SHOOT­ING ETHICS

Some rules can never be bro­ken, the ed­i­tor tells us

Air Gunner - - Contents -

The ed­i­tor on the im­por­tance of gun safety: Do not point a gun at any­one, ever!

This month, we’ve come to one of the most dif­fi­cult eth­i­cal top­ics, which is how we should re­act if we see a fel­low shooter break­ing the rules of safe gun han­dling. One of the most im­por­tant rules is that we must NEVER al­low our gun to point at any­body. It doesn’t mat­ter if it’s un­loaded, or the safety is on – never point a gun at any­one! We’ve all made that mis­take, been ashamed of our fail­ing and bet­ter still, I hope, learned from it.

It’s all too easy to turn around at the gun club range and al­low your muz­zle to point at your club mates, when point­ing the gun ver­ti­cally up or down would keep ev­ery­body safe. It’s just as likely to hap­pen when plink­ing in your back gar­den, or out hunt­ing with a friend. We must be vig­i­lant at ALL times. One mis­take could cause a hor­ri­ble in­jury and we’d have to live with the guilt and re­spon­si­bil­ity for the rest of our lives.

The cor­rect re­sponse to see­ing a mis­take be­ing made is to speak out im­me­di­ately and po­litely, to stop the sit­u­a­tion from be­com­ing worse. Of course, this may cause em­bar­rass­ment, but that’s a price worth pay­ing to keep ev­ery­body safe. It need not cause a con­fronta­tion, but if it does, stand your ground and po­litely refuse to climb down.

In a club en­vi­ron­ment, you should ex­pect the full sup­port of your club mates and the com­mit­tee, and I’ve seen this hap­pen many times. It’s much bet­ter that the awk­ward­ness is en­dured now, rather than al­low­ing the dan­ger to con­tinue.

There is never an ex­cep­tion to this rule. Many peo­ple have been shot with ‘ un­loaded’ guns that the holder had failed to check. You can­not tell if a gun is loaded just by look­ing at it, so you must al­ways as­sume that it is. Sim­i­larly, a safety catch is a small me­chan­i­cal de­vice that can fail, so even though they’re use­ful, you can never trust them.

We have a great safety record as a sport, and we must do ev­ery­thing we can to main­tain or even im­prove that. We all have a duty of care to each other, whether we’re young or old, a new­comer or an old hand. Once a pel­let leaves the bar­rel it can­not be stopped and the con­se­quences can­not be un­done. Make it your sworn duty that you’ll never let your bar­rel cross any­body, and you’ll be an im­por­tant and valu­able part of our great sport.

“The cor­rect re­sponse to see­ing a mis­take be­ing made is to speak out im­me­di­ately and po­litely”

If some­body points a gun at you, even by ac­ci­dent, tell them to stop NOW!

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