Undoubtedly the Canadian Firearms Safety Course lays the foundatation for every shooting discipline to build on. It has
been well thought out, very well put together and is very easy to understand, it is an excellent teaching aid.
We should all be very proud of it. Over the years a number of reports and statistics have indicated that firearms related
recreational sports have one of the lowest percentages of injuries per 100,000 participants, this accomplishment can only
be credited to our educational and safety training. We must all try to maintain these standards or do our very best to
surpass them. PRACTISE SAFE FIREARMS HANDLING AT ALL TIMES.
encompasses a wide area, some of these require close monitoring: examples are.
Safety at home. We are firearms owners, we do
have a family, I believe that we have a responsibility to ensure that every member of the household is knowledge in the safe use of firearms
and they exercise the respect firearms deserve.
Safety in the field. It is very terrifying
to visualize new hunters or new target shooters participating in their sport in isolation (alone) this is potentially a very
dangerous undertaking. We should try to establish a buddy system.
Range Safety. Although our primary concern is personal safety, we must be alert and diligent, we must be able to look for potentially unsafe practices and try to correct them in a very amicable manner.
We must look out for our fellow competitors and spectators.
Incorrect ammunition. Research indicates that quite a large number of injuries are associated to the wrong use
of ammunition. The individual does not spend time to ensure or determine that the ammunition matches the firearm he or she
wishes to use. Vigilance and education will help to reduce this problem.
Unsafe transportation of firearms. Some individuals still take their firearms to the range and field wrapped in blankets
or stuffed in duffle bags. One individual took his pistol to the range in his pocket. These are definitely unsafe transportation
practices and should be discouraged immediately, making sure that the consequences and the danger associated with them are
fully understood by the individual.
Improper target placement. There is definitely a total disregard as to how and where targets should be placed, what
happens if someone shoots at a misplaced target, are they aware of the dangers associated with shooting at one of these. The
realities must be imprinted in their minds, we must be able to police and enforce these rules.
Safety in our clubs. It is much more difficult to monitor safety in a multi discipline club than one which has just one discipline.
For any club to operate safely it is suggested that a safety committee be established with a very strong and vigilant policing
team, this team checks the activities on a regular basis, this team must report to the committee of any unsafe practice and
immediate disciplinary action must be taken. We must all realize that these actions are necessary for the shooting sport to
be safe and enjoyable.
Personal protection. Many shooters have lost some of their ability to hear and see properly, it has been suggested that eye
and hearing check up should be done by a qualified person on a regular basis, and that any short coming should be corrected.
The inability to hear or see properly lends to unsafe situations on the range, remember the quality of corrective equipment
used by the individual enhances or limits his or her performance.
In conclusion, we must continue to be committed and diligent enough
in helping to make the sport of our choice enjoyable and safe.
Author Allman A Vieira
GUN CLUB SAFETY
By Jack Robertson
(This article is reprinted
with permission from the Gun Club Advisor, winter 1993)
At this time of year in
a large portion of our country, ice fishing tip-ups are being put away for another season, snowmobiles are being readied for
storage and a change of sporting seasons is about to come upon us. Soon the shotguns will come out for spring and summer leagues,
handguns for silhouette practice and rifles for bench rest practice. As your members drift back to the range to take up their
chosen discipline, one thing must be re-enforced immediately, "RANGE SAFETY."
Before members new and
old take to the firing line, safe gun handling must be emphasized right from the beginning. As a range owner or manager it
is your responsibility to insist that safe gun handling be a serious part of your range operation.
Safe gun handling can be
re-enforced by you or your representative in several ways. Seminars for new shooters explaining in detail range commands,
firing line procedures and just plain common sense are one means. Another is the posting of reminder signs in prominent places
around your facility. An example is the ATA's signs sent to all it's member clubs "Open or Out." Below are pictured several
posters available from NSSF.
In a good many instances
newcomers are not the most serious offenders. Often times, the old-timers take gun handling for granted and as a result become
the most frequent offenders. This is one area were the old cliché, "familiarity breeds contempt," is quite true. It becomes
the responsibility of every shooter on the line to police not only their own actions, but that of their neighbor shooter as
well. If done in a polite fashion, any shooter should feel free to point out to another shooter any unsafe firearm practices.
A club or range should
be proud of its safety record. Should you have the occasion to have media coverage of an event at your facility it would go
a long way to be able to say, "we've had recreational shooting here for years, and have never had a shooting related accident."
We know our sport ranks among the safest of all sports and that fact should be brought to the attention of the general public.
upcoming shooting season, let's see if we can't all work together and make it the safest season ever. With a little
bit of effort on everybody's part this can happen.
IT SEEMS reasonable to assume that at some time a handgun bug will
have a golden opportunity to bring together a clean-cut young fellow and a well-kept pistol. Some of us who haven't given
this matter quite a lot of thought might be confused by such questions as how to start, when, with what, and where.
Let's begin by imagining
a young man, married, with a fair amount of plinking and target work under his belt, and a handgun or two of his own. Pretty
soon a son appears. Pop has gone his unthinking way; merely keeping his guns locked away from the snoopy fingers that we all
have in the house at times. I think he could continue this until his son (or daughter) has reached the age of about four years.
This brings up the main
point I want to stress in the whole chapter. Let's be frank about it. No matter if you never teach anyone anything else
about firearms, please, for the sake of all living things, pound into a beginner's head the fact that he should NEVER
un- intentionally point a gun at anything that would be damaged, to his sorrow, if the gun should be fired. Talk about the
old-fashioned teacher's hickory stick; in this case you have my permission to use a hammer, if necessary! I don't mean this
word-for-word, but I mean it!
Can you imagine a call from
the Police? "We have your son here. Please come down as soon as possible!" So it turns out to be a shooting-scrape, and after
end- less questions your son says, "Dad never taught me anything about guns, and the gang had them.
I think you would sleep
pretty damned poorly for a long time after that scene.
Now that I've blown the main top,
let's get back to the four-year-old stage. It seems that your own guns should still be left out of sight and locked up when
they're not being used. Junior is probably running around at full speed and shooting up his playmates with his toy six gun.
BUT, let's remember, many
gun wise parents won't let their children have anything to do with such toys, except, perhaps, when they are handled
with exactly the same care that real guns rate. Such discipline isn't easy to instill and maintain when children are tiny,
but it has been done. Such children aren't involved in tragedies with guns that "look like real," and are. Those who are allowed
to "quick-draw" and "shoot it out" with each other get so awfully fast that you'd hate to face such speed with a real gun.
Maybe they make you think.
Anyway, somehow you feel a little older already.
Cheer up. That part will
continue as time goes on. But will it hurt if it brings a safe and efficient pistol man into the family? He'd better be safe
from the first; so if you put thumbs down on undisciplined play with toy guns, perhaps you're right, and most of the neighbors
But both of you can play
with the rubber-band gun, which fires a projectile and must be handled safely. That will be at home, of course. Soon
you both will graduate to an inexpensive air-pistol, accurate enough for fun and some instruction, and the whole family will
join in. There's still no noise to disturb neighbors, but eyes and other tender places are danger spots. Junior's "Watch
where you point it!" if needed, usually can have been brought to a fine polish by this time. Mean- while, he's developed some
trigger-control and become used to a heavier gun than the Bullseye pistol. Watch your own example!
School soon starts to bother the
family (or relieve it!), but in a year or two maybe Pop had better let his target pistol show up. Start for the club range
early enough so as to let Junior sees the gun before he's pushed off to bed. Why not teach him to check to see if it's unloaded
and, some other day, help clean it? (What better gift can you offer him than your time?) Don't go into over-much detail; but
let him handle a real gun at home, under supervision. For comparison and instruction, tell him about football, baseball and
Possibly the pistol business
should be soft-pedaled for the next few years unless he trends definitely in that direction. "Ramming a pistol down his throat"
is a fine way to make him a gun-hater, even if you your- self love them, as no doubt you do.
Who can name an age when
these youngsters will get the urge to become seriously acquainted with a handgun? But you can bet it will be before we older
folks expect it.
If his interest stays high,
expose him more and more to your own guns, making sure that they are un- loaded and never pointed where they shouldn't. Dry
shooting might be OK, but I can't make myself think that quick-draw should be done in any kid's presence. They see
too much of it on the screens. If Dad does it, too, it must be all right, they will think. In his early years the boy thinks
Pop is next to God, almost. Later, you must earn his devotion. Halos don't come cheaply.
Sometimes a boy is well
into the teens before he shows real interest in guns. It may never come, but if it does, these suggestions based upon my own
experience might help.
For a beginner I'd pick a lightweight
.22, to be fired single-shot until he's used to it. This holds especially for automatics, which reload themselves in a flash,
literally, after each shot. A too-heavy gun is discouraging to try to hold at arm's length, even for us older guys who may
not be much on the muscle side. Of course grip size must suit the hand. Flinching comes quite surely from an over-heavy caliber.
I knew one young lady whom some idiot talked into firing a .45 Auto, and she had never shot a pistol before. She didn't again,
for a number of years.
Now as to "Where?" Well,
few of us would care to fire on a range next to a kid who had had no previous instruction! Let's find a good safe sandbank
or steep soft ground for a backstop, out in the country and where the owner allows us. There should be no other people around,
no animals and any stones, rocks or metal to cause a ricochet. Those glancing pieces of lead can go almost anywhere.
Best start with large targets,
close-up, and graduate to quart or smaller tin cans. Your garage-man usually will be glad to get rid of them. When cans begin
to feel unsafe under Junior's fire, it's time to start on paper targets, not too small or far away. They show exactly where
the hits are, and they make a definite numerical record of progress. A little later the larger guns may appear, if the time
At about this time we should
take stock of ourselves. Are we so smart, after all? Lots of us have had, at one time or another, good instruction. But as
years passed, we slipped into our own little habits, and scores slipped, too. We had excuses like "Bifocals," "Nervous work
at the office," or just plain "Getting older." Maybe we should take the kid to the range and to a really good instructor.
Then, the first thing you know, you may be competing against the boy some night and come out feeling worth two bits less than nothing. It's been
known, at this stage, for Pop to arrange different shooting dates for himself and the youngster! But you can pat your ego
on the back by feeling that you gave him a fine start, anyway. He won't forget it; he'll be grateful.
Not all families will be like
the imaginary one used as an example. "Junior" may be a girl, or there might be ten of them, or a variety. "Pop" could be
a bachelor who has taken a friend's youngster under his wing. Does it matter?
In closing this chapter I'd suggest that you train just one kid at a time. Usually, after just a little
instruction, one youngster will be pretty dependable. But as soon as you get a crowd around to prod him on, he's apt to blow his stack, get careless, and show off a bit. Even
adults sometimes give in to such strange impulses.
As an add-up, it looks as
though you should always set a good example, catch your pupil when he or she; is really interested, start with the proper gun and
ammo, finish with competent instruction-your own, sharpened up if need be, will do finely-and then stop worrying about Junior.
By then he should be absolutely safe with a gun, and learning marksmanship so fast that, maybe, you'd better slick up your
Good shooting to both of
UNFAMILIAR GUNS--AND USERS
Any complicated or delicate mechanism calls for well-informed care
in its use. The Walther P-38 wartime auto could be put together minus its locking assembly, still fire, and let the bolt
slam against the stop lugs. This is decidedly unhealthy, and too few of us really know these arms.
A person need not be notoriously careless to (unload) an automatic
pistol by removing its magazine and forgetting to eject the cartridge from the chamber.
An individual can empty the barrel first, then pull out the
magazine and forget the round he has placed in the chamber. So magazines' safeties that disconnect or bar the trigger mechanism
are very good, unless you loose the magazine and go naked before "the bright face of danger". In 1947 the little
hammerless Colt assumed these disconnectors. Testing for such safety is simple, with an empty gun: cock it, pull out
the mag, and try to snap the hammer.
Users must always know whether or not any gun near us contains a
At the range we discussed the liability of familiarity breeding
carelessness. We think that the experienced, long-time, shooter should ask himself whether this particular hazard applies
to him. Certainly it does apply to some.
We read too often of accidents incurred while cleaning the
gun. The terrible thing is that they can happen as accidents, though sometimes the account is hard to believe in spite of
a kindly wish to accept it as truth..
Let us all remember, beginer and old hands alike, that every
firearm accident, like every shooter's act of vandalism or even of inconsiderate behaviour afield, reflects upon the whole
group who use and love GUNS.
The shooting games life depends upon public goodwill, doesn't it?
Put that burden of responsibility in your pocket, carry it proudly, and assume your part in spreading the safety message.
Believe me your part is important!