You know the four rules of gun safety, right? If you don’t, you should, else you might destroy your furniture. That’s almost always tough on the wax finish. Trust me, I know.
- A gun is ALWAYS loaded, so treat it accordingly.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
- Never point your gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
- Be aware of your target and backstop.
A couple of years ago, I broke most of the rules, and my dining room table (and pride) suffered as a result. I share the experience here, at great risk to my reputation as someone with an IQ higher than spackle, because of what I learned from my mistake. I hope, by sharing this story, that someone else out there can benefit from my lesson learned the hard way.
Before I publicly humiliate myself, let’s discuss the inherent elegance of the four rules of gun safety. If you start imagining scenarios, you’ll quickly see that the rules overlap. Breaking a rule or two can cause embarrassment and property damage, but you really need to break three or four for someone to get hurt.
If you treat your gun like its’ unloaded, but it really is loaded, no one gets hurt if you stick to rules two, three and four.
If you point a gun at someone, but don’t have your finger on the trigger, that’s bad, and they’ll get upset, but they won’t get shot.
If you violate rule one and two but have the gun pointed at something you’re willing to destroy, no one gets hurt, assuming you’re not willing to destroy another person.
You get the idea. You have to break a number of safety rules for something awful to happen, and that’s by design. It’s kind of like redundant systems in an airliner. Many things have to go wrong to enable a tragic situation.
So what did I do to violate the core gun safety rules and shoot my table? I have a Ruger Single Six revolver that I keep loaded with .22LR snake shot to deal with demons from hell that frequent my backyard and sometimes my garage. By “demons from hell” I mean water moccasins. One day, I was in my home office working and had the gun on my desk as I was planning to do a little snake hunting between phone meetings.