I am an anarchist. I believe police are parasites. But this is a view not shared among many in America and so my vision for a stateless future may be far off if it comes at all. In the mean time, at the very least cops should get better training about guns. I owned a gun for about two years and learned a good deal about them.
Here are six essential rules for anyone with a badge and a gun. (They also apply to anyone with a gun.) Cops who say they already know and live by these rules ought to teach other cops who don’t respect the power of guns because gun violence is still running rampant. Obviously, there are other reasons for police murders like racism in police departments, which must be rooted out as well, but not following these basic rules escalates all kinds of situations, even ones in which race is not a factor. These rules are for your own safety, as well as others:
Rule #1: Always keep your gun holstered, unless you intend to use it. If it is out, the barrel should be pointed in a safe direction. Never aim at anyone unless you intend to shoot. Remember, this is a last resort in the worst case scenario (i.e. you are positive you are about to get shot). Keep your finger outside of the trigger guard when your gun is out, unless you are about to shoot.
Rule #2: Every situation is different. Don’t start firing because one other officer or any person did. This domino effect is scary. We’ve all seen stories on the news about people getting hundreds of bullets fired at them by police or feds. There is no reason for this. Innocent people have been killed by cops this way. If you can aim, you only need to take one shot. Shooting hundreds of bullets obviously puts many people’s lives in danger. When you are in a dangerous situation don’t treat it like a shooting range. Be sure you know who is behind the person who are aiming at and who is around that person. Also, be aware of squibs, hangfires, and misfires. Know what to do when these occur. Wait at least two minutes when these occur and keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Pull the slide back and check the barrel with the gun pointed in a safe direction to ensure there is not a bullet or another obstruction in the chamber.
Rule #3: Never have a bullet (or a shell in the case of shotguns) in the chamber, unless you intend to shoot. It takes a fraction of a second to put a bullet in the chamber when there is already a magazine (or shells in the case of shotguns) loaded in the gun. If you don’t expect to use your weapon at all, you can always leave it empty and carry a loaded magazine (or shells in the case of shotguns). Keep your slide back to indicate to others there is not a bullet or shell in the chamber. When your gun is not in use and you do not intend to use it or there are children present, lock it up, disassemble it, or use a trigger lock.
Rule #4: Always keep your gun’s safety catch on (if it has one), unless you intend to fire. Again, it takes about a fraction of a second to turn your gun’s safety off. I have seen videos of DEA agents shooting themselves while “instructing” gun safety classes, because they left their safety off. Don’t be this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am-Qdx6vky0. Also, don’t be in the DEA at all ideally.
Rule #5: Do not draw or even touch your weapon in public, unless there is a known armed threat who you are positive is about to put your life or someone else’s in danger. Every time some cops get emergency calls, they come to the scene with their hands on their guns. Police have to realize the effect this has on people around them. It puts me on edge personally, but they do it all the time. Using a gun is an absolute last resort. Nonviolent deterrence should be the goal in all situations, except when this isn’t possible. To meet this goal, you could also just sell your gun or give it back to your department.
Rule #6: Don’t let your emotions overtake you, especially in situations you find dangerous. Most importantly, don’t believe there is danger when there is not. Recognize when you are just scaring people and affecting their behaviors. Don’t believe in “sides,” (i.e. cops vs. “bad guys”). We should all be on the human side. I think cops who get this stuff already (who are very few in number, unfortunately) should stay police officers, because they are most likely to affect the behaviors of trigger-happy cops in their department who don’t know how to use guns. Guns are no joke. They kill. They should not be about power or domination. They ought to be about safety.
The Canadian Firearms Program has four, good basic rules on gun safety and Canada has a fraction of the gun deaths America does, yet many Canadians own guns. Here are the four rules or acts of firearm safety:
- Assume every firearm is loaded.
- Control the muzzle direction at all times.
- Trigger finger off trigger and out of trigger guard.
- See that the firearm is unloaded. PROVE it safe.