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Firearm Safety and Your State of Mind

There are various rules of gun safety that if followed diligently, should prevent an accidental discharge of a firearm. One well-known set of rules is Jeff Cooper’s four safety rules:

  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. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

While rules 2-4 are explicitly clear, the unstated part of the first rule is that you should treat all guns – as if – they’re loaded. In any case, this tight set of rules has likely saved many lives. Even so, fatalities from accidental discharge occur on a regular basis. Discounting discharges caused by people who disregard the safety rules because of expedience, complacency, and other reasons, deaths from accidental shootings will continue regardless. The reason is human frailty.

Two examples of human frailty are locking yourself out of your car, and losing your credit card. There are specific habits that you can commit to muscle memory that should guaranty you never lock yourself out of your car or lose a credit card. However, they don’t. The reason is that these only work when you’re in the right state of mind. If simple muscle memory fails to prevent you from losing a credit card when you’re in the wrong state of mind, the more complicated set of gun safety rules listed above will certainly fail to prevent an accidental discharge as well.

What is the wrong state of mind? A distracted mind is one example of this. If you’re busy conversing with someone, using your cell phone, emotionally distraught, multitasking, or simply thinking about something else while handling or using your gun, the four rules of gun safety will likely go out the window. The same is true when you’re extremely fatigued from lack of sleep or from physical exhaustion. In many ways, the same distractions that cause car accidents can cause accidental gun discharges.

This is why the four rules of gun safety do not negate the need for firearm and concealed weapon coverage. The legal fallout from an accidental discharge can devastate your life. The damages from a civil lawsuit can wipe out your savings, assets and a good part of your future earnings. This can happen to anyone who lacks adequate coverage. For more information about this, please contact us.