gun into the buildings in which I work. So, every day, I must disarm when I arrive at work and rearm as I depart. In order to make it difficult for my gun to be stolen from car while at work, I lock it in a Nanovault gun vault secured by cable to the underside of the passenger seat. So while parked, I un-holster the weapon and lay it horizontally in the case, close the lid, lock it, and slide it under the seat.
During this procedure, I treat the weapon as if it were loaded, because it is - and I keep my finger WAY off of the trigger. But, I cannot keep it pointed in a completely safe direction. It has to be horizontal to go into the vault. The best I can do is keep it pointed in "as safe a direction as possible". Depending upon where I am parked and who is around, sometimes (most of the time) that is toward my engine block while other times it is toward the passenger door where it would strike other parked cars.
And all of this must be done because I cross an arbitrary boundary to perform my role at work. I go to off campus events armed with the same students that I cannot be armed around while working with them. And thus, at least 10 times a week, I am forced to bend the critical rules of gun safety in order to stay in compliance with the law. Will I have an ND because of this? No. But do these laws mitigate any real risk on campus? No - they just force me to engage in slightly riskier behavior for no real benefit.
After a couple of overtures by e-mail, I'm still not sure what his point it. When I asked if it was that his gun-free zone at work was a bad thing, he just repeated the paragraph beginning with "So, why do I highlight all of this?"
It seems to me that, as he rightly points out, it takes the violation of 3 of the 4 Rules simultaneously to have a serious accident, my "zero tolerance" policy makes even more sense.
Now, the words "zero tolerance" are loaded with negative connotations. The fact is I'm very tolerant. Often I feel that a jail sentence for an act of gun negligence, even when someone dies, is excessive. I do however feel that the loss of gun rights has to be strictly upheld.
What's your opinion? What do you think Frail Liberty is getting at with that lengthy message?
Please leave a comment.