If there is anything that all sides of the gun debate can agree on, it is the overarching importance of gun safety as a means to reduce the potential for accidental shootings and deaths.
To be sure, the anti-gun side often argues that gun safety can best be achieved by having fewer guns in circulation and instituting mandatory safe storage laws, while the pro-gun side tends to lean more toward increased training, perhaps even as part of school curriculum, as the best way to ensure that people understand the proper way to handle firearms. Basic gun safety, however, should be universal.
One person who appears to have the proper mindset when it comes to gun safety is Hollywood actor Will Smith, no doubt due to the intensive training he has likely undergone in preparation for his action movies, and his aversion to the unsafe handling of guns was caught on video during a break in the filming of his latest flick, “Bad Boys 3.”
A short video that has been circulating around social media shows Smith and co-star Martin Lawrence, along with other actors and extras, standing by a table and surveying an array of prop guns.
One man reaches across the table and picks up a semi-automatic handgun and, as he draws it near Smith, sweeps him with the muzzle of the weapon, provoking a sharp side-eye glare from the movie star.
Almost reflexively, Smith reaches out and smacks the muzzle of the handgun with his hand so that it points down toward the table instead of directly at him.
He then seizes the weapon from the other man’s hand and drops the magazine before drawing back the slide to ensure that the handgun isn’t loaded.
The actor then eases the slide back forward over the clear chamber and replaces the empty magazine before handing it back butt-first to the other man, who offers up a sheepish, “thank you, Will.”
Smith then leans toward the camera and says with a smile, “Terrible gun safety.”
Smith and the other actors can smile and laugh about what happened, and some might even suggest his actions were over the top, given the fact that everybody was dealing with prop guns that were almost assuredly not loaded and posed no danger.
However, what Smith did was display gun safety in action and show how, with training, those fundamental rules can become second nature, not to mention how important it is to observe them at all times, even in a situation like that where everything is presumed to be safe.
The first of the four main rules of gun safety is to always treat every firearm as if it were loaded, which is exactly what Smith did by double-checking the weapon that he had just seen picked up off the table of presumably unloaded prop guns.
The second rule of gun safety, which Smith’s co-star didn’t observe and which drew the action star’s corrective actions, is to always ensure the muzzle is never pointed at anything or anyone that you don’t want to shoot. In that, Smith was correct to knock the muzzle down and away from him and then keep it pointed downward as he double-checked that it was unloaded and handed it back to the other man in a safe manner.
The third rule, which it appears was not violated by Smith or the other man, is to always keep your finger off the trigger until you are actually ready to fire the weapon. This rule’s purpose is to reduce the likelihood of a negligent or “accidental” discharge of a loaded gun.
The fourth and final rule, which was presumably violated along with the second rule by the other man, is to always know what is around and behind your intended target, such as innocent people who could potentially be hit by a stray bullet or a round that passes all the way through the intended target.
If everybody, gun owners and non-gun-owners alike, were well-acquainted with these basic rules of gun safety, there would almost certainly be far fewer accidental deaths and injuries from careless and negligent handling of firearms, and the world would be a better place.
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