Rule clarification

To my last post, Straightarrow commented:

You’ve got number one slightly wrong. It is not “always treat as if loaded”; it is “all firearms are loaded”. Regardless of whether you just checked it or not. That eliminates the excuses for violating the other three. “As if” does not make as strong a statement as “is”.

Sorry for being nitpicky, but for some people the strongest possible admonition is necessary, and still there are some who know and ignore the four basic rules.

That eliminates the excuses for violating the other three.

As far as I’m concerned, there is no excuse for violating any of the rules.

I’ve read several of the arguments about this that pop up from time to time. I’ve read Colonel Cooper’s rules and his justifications for them. Based upon that information and my own personal experience, I’ve chosen the version of rule 1 that I posted.

If there is ever a valid reason to not follow a rule, it would be because the rule is impossible to follow.

If “all firearms are loaded” then they can never be cleaned, disassembled, repaired or maintained. They can never be safely stored, they can never be inspected and dry fire drills anywhere other than a shooting range are out of the question.

Any rule that MUST be broken from time to time, calls into question its own validity and is apt to not be taken very seriously. This has been driven home to me several times when trying to teach new shooters about the rules (before adopting my change) and they challenged rule 1 on that basis.

I actually only paraphrased the rule as I actually implement it and teach it to others. My version of the entire rule is:

“All guns are to be treated as if they are loaded until verified clear and safe, first hand, by both sight and touch.”

The key to this being an effective rule is to also drive home the point that ALL the rules are ALWAYS inviolable.

If you teach the traditional rule one, which, by nature must be violated from time to time, you are implying that its OK to violate any of the rules when they are deemed impractical.

With my modified rule one, it is always true and, therefore, there is never an excuse to violate it. It follows, therefore, that there is never a rationalization for violating the other three either.

I can disassemble, clean, perform maintenance on, store, dry fire etc, etc, etc, any firearm without violating ANY of the rules using my alteration.

If the rules are to be considered inviolable…and I do consider them such…then it should be possible to put that consideration into practice. With Colonel Cooper’s rules, it is not; with my version, it is.

That’s my reason for getting rule 1 “incorrect.” You may disagree, that’s fine. You can use whatever rules you want. But as far as I’m concerned, if you routinely break your own rule, it isn’t so much a rule as a “helpful suggestion.”

One more thought: wording a rule “more strongly” (and, thereby, making it impossible to follow) is no more apt to convince people who “know and ignore the four basic rules” to begin following them than posting a “no guns” sign is apt to convince criminals to leave their guns in the car when committing robberies.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.