One of my good friends and I were talking for a bit after a rally we both attended in Salt Lake City. While the premise was good, and everyone was acting within their legal right, we both felt that there are some issues that need to be addressed.
We are both Marines and served together in Charlie Company, 4 Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. Both of us know what it means to have sturdy professionalism as we go about our lives, engrained into us from years of service in one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. So, here goes what we came up with:
It is certainly your right to carry a firearm when attending a pro gun rally, and both of us encourage doing so, it is paramount that you always exercise firearms safety when doing so.
Both of us saw good examples, but there were also several people demonstrating what not to do while handling a firearm.
So here are some basic standards that require zero training, just awareness.
First, please keep control of your muzzle at all times. There were several people allowing their rifles to flop around as they moved about, flagging many people.
If your weapon is slung, ensure the muzzle is always pointed in a safe direction. Loosely slung across the shoulder is not showing safety, also when adjusting or moving your firearm, it is important you maintain muzzle awareness and keeping your finger off the trigger.
Had this been on a range I ran while an instructor in the Corps (which I did for about a year), I would have had to kick close to a dozen people off the range for clear cut safety violations.
The left wants to see this sort of behavior, because it helps their cause of banning weapons. It shows that people in these rallies aren’t acting safely, so gun owners can’t be trusted. They will ignore the vast majority safely carrying and focus only on the few who weren’t properly using safety.
Some rules the Marine Corps uses, when a weapon is on your person can be remembered quickly using TREAT, NEVER, KEEP, KEEP, KNOW. If you always have these five words in mind, you’ll follow five basic weapons safety rules.
1. TREAT every weapon as if it were loaded. This ensures you will not ever negligently discharge a weapon.
2. NEVER point a weapon at something you don’t intend to shoot. This was the most common violation seen at the rally. If it only points at legitimate targets, no accidents can happen.
3. KEEP your finger straight and off the trigger until you’re ready to fire. I saw two people with fingers on triggers. This is huge, because most weapons have safeties to ensure only a trigger pull will discharge a weapon. You finger is the most important saftey with firearms.
4. KEEP,your weapon on safe until ready to fire. If your weapon has a safwty, ensure it is engaged at all times.
5. KNOW your target and what is beyond. Many rounds have the ability to pass through an intended target, and travel farther down range. Make sure if you engage a target there is nothing you don’t want to shoot beyond (kuds, wife, neighbor, shoppers, etc.).
Please, please be safe. Don’t give the left any more ammo. If you’re in doubt, leave your weapon at home. If you bring it, exercise safety. Finally, if you see someone acting inappropriately, tactfully inform them so the owner can make corrective actions.
On a personal note for me also, if you can, please ensure you also dress appropriately. I’m not saying don’t wear camo, but there is the idea that all gun owners are “redneck hicks.” Try not to show that stereotype. I suggest simple attire: a polo & Jeans is perfectly acceptable and shatters the thoughts of camo, beards, dip stains, and drawls when speaking (not that this is a bad thing). Just don’t give them what they want.
If we dress and act professionally & appropriately, there is no way for anything to be twisted against us. Viewers of coverage will simply see Americans enthusiastically supporting Constitutional rights.