Think of your gun as a power tool. A remote control drill, if you will. You wouldn’t rest your chain saw with its blade in your lap even if you were sure it wasn’t turned on. What possesses people to treat more cavalierly the power tool we call a firearm?
One of my pet peeves has always been the practice common among sporting clay bird shooters to rest the shotgun with its muzzle on their shoe, with the “business end” of that power tool literally at muzzle contact with their foot. They’ll tell you, “Don’t worry, it isn’t loaded.” What’s that old saying again, about so many people being accidentally shot with empty guns?
Below, courtesy of a friend who is one of the top small arms experts living in my opinion, are some pictures of what can happen when such a practice goes wrong. I’m told the shooter was resting the shotgun’s muzzle on his foot when something (most likely an errant trigger finger) pressed the shotgun’s trigger to the rear.
This guy was lucky. The muzzle was resting in the space between the great toe and the next one. He may or may not keep the big toe. Had the gun been a couple of inches back, he might have lost the whole foot. I’m told that it was a light clay bird load of small #8 birdshot pellets.
The late, great Colonel Jeff Cooper postulated four cardinal rules of gun safety. 1) All guns are always loaded, and treated as such. 2) Never allow the muzzle to point at anything you are not prepared to see destroyed. 3) Do not let your finger enter the trigger guard unless and until you are in the very act of intentionally firing the weapon. 4) Be certain of your target.
This case is a clear violation of Rule 2 and probably Rule 3. Public schools should teach certain basic safety rules to our children at a very early age. Right up there with “Don’t urinate on the electric fence or the third rail”; “Don’t eat the yellow snow”; and “Don’t stand in the doorway of a Harley bar and scream ‘Kawasaki rules!’; should be…
DO NOT POINT GUN MUZZLES AT YOUR OWN BODY PARTS!
Readers are invited to share anecdotes of their own in this vein