Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guns: The True Safety is Between Your Ears

CNBC recently aired an exposé on problems with the Remington 700 rifle. In the report, there were several videos showing people getting the 700 to fire without the trigger being touched (in some cases, just moving the bolt slightly caused the striker to release), along with the requisite human interest stories of people killed or injured by the malfunction. Remington has since countered with their own PR campaign, and I'm sure the lawyers on both sides will fight it out.

Anyhoo, I thought the whole thing dovetailed nicely into the recent talk of gun safety rules going around the blogosphere (Tam covered it, as did Snowflakes in Hell). If you believe the allegations levied against Remington, most of the people in the CNBC piece followed two of the four rules: they knew their gun was loaded, and they didn't have their booger hook on the bang switch.

That isn't enough, though. Those two particular rules are designed to keep people safe from negligent discharge - "I'm the only one professional enough" type situations. They do nothing if a gun is not mechanically sound - a true accidental discharge. To paraphrase Anton Chekhov, a gun that does not go off is a failure. That is its purpose, no matter how many little gizmos and devices you hang off the side of it.

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