Thursday, December 29, 2005

Gun Safety Rules Blitz 2006

Minuteman Monthly Newsletter
Issue 54
January 2006

Let's make history this year!!! Let's make 2006 the lowest recorded year in U.S. history for accidental deaths involving firearms. I want to launch an effort for 2006 to keep accidental firearm related deaths down to only two (2) per week. I know that with the information in this issue of the Minuteman Monthly Newsletter and your promotional efforts, it can be done!!!!

In the last few years, 3.5 to 4 children ages 5 to 19, die each week due to the mishandling of a loaded firearm. In 2001, which is the last year for which I have complete statistics, 182 children ages 0 to 19, had to buried by their parents because of an accident with a gun.

If enough families get this newsletter this coming year, I think we can bring that total down to two children a week. Together, let's cut this accidental death rate among children in half in 2006!!

In addition to 182 deaths, there were hundreds more tragic injuries that we can help avoid as well. With your promotional efforts and full participation, we can make 2006 the safest year in history in regards to firearms.

Let's start right now. Right here at the beginning of a brand new year. Let's set a limit of 104 children dying because of the mishandling of loaded gun. There's no reason it can't be done, if you'll agree to help me out by forwarding this newsletter on to others. That's all I'm asking you to do!!!

You can help me by writing about this gun safety effort in your local newspaper, e-mailing national news programs, posting information about this effort in your favorite blogs and posting this newsletter at your gun club among many other things you can do. Most importantly though, talk to your own family and friends first.

<<>> This entire issue of the Minuteman Monthly Newsletter is posted on my blog at:







"Freedom is the most contagious virus known to man."
-- Hubert H. Humphrey
(1911-1978) US Vice-President, US Senator (D-MN)
Source: Speech, New York City, 29 October 1964

"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
-- John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873) English philosopher and economist

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
-- Mark Twain
[Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910)

"Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum _est" ("A sword is never a killer, it's a tool in the killer's hands")
Lucius Annaeus Seneca "the younger" ca. (4 BC - 65 AD)

NOTE: Wouldn't you think that after 1941 years, everyone would realize that a weapon doesn't kill anyone? Of course the blame always rests on the perpetrator. However, with many brands of gun control measures and gun control activists, you'd think that the firearm itself is to blame for a criminal act.


In 2005, I recruited twenty six (26) NRA Members through my "NRA Membership" page and my special NRA Recruiter link. In 2006, I want to double that total to fifty two (52). We can accomplish this goal together. I'll need your help to gain one new NRA Member each week in 2006.

Please consider printing this National Rifle Association Membership Application and keep a stack of them at your favorite local sporting goods retailer. Make sure you ask permission first.

Most gun owners don't join the NRA because they have never been asked to. Well consider yourself asked!!!


Can you start me off right this year with a contribution? To contribute to my efforts with a credit card, please go to my secure Pay-Page at:

Or, you can simply make a personal check payable to Marc Richardson.

mail your check to:

Marc Richardson
P.O. Box 424
Shapleigh, ME 04076-0424

My goal for contributions for 2006 is $6,000.


The most common way of a child getting killed in a firearm related accident is by pulling on the barrel, while another child has his finger on the trigger.

You MUST help me to get this message out if we're going to save eighty (80) to one hundred (100) kids this coming year in 2006.

If a child finds a gun in an unsupervised situation, they should stop, leave the area and tell a responsible adult what they found. A child should NEVER touch an unsupervised firearm. Furthermore, if a child picks up an unattended firearm, any other child in the area should leave the area and tell a responsible adult what was found.



Below is the most comprehensive and complete list of gun safety rules that I know of. I've looked around a lot at gun safety information on the Internet and I truly believe that nothing beats this list.

Together, we can save at least one hundred (100) lives this coming year in 2006. JOIN THIS EFFORT BY SIMPLY READING AND FORWARDING THIS MONTH'S NEWSLETTER. IT'S ALL UP TO YOU.

Bill Gates won't send you a check. Nothing cool will pop up on your screen either. But you might save the life of someone you know.

I've categorized these fifty gun safety rules to make it easier to read and comprehend. There are seven (7) categories of Gun Safety in this issue of the Minuteman Monthly Newsletter:

**Three Basic Handling Rules
**For Kids
**At All Times
**At Home
**While Hunting
**At The Shooting Range
**While Reloading Ammunition


There are only two causes of the accidental discharge of a firearm. A lack of knowledge and carelessness are the only two causes of an accidental firearm discharge. Now that you are on the most comprehensive and all encompassing gun safety page currently found anywhere in the world, a lack of knowledge is not an excuse.

There are three rules of safe gun handling. Learn them right here. Repeat them as many times as you wish, I'll sit here and wait for you.... :-)

1.) **ALWAYS point the barrel of the gun in a safe direction. A safe direction is defined as a direction where if the gun discharged, nobody would get hurt. The best direction to point a gun is generally at the ground and to the side.

This is known as the Golden Rule Of Gun Safety.

If everyone followed this one rule, it would bring an end to accidental firearm related deaths.

Be aware that the "safe direction" may change as you change your location.

2.) **ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. There is a natural tendency to place the index finger inside the trigger guard. This MUST be avoided. Condition yourself to place your shooting hand index finger along the side of the frame.

There is no reason whatsoever that your finger should be on the trigger unless you have safely and appropriately acquired your target and your sight picture and are ready for the trigger squeeze.

3.) **ALWAYS Keep the action open and the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it. The action is the moving parts of the gun that allow loading, unloading, firing and extraction of the empty case or shell. If you are not ready to use it, keep the action open and unloaded.

With an open and unloaded action, the only injury that might occur, is if you drop the firearm on your foot.


Gun safety for children is the top priority on my agenda. Most of the gun safety Web sites online that purport to help protect children from firearm accidents are openly anti-gun Web sites. I have not seen an anti-gun Web site, meant to protect children from accidental death with firearm, that knows what they're talking about.

Let's face the hard cold fact here ladies and gentlemen. When it comes to gun safety and proper firearm education, anti-gun leaning organizations and Web sites don't have a clue what they're talking about.

Until I got black-listed by Google, my "For Kids Only" page was the top destination on the planet for children to learn how to be safe around firearms at all times. Gun safety for kids, while at home, at the shooting range and while unsupervised, are essential things for your children to grasp.

In 2001, 182 children ages 0 to 19, died because a loaded firearm was unintentionally mishandled. Kids have to know what to do if they come upon a firearm in an unsupervised situation.

I cannot imagine the horror, of having this occur to a son or daughter. The pain and anguish of having to lay a son or daughter to rest in a graveyard, must be unbearable. It can be prevented. Together, we can save one hundred lives or more in 2006.

I'm going to save space here, by just asking you to send the following Web page to anyone with a young child. I doesn't matter if they're anti-gun, pro-gun or don't care about the subject at all.

Help me save some kids in 2006.


Before I get into the gun safety rules to obey at all times, let me say something on the subject of discovering a discarded firearm outside a home.

Even though violent crime has been declining for years, rates of violent crime among our youth has been escalating. Increasingly, it is America's young people who are responsible for a lion's share of violent crime.

Because of that very fact, it is getting more likely that a discarded firearm could be found in an area frequented by young people like a park, playground or other recreational area.

If an unattended firearm is discovered, it is very likely that the last person to handle that firearm was a criminal and it could still be loaded.

Do not pick up the discarded firearm and bring it to the police station. Rather, contact police and have them come and take possession of the gun.

Yes, I know that many of you are retired military personnel and police officers, gun club range safety officers and firearm instructors. If you're not new to firearm safety, you know how to handle an unfamiliar firearm safely. However, the discarded firearm was probably recently used to commit a crime.

It might have fingerprints, palm prints, human tissue, blood, dna or other evidence on the firearm itself. The area around where the firearm was discovered might have clothing threads, footprints, tire tracks or other evidence that might be essential in solving a violent crime.

That's why I have always advised to carefully back out of the area disturbing a little as possible, post a trusted sentry near the firearm and contact police and tell them that you've found a discarded firearm that could have been used to commit a crime. It's the right thing to do.

Now for the fifty plus (50+) gun safety rules, which is the centerpiece of our cooperative effort to prevent over a hundred accidental firearm related deaths in 2006!!!

ALWAYS treat every gun as if it is loaded and ready to fire. An excuse often heard following an accidental death is that "...I thought it was unloaded." ALWAYS handle the gun as if it is loaded, even if you know it is empty.

Never target shoot or hunt with a firearm, when you are too tired or fatigued to continue to pay attention and operate a firearm safely. After getting a brand new gun or your first firearm, you may have a tendency to stay out too long. Call it a day before you get too tired to pay attention.

NEVER point a gun at something or someone that you don't intend to shoot at. As Jeff Cooper would say "Don't point a gun at anything you are not prepared to destroy."

Check the action of the firearm every time you pick it up. Condition yourself to do this. Check that action again, even if you just checked it.

Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate. Inviting a hot piece of metal or powder in your eye is not a very good idea, in fact it hurts like hell. ALWAYS wear those silly looking glasses or you may be sorry. If you want to be able to hear your grandchildren, you should have ear plugs or ear protection muffs and use them according to the instructions.

NEVER TAKE A GUN AWAY FROM SOMEONE BY PULLING ON THE BARREL. If they have their finger on the trigger, pulling on the barrel could discharge the gun and injure you. This is the most common type of accident among young people.

NEVER use drugs or alcohol before or during shooting. Alcohol or drugs can impair judgment. Mistakes are more likely to happen under the influence of alcohol. Be vigilant about safety, don't drink alcohol or use some prescription drugs while handling a gun. Alcohol use before or during the handling and/or firing of a gun, can drastically increase the incidence of a scientific phenomenon known as the Stupidity Factor. Ok, I made up the "Stupidity Factor", but my point remains. This rule applies especially when reloading ammunition.

NEVER shoot into water and avoid ricochets. Bullets can skip off the surface of water and then change direction too!!!! Don't shoot into the water. Don't shoot at heavy metal objects such as junked cars, old propane tanks and abandoned refrigerators. Ricochets have been deadly in this type of situation.

NEVER rely solely on the safety device on the gun. Mechanical safeties have been known to fail. If you know Murphy's Law, then you would know that if a safety lever or button is going to fail, it will fail at the worst possible moment. Mechanical safeties can wear out or malfunction over time.

NEVER allow horseplay with a firearm even if you are certain it is unloaded. Horseplay with an unloaded gun is never a good idea. It can condition a child to respect a firearm less, and regard gun safety as less important. NO HORSEPLAY. NEVER.

ALWAYS AVOID THE NATURAL TENDENCY TO PLACE A FINGER INSIDE THE TRIGGER GUARD WHEN HANDLING A GUN. I know I already said this one, but it is worth repeating. Most accidental discharges occur because of a misplaced finger on the trigger.

Carry guns in cases whenever practical. In some States, this is the law. Get to know your State firearm laws. Ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse before a judge. It is the gun owner's responsibility to be familiar with their own state's gun laws.

Do not allow a holster, sling or clothing that might interfere with the safe operation of the gun. Choose firearm accessories carefully. Use only the slings, holsters, mounts or aiming devices made specifically for your gun.

Never lean a rifle or shotgun against a wall or vehicle. They can easily slip off the surface and hit the floor or ground. It is very unlikely that it will discharge, however, a ding or scratch in the firearm will not make you a very happy camper. It could permanently damage a scope too.


A gun safe or quality security cabinet is a great idea for the home. If it's bolted to both the wall studs and the floor, a home burglar will not be able to get at your firearms as long as the safe or security cabinet is of decent quality. I have some safes and cabinets linked near the bottom of my "Safety Rules" page:

A decent security cabinet can prevent little curious hands from handling a firearm unsupervised. They don't have to cost as much as your car either, see the link.

Store guns and ammunition so it is not accessible to unauthorized people. NEVER be satisfied with just hiding a loaded gun. If you are simply hiding a loaded gun in your home, KNOCK IT OFF. You are sending out an invitation to tragedy if you simply hide a loaded gun in your home. There are easily affordable devices available so you don't need to simply hide a gun. Quick access however, should be practiced and practiced often. You don't want to be fumbling around for a defensive firearm while you're being attacked. Firearm accessibility and home firearm safety is a relationship that we've been struggling with since the 1300s. Each gun owner must come to their own compromise and be able to live with it.

Never hide a firearm under a pillow or mattress. This is not a very smart thing to do. Someday it WILL BE FOUND by someone. It can get damp or musty under there too! Whoever finds it, may not be someone you want handling an unsupervised firearm. Not to mention that if you are attacked while still in bed, you can't get under the mattress anyway. Your weight and the weight of a spouse and/or intruder will prevent access to the gun anyway.

Store firearms and ammunition separately. Store ammunition so it does not get too moist or in an area that gets excessively hot, like an attic, cellar or closet. Ammunition primers can corrode and become unreliable if they are stored in a damp area.

Read and fully understand the manual that came with the gun. The gun manufacturers are concerned about gun safety. Don't take the gun apart too far!!! Learn all there is to know about your firearm. Know it inside and out. Taking the gun apart too far is how gunsmiths make a lot of their money. Not that I'm against gunsmiths making money, but I would rather spend my money on something other than having a professional reassemble a gun that I took apart too far.

When attaching trigger locking devices, make certain that they are done properly. If you have your firearms under lock and key, be sure to keep the key on YOUR key chain and keep it with you. It does no good to lock up your guns and leave the key out for anyone to find. Make certain that trigger blocking devices are inserted behind the trigger, but still within the trigger guard if possible.

Always thoroughly check to make sure a firearm is unloaded before cleaning or disassembly. Also you should strictly follow the user's manual when disassembling the firearm. Remove all live ammunition from the area where you'll be cleaning the gun. There's no reason you should have live ammo around when cleaning a firearm. Cleaning solvent and gun oil can damage
ammunition as well.


Never shoot at movement when hunting. If you miss your intended target, where is the bullet going???? Positively identify the sex of the animal before firing. This will guarantee that you will not kill some lady who is hanging out her laundry while wearing a brown and white fur coat (true story). If you don't know what the male and female species of your quarry looks like, you should not be hunting in the first place.

ALWAYS carry the gun safely and watch that muzzle!! The muzzle is another name for the front end of the barrel.

While hunting, you should be completely aware of where your buddies are and carry your firearm accordingly. When walking together, make certain that the muzzles are looking in a safe direction.

NEVER climb a tree or fence or jump a ditch with a loaded gun. You will have very little control over your firearm during a fall. Unload that firearm before you descend or ascend steep slopes. During an uncontrolled tumble or while sliding down a steep slope, your control of the firearm will be compromised. Unload it first. I would rather see you lose a chance shot at a game animal, than take a load of buckshot under your chin during a fall. In 2005, a hunter accidentally killed his own son after an uncontrolled slide down a steep slope while hunting. Before you do anything physically challenging, unload the firearm first. Please hear me on this.

I know I shouldn't have to say this one, but I will anyway. Wear blaze orange clothing so other hunters that have not read these rules know that you're not a deer.


Please make time this week to visit my online store and make a purchase. I've created a page of affiliates with convenient links to their Web sites.


Never accept a loaded gun from anyone, unless you are a Range Officer or Certified Firearm Instructor or really know what you are doing. When you receive a firearm from someone, it should be unloaded and the action should be open. Keeping the action open when passing a firearm from one person to another is very important. It clearly demonstrates that you are conscientious and that you know what you are doing. It is impossible to have an accidental discharge with the action open.

Be sure the gun is safe to operate. A gun that has been neglected or one that is very old, may not be safe to use. Some guns manufactured in the early 1900's should not use modern ammunition.

Never look down the barrel of a potentially loaded gun. Leave that to an episode of the Three Stooges. There is no way to tell if a gun is loaded by looking down the barrel anyhow. Don't do it, it's not that funny. Checking the barrel for powder, lead and copper deposits while cleaning the gun is ok, as long as the action is open and you're completely certain it is unloaded during the cleaning process.

Be certain that when you are leaving the range or another shooting area, that the firearms you are packing away are completely unloaded, including magazines. I have been shooting for more than thirty years and I mistakenly left a handgun loaded after packing up at the range only once. As a responsible and alert gun owner, you should always know if one of your guns are loaded or not. That is why I have clearly advocated so many redundant safety checks. Please hear me.

If you don't know anything about the gun, seek a knowledgeable person. If you are in a position to use a gun at a range or while recreationally shooting outdoors, and you are not familiar with the gun, then ask the owner. Almost every model of gun, operates a little differently from its

Know how to use the gun safely. If you don't know what you are doing while out shooting with friends and family, don't pretend to know what you are doing. It is always OK to ask questions. Don't be afraid about looking less than macho. If you make a grievous mistake while handling the gun, then how would you look?

Use ONLY the correct ammunition for the gun. On a rare occasion, a 20 gauge shell has slipped into the barrel of a 12 gauge shotgun. The next shot could destroy the gun and injure you. I know of someone that tried to shoot a .38 special from a 1911 .45 ACP. (A hospital run came soon after.)

Carry only one caliber cartridge or shell at a time. This will reduce the possibility of using the wrong ammunition in your firearm.

Know your target and what is behind and beyond it. Be certain of where your bullet will end up. With some higher powered rifle cartridges, bullets can travel up to five (5) miles under the right conditions. Most rifle bullets will travel between a mile and a half (7,920 feet) and three and half miles (18,480 feet).

Be aware that certain firearms and activities have additional rules and precautions. When attending competitions or other organized activities, make certain that there are no other rules that you might be unaware of.

ALWAYS obey range rules and a Range Safety Officer. A Range Safety Officer has everyone's best interest in mind. Don't feel angry if a Range Safety Officer corrects something you are doing wrong. There are quite a few gun safety rules and they all must be obeyed at the same time. A gun club may have rules posted that you're not aware of. Please treat the Range Safety Officer with respect.

Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions. An obstruction inside the barrel, such as a patch, bullet or bullet jacket can destroy the usefulness of the gun and could cause severe injury OR DEATH.

If the discharge of the cartridge seemed a bit different in sound or recoil, the gun should be pointed in a safe direction for at least thirty (30) seconds to two (2) minutes, in case of a hangfire. Then the barrel should be checked for obstruction. A hangfire occurs when the gun does not immediately discharge, but discharges a few moments later. This is usually due to a defective primer.

In some cases, a cartridge may have a primer, but no powder. Upon discharge, the primer would push the bullet into the barrel, where it would get stuck. This is called a "Squib Load". If only the primer fires on a cartridge, point the gun in a safe direction for up to two (2) minutes, possibly more, then check the barrel for any obstruction. If a bullet is stuck in the barrel, don't shoot another bullet at it to get it out. This will more than likely destroy your gun and could injure you and bystanders near you. If you can't get it out, see a gunsmith or other knowledgeable person. Many times, you'll be able to get it out yourself. I advise to pour some type of penetrating oil into the barrel and tap it out with a solid aluminum or brass rod after letting it soak overnight. A wooden dowel will probably splinter and mushroom, but a good hardwood dowel might work, if you oil the barrel. Try to insert the rod or dowel from the breech end if possible to avoid damage to the muzzle.

If you do a bunch of your shooting at indoor pistol ranges, you should make sure that the range is fully ventilated and the fans are properly working. There can be a relatively high concentration of lead and harmful compounds in the air if proper ventilation is not observed. In addition to this, make certain that you wash your hands very well after shooting and cleaning your guns. There are many harmful compounds found in gunpowder and ammunition priming compounds. Some of them are listed here:

potassium nitrate
boron metal
lead styphnate
barium nitrate

While at the outdoor shooting range, keep your muzzle down!!! Don't allow your barrel to point above the dirt berms that are designed to protect the surrounding community from a wayward bullet.


Never keep black powder or smokeless gun powder in unmarked containers. Always use the original containers. Don't mix powders unless you know what you're doing and you're specifically attempting a known duplex load.

Store reloading components in a cool and dry area. Primers, black powder and smokeless powder should always be stored in a cool and dry area. This is more to protect the integrity of the reloading components than anything else. Of course you'll want to store them away from any heat source like a furnace, woodstove or water heater.

Always check metallic cases and shotgun hulls for defects before reloading them. Check cases and hulls for splits or cracks.

Use the utmost in caution when reloading centerfire ammunition. Don't allow yourself to become distracted. Concentrate completely on the task at hand, and most importantly, stay organized and label everything. Follow the ammunition tables exactly, do not experiment unless you are a very experienced or expert reloader. Don't reload ammuntion after you've had a couple of beers either. Remember the "Stupidity Factor" I spoke of earlier?

A cartridge which has: the wrong powder, no powder charge, or too large a powder charge; an inverted primer, mis-seated primer, the wrong type of primer or an inert primer; a mis-seated, inverted, or mis-sized bullet; a collapsed, weakened, improperly sized or mis-crimped case; incorrect overall length or any of a host of other defects may seriously jeopardize your safety, the safety of those around you, and/or the reliability of your firearm in a defensive situation.

Many shooters prepare and safely use reloaded ammunition each day, and it can be an economical way to stretch your ammunition budget, but the safety of that reloaded ammunition directly depends on the care, components, equipment, and practices used in preparing it.

Always use a proper measure when loading Pyrodex or black powder into a muzzle loading firearm. Never simply guess.

Never use modern smokeless gun powder in a muzzle loader and never mix smokeless powder and black powder. There is such a thing as a "duplex" load which uses two different powders, but they should only be used under the most controlled circumstances and according to known recipes.

Never smoke cigars, pipes or cigarettes when using a muzzle loader or when reloading centerfire ammunition. You may lose part of your beard, mustache, eyebrows and eyelashes, which is very unattractive. :-)

Never put a match to a pile of accidentally spilled black powder. You might end up having to completely shave off all your facial hair until it grows back evenly, right John?


Now that you've read the January 2006 issue of the Minuteman Monthly Newsletter, what are you going to do next? Are you going to close and delete this newsletter? Or are you going to forward it on to another family, so we can save perhaps one hundred children and adults this year.

Not many of us can say that we saved the life of another human being. What a great feeling it is. I saved a life myself in 2005 and it feels pretty neat to have done so.

I wrote and sent this month's newsletter myself, all you have to do is forward it, print it, post it, leave it in your breakroom at work, put in on your refrigerator, write an editorial about this effort in your newspaper and more.

Think hard at what you can do to promote this gun safety issue of the Minuteman Monthly. Whether or not we're able to save up to one hundred (100) people this year from accidental death with a firearm, depends entirely on the next few seconds in your life. Are you going to send this on to someone else, or are you going to delete it. That's the question that only you can answer.

Marc Richardson

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that
the whole body of the people always
possess arms, and be taught alike,
especially when young, how to use
Richard Henry Lee,
Additional Letters From The
Federal Farmer, 1788