Weapons safety is not really about guns, knives, or any other offensive or defensive object that you may lay your hands upon. Weapons safety is a frame of mind, an attitude that defines the role of the weapon, the responsibility of the bearer toward its maintenance, and respect for its hazards.

The NRA covers the basic rules for weapons handling (really firearms handling) at http://training.nra.org/nra-gun-safety-rules.aspx. These are VERY BASIC rules. They rely far too heavily upon this thing called “Common Sense.” The term common sense is far too often mistaken for “USE YOUR BRAIN and THINK!” Common Sense is not common because people are wise or have wisdom in general, but because it comes from a shared pool of knowledge. In other words “Common Sense” is LEARNED knowledge, so please don’t get frustrated when someone doesn’t understand something you think is basic. Either explain it or direct them to a resource for the information.

Note: These rules do not include, very large weapons, such as tank or a nuclear weapon, whose only purpose is the complete destruction of people and property). These rules are for tools or objects that are useful as weapons against an attacker, such as a would-be murderer, a lion, or a bear.

Weapons Safety Rules:

  1. Weapon Definition: Anything useful in attacking someone or defending yourself and others with is a weapon. These “things” include the words from your mouth, your teeth, your hands, your feet, your head, a lamp, a light, a bottle, a power cord, a knife, a gun, a sword, etc..
  2. Respect your Weapon! Recognize that a weapon “is” a weapon and that playing with a weapon is dangerous and leads to serious repercussions. Respect a weapon for both its short-term and long-term repercussions at ALL times. A person who plays with a weapon is not mature enough, trained well enough, responsible enough, or mentally competent enough to be trusted with a weapon.
  3. Learn the specific safety rules for any given weapon and train with it in its primary function until it becomes nothing more than any other tool: not important beyond its primary function and not thought of as a weapon for offense or defense unless it is required for that function.
    1. An example of a tool that is very useful as a weapon is a belt knife. A belt knife has a multitude of purposes, to include opening boxes, prepping or eating food (as long as you clean it first), cutting twine, cutting tags off of product, etc. The variety and number of uses for a belt knife are uncountable.
  4. Get weapons training for the use of your weapon as a weapon! The use of a weapon should not be exciting, exhilarating, or adrenaline inducing. Fighting for your life is adrenaline inducing enough on its own. For random objects, actual weapons training is not possible and general weapons (such as bo, sword, or staff) would be sufficient.
  5. Never drop your weapon! Always secure it safely upon your person until the situation is confirmed clear of danger and then put it away securely or dispose of it properly (such as in the case of picking up a random object). Dropping your weapon means that an aggressor can pick it up and use it against you.

Signs that someone is “Playing” with a weapon:

  1. Threatening people with a weapon for  no other reason than to show off the weapon, to frighten someone, or to make the wielder feel stronger and bigger than the person they are threatening.
  2. A disregard for the safety rules for the weapon. Waving a weapon around with no care for who it might hurt, for example pointing a gun at someone (regardless of whether it is thought to be empty or loaded) and saying “bang”, then stating that they were “just playing”. People die this way, with no intent of the person “playing” to hurt anyone.
  3. Perceiving the primary purpose of a weapon as a way to hurt or kill people, rather than to acquire food, defend oneself, or whatever its real primary purpose is.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Neither maturity nor wisdom replaces specific training or education on weapons handling.