Following the safety rules religiously
Tuesday, October 02, 2007 Filed in: General gun stuff, Techniques & Training
In last week's article, I mentioned that there was an ancient religious principle that can help keep you safe from firearms accidents. Allow me to digress for just a moment to give you the necessary background.
As you may know, Orthodox Jews have a rather rigorous set of rules that they follow. According to their tradition, there are 613 commandments in the Torah (their Bible, which consists of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.) Imagine trying to keep track of, let alone follow, 613 commandments!
To make the job easier and to prevent the unintentional transgression of a commandment, they have a concept called gezeirah, which is explained as "building a fence around the Torah." This idea, which goes back roughly 800 years, refers to the additional precepts that one should follow to avoid even coming close to violating a commandment itself. They supply a sort of early warning system; if you know that you've broken the lesser rule, you know that you're in danger of violating the more sacred one.
Now I'm not saying that everyone should run out and become Orthodox Jews (you'd have to give up Saturday morning cartoons and pepperoni pizza, for starters), but the concept of a "fence" around a core set of rules is as good for keeping us physically safe as it is for safeguarding their spiritual well-being.
So, if our overriding precepts are the Three Commandments of Gun Safety:
What kinds of rules might constitute our "fence"? Well, they might include the "Seven Rules of Dry-Fire":
Never point a gun - any gun, loaded or unloaded - at anything you are not willing to shoot.
Keep your finger out of the triggerguard until you are ready to fire.
Know where your shots will land and what they’ll touch along the way.
The NRA has a poster of 10 or 12 firearms rules that could constitute another fence, and I'm sure you'll find more. Some may be very general, others may be specific to the range you're using or the particular shooting activity in which you're participating.
- Select the proper time and place (alone, no distractions, safe backstop).
- Remove all live ammunition from your training area (including those in your own gun and the gun that you will use for dry fire).
- Go into “practice mode” state of mind. Say out loud: “This is practice time, I am going to practice now.”
- Perform practice.
- When practice is over, go into “reality mode.” Say out loud: “Practice is over, this is real.”
- Put the gun into the condition in which it is normally kept.
- Put the gun away immediately (secured).
These additional rules don't relieve you of the need for always following the Three Commandments, and are never to be considered any exception to any of them. They are a supplement. They provide one extra guard, one extra layer of security, before you're put into a situation where the "fail-safe" of the Commandments is all that stands between you and grievous injury. They set up an attitude, a frame of mind, that makes an accident all the less likely.
For instance, I have my own fence: my shop is a sterile area, meaning that there is no live ammunition in the shop area proper. (Need I mention that there are no exceptions?) I still follow the Three Commandments, mind you, but following the rule of no live ammo in the shop area makes the constant handling lots of guns even safer.
Now go and sin - ballistically speaking - no more!
-=[ Grant ]=-