Thursday, April 26, 2012

Basic Firearms Safety

GUNS: Not Always the Enemy

The following information is being presented in the interest of firearm safety. Some of the information presented pertains to the use of firearms for defense: of yourself, your family and your home.

Because real-life situations can and usually do have so many variable circumstances, few things stated in reference to self-defense can be "set in stone." Nevertheless, it is hoped that those considering firearms for defensive purposes may find several of the concepts thought-provoking and worthwhile.

This information is presented purely for educational purposes, and should not be construed as promoting firearms use in any improper way. We do not advocate violence as a means of first resort nor as a vehicle for personal vengeance.

GENERAL RULES FOR SAFE GUN HANDLING

1. Treat the weapon as though it is loaded---ALWAYS.

2. Whenever you are handling the weapon but not firing, keep your finger off the trigger. Never trust the safety 100%.

3. Be certain of your target before you fire. Don't shoot into foliage, darkness, or through building walls or doors. Know what's behind your target.

4. Never point your weapon at anything you don't intend to shoot.

5. Never: a)leave loaded weapons unattended, even briefly. b) lean loaded weapons upright against a fence, wall, tree, etc. (refer to #1)

6. Be extra cautious when crossing obstacles (fences, streams, obstructions, etc.) while carrying a weapon.

7. Check to see if the weapon is loaded every time you pick it up or someone hands one to you. (refer to #1)

8. Don't handle weapons that you do not know how to use.

9. Never allow yourself to become overconfident, sloppy, or careless with weapons. You can use them for 20 years, but it only takes one second of carelessness to create a very permanent tragedy. Guns are made to kill; this they do very well.

GUNS FOR DEFENSE

Using firearms for defense is one of the most contentious subjects in our culture today. The improper use of firearms is expounded daily in the media, and has become a rallying cry for those who either have a special interest in disarming the honest citizen or those who truly know little or nothing about the subject.

The case can be made that the major cause of the illegitimate use of firearms today, especially among young people, is our society's departure from the laws of God. Ken Ham once said that it only takes one generation to raise up a race of savages. Since America's abandonment of Scriptural guidance in the 1960's, children have been incessantly bombarded with the message that life has little value. When a child realizes that it was only a mother's choice that kept him or her from being aborted, that child is less inclined to hold a deep respect for the life and rights of others than one who has been taught that there is a Supreme Judge who knows every fault and whose justice we cannot escape.

My point is, there are many, many people out there who do not respect your life, rights or property. Whether we face criminals, abusive officials, or merely desperate and misguided people, we each have an obligation to protect our family, and a God-given right to protect ourselves (Exod. 22:2; Luke 22:36; Neh. 4:14). It is therefore to our advantage to consider effective means to do so with minimal jeopardy to ourselves and family. The following information and suggestions are offered in that light.

PREPARE IN ADVANCE OF NEED

You should carefully consider whether or not you could and would use lethal force against a person (or persons) who pose a threaten to you or your family. It only takes a moment to take a life, but you will have to live with the memory the rest of your life. Proper preparation can help prevent deadly mistakes.

1. Consider several of the most likely scenarios you may encounter (i.e.; intruder in house, carjacking, mobs, hidden snipers, etc).

2. Obtain the most effective weapon for that scenario (i.e.; shotguns and handguns are most effective at short [in-house] range, rifles have longer range and greater penetration). Obtain sufficient ammunition and cleaning supplies.

3. Get training from a knowledgeable person, and practice often with the weapons you will use, under conditions you will likely encounter (obstacles, darkness, bad weather, weapon malfunction, multiple attackers, etc).

4. Prepare the terrain to your advantage. Pick out suitable positions for cover. Place obstacles (such as furniture) to hinder intruders, not you. a) Set up a "kill zone" to maximize your chances and minimize the enemy's. Try to "channel" the intruder (in a hallway, for instance). Try to keep the intruder from reaching occupied rooms. b)Stay low (crouch) in the darkness, from behind cover, and aim high (chest-height). c)Include family members in your plan. Be sure they won't accidentally be caught in a crossfire or be behind the target. Know what's on the other side of the wall.

6. Have a powerful flashlight, rope or "zip-ties" (in case you are able to subdue the intruder) and first-aid kit handy (especially trauma dressings). Keep the light with the gun. You may be able to use it intermittently to dazzle the intruder.

7. Never threaten unless you plan on backing it up.

8. If you intend to warn the intruder (in the hope he or she will leave); practice what you will say ahead of time. Make it sound authoritative, not wimpy or panicky. Decide whether to tell them (don't ask!) to leave, or spread-eagle on the floor if you intend to capture them (really not recommended). Give commands, not choices. Don't allow them to talk (they all have a story to lull you into relaxing).

9. Don't shoot the intruder in the back. Fire only if he or she threatens you or others, or advances toward you after you give warning. Firing on a retreating intruder is not self-defense; it is murder.

10. If at all possible, phone for help (or have someone else do it) at the first sign of trouble.

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