Peter Spennato on Basic Firearm Safety

Peter Spennato DDS received his firearms training in CQB at Front Site, West Coast Tactics, Navy Seal Jeff Gonzales, and former SWAT Commander Rick Brown. Needless to say, he’s pretty much a pro when it comes to gun safety. Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper, the founder of Gunsite, deserves a great deal of credit for being the first to popularize the need for truly universal safety rules that would apply to all firearms at all times:

  • All guns are always loaded.
  • Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
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The primary rule of gun safety is to always point the gun in a safe direction. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances. When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger. Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.

Gun safety and firearm control are controversial topics of discussion, but something that we can no longer look away from. The American culture of gun violence has spawned several incidents of shootings where one or several innocent victims have lost their lives. Irresponsible use of guns has led to a large number of deaths. In 2015, on an average rate, 37 Americans were killed by guns every day. On an average, a toddler shot someone about once a week and 19 toddlers have shot and killed themselves in 2015.

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You must constantly stress safety when handling firearms, especially to children and non-shooters. Beginners, in particular, must be closely supervised when handling firearms with which they may not be acquainted. We must all strive to be responsible gun owners.