Confessions of a Safety Susie
Complacency kills. Overconfidence kills. My handling of firearms can be seen as something that borders on paranoia. To a gun control advocate I probably look like a loose cannon, it's all about perspective. I "dry fire" guns at home. I do this after carefully inspecting the chamber and removing the magazine. Anyone who doesn't know anything about gun safety probably thinks this is reckless behavior. On the other hand, I carefully follow the four laws. Especially the one that says "All guns are always loaded". That is not literally true, but it doesn't hurt to handle a weapon at all times like there is a bullet in the chamber. For example, I inspect a weapon prior to a range trip when I prepare it for transport. This means the magazine is ejected and checking the chamber to make sure it is empty. When I get to the range I run this inspection again. Why? I do it again because the gun was out of my possession for awhile. I am not worried something has happened, I am reinforcing a good habit.
Here's the underlying issue. Everytime a gun owner has a negligent discharge it becomes a news story somewhere. At least local if not on to national. It becomes another example of how guns are just too dangerous for people who "aren't trained". We all know accidents happen and anyone with a lick of common sense knows that automobiles still far lead in injuries and deaths compare to firearms. Yes, I know that automobiles and firearms are not an apples to apples comparison. I bring it up though because the automobile is still ingrained in our culture and politicians know that to suggest no one outside of "trained" taxi drivers and bus drivers should be allowed to drive would be a political non-starter.
Part of being safe is reinforcing good habits and working to eliminate bad ones. I can be safe and still enjoy my range trips. I can be safe and still be ready to defend my home. I have no desire to end up on the evening news or involve myself or a family member in the unfortunate statistics. I know many people scoff at "Safety Susies", but those showing caution are doing far more to promote a positive image of gun ownership then the people who are way more confident in their skills than they should be.