Firearms manufacturers stress that you should be a "Safe", "Responsible" owner and user. They provide rules and guidlines promintly stated in their Owner's Manual or User's Guide. They provide these documents with new firearms and will also usually provide these manuals free online.

A sample Smith & Wesson Safety & Instruction Manual for Sigma Series Pistols starts with "Your Safety Responsibilities". The section leads with "SAFETY IS YOUR NUMBER ONE RESPONSIBILITY". The manual then goes on to list 24 actions to either do, or never do.

Remington provides an Owner's Manual, an Instruction Book for a model or family of models. After a couple of paragraphs on Performance and Safety it proceeds to list and explain "THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF FIREARM SAFETY".

Mossberg's OWNERS MANUAL for their family of pump action shotguns puts their "SAFETY WARNINGS" on the cover and inside cover even before getting to the table of contents.

Ruger's Instruction Manual for the popular Ruger Model 10/22 Autoloading Rifles starts with "State-By-State Warnings". They include ten rules in "THE BASIC RULES OF SAFE FIREARMS HANDLING" at the back of the booklet.

Taurus issues a Revolvers Instruction Manual that begins with "SAFETY PRECAUTIONS". Then follows with 30 guidlines in an "ATTENTION" section that highlight actions to do or avoid.

KEL-TEC produces Safety, Instruction, and Parts Manual for their pistols, After the introductory page comes the "SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS AND WARNINGS READ AND CAREFULLY FOLLOW THESE WARNINGS AND INSTRUCTIONS".

GLOCK includes a phamplet entitled "The Basic Rules of Firearm Safety". It begins with a statement offering historical perspective and then goes on to explain 12 rules.

BERETTA uses similar symbology to Ruger in their 12 "Basic Safety Rules" included with their Series 92 pistols.

Heritage Manufacturing includes 16 "COMMANDMENTS OF SAFETY" with their revolvers.

Harrington & Richardson with New England Firearms provides an Owner's Manual with their shotguns. It lists 26 points in the "Guide to Firearms Safety".

But wait, are you saying there are so many rules, which set do I follow? 30, 24, 16 Commandments, Ten Commandments, Jeff Cooper's Four?

If you looked at all of the information you will see the themes that the NRA has condensed down to three rules. They are designed to prevent harm if a negligent discharge occurs. They have to be applied in all circumstatnces at all times. There can be no momentery lapse of attention or deviation. Just as if you were adhering to any set of rules or guidlines from a gun manufacturer, respected writer, or any other source.

The point of all of the stress on safety is to prevent tragedy. Here are the NRA three rules for safe gun handling:
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Which direction is safe? This requires some evaluation. Consider you are at a shooting range. Etiquite and range rules will mandate that you take your gun in a case and unloaded to the firing line. You position the gun still in the case so that when you open it the barrel will be pointed in the direction of the targets. You take the gun out of the case, keeping your finger off the trigger and place the gun down on what ever surface is provided such that the barrel remains pointing toward the targets and the empty chamber is up and exposed. Everything you do with your gun during this session maintains this orientation of barrel pointing toward the targets. When you put it away it goes back in the case at the firing line and the gun has been checked to verify it is empty.

Consider you are at home getting ready to clean the gun you used at the range or you are going to "dry fire" practice. where in your home can you point your gun and pull the trigger and contain a discharge if you make a mistake about the load status? There must be a "safe direction" at all times you are handling a gun. Until you can determine where the "safe direction" is, you should not be taking your guns out of their cases.


Victims are listed here as a rememberance to some of those that have died because a gun user did not adhere to safety guidlines. These people died because of the carelessness of others. The information presented here is purposefully brief. Informaton on these cases is available from news sources.
Mary Knowlton
August 10, 2016 - Mary Knowlton was fatally shot by a Punta Gorda Police Officer during a 'shoot/don't shoot' role playing situation at a Citizen Police Academy.
Kaleb Ahles
January 21, 2015 - Kaleb Ahles fatally shoots himself in the chest with a .380 caliber handgun. The gun had been placed in the glove box by his father who then became distracted and left Kaleb alone in the vehicle. The family was in the process of moving from Tarpon Springs to Hernando County.
Katherine Hoover
July 28, 2014 - Katherine Hoover and her unborn son died after Katherine was accidentally shot in the head. William DeHayes was reportedly showing a .22 caliber revolver to Katherine and her husband Carson Hoover.
John Read
October 21, 2013 - John Read, age 5, fatally shoots himself after Melissa Ann Ringhardt leaves her .40 caliber handgun on a coffee table when she goes into a bedroom to nap. Ringhardt was sentenced to four years probation and a $1,000 fine for child endangerment. A warrent for Ringhardt's arrest was issued on June 25, 2014 for parole violations. She was arrested in Russellville Arkansas in October 2014. She waived extradition and was transferred to the Orange County Jail for parole violations.
Josephine Fanning
April 6, 2013 - Josephine Fanning was killed when a 4 year old walked into a room, picked up a loaded gun off a bed and fired one shot. Daniel Fanning was showing his gun collection from a safe.
Ashley Cowie
January 9, 2011 - Ashley Cowie died after being shot in the chest by Evan Wilhelm. Wilhelm was reportedly showing a new rifle light to Ashley and others when the rifle accidentally went off. Evan Wilhelm is serving a 20 year prison sentence for the killing of Ashley Cowie. In May 2015, the trial judge was removed from the case and is to be replaced by another judge to hear post-sentencing motions.


The Fire Triangle describes the three elements necessary for fire to exist. Similarly there are three elements necessary for a gun to discharge.
The Firearm
The Human is variable in definition because it can also be an animal. The element represents a force that is applied to the gun, and that force is usually supplied by a Human.