Ryan writes:

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a gun friendly family. Dad was a cop (one of the good ones) and taught me the basics at a young age. I went into the military and served for a good bit of time and learned/trained much more with firearms, all the aspects of them. Not just firing/shooting, but handling, safety, maintenance, etc etc. I now own a child-killing AR rilfe and carry a .45 daily. Because other calibers may kill the body, but the .45 kills the soul. And so on. Maybe I’m compensating . . .

Anyways, having deployed in the sandboxes for numerous years, on the kind of the blunt tip of the spear, I have had numerous occasions to observe troops/soldiers from several nations handling firearms. In my albeit limited experience they’re……..meh. The good troops are good obviously, the normal ones are not typically ones I’d like to hang around with live ammo for extended periods of time.

So the question of the day, maybe, is how do other countries (assumably gun-friendly, or just gun crazy) deal with basic rules of safety and handling?

ED: We interrupt this 80 proof rant for a description of the events above via liveleak.com:

In shooting club in the Volokolamsk Highway, a 12-year-old student has accidentally killed a friend of his mother with a rifle, which he thought was not loaded with ammunition.

The footage shows the mother of the shooter and her friend going to check the target, the boy moved to the table where instructed and from where he was to shoot the rifle.

A female instructor asked the boy to take the rifle in his hands, without making sure that the weapon at this point was not loaded.

At some point, the child apparently jokingly took aim at the people in front of him, and pulled the trigger, fatally hitting the family friend in the head and killing him instantly.

While police acknowledge the boy is also at fault for playing around with the loaded weapon, charges are expected to be laid against the instructor for not ensuring the rifle was empty at the time.

Back to Ryan:

They don’t have the benefit of Col. Cooper (Semper Fi!), but from what I’ve seen by and large, aside from upper echelon troops of first world countries, there is a very cavalier and somewhat dangerous attitude about firearms in the world for the most part. I don’t need to tell you about Arabs shooting AK’s in the air for the slightest celebratory reason, but it does kind of bear thought. We (Americans) are a gun culture, no doubt about it, but there are countries that have existed and had firearms for far longer than we’ve even existed as a nation, and yet they are far worse off when it comes to gun safety issues. Again, in my limited experience.

Are we a safer gun-toting nation than others? (Yes, btw) Has our firearm ownership (2nd Amendment FTW!) from our nations inception given us a sort of gun mindsent/mentality? Not just for safety, obviously jackasses shoot each other and themselves all the time. But this example, while tragic, does illustrate some differences. Could this have happened in the US? Absolutely. Would it have been far less likely? Also absolutely. While nobody has the foresight to predict that little dipshit would aim and pull the trigger, I have no doubt that most, if not all, reputable gun ranges in the US of America would have either had safety/range types on site, or rules/regulations in place that would have prevented those dudes from going downrange while it was in questionable status.

Anyways, make of it what you will. Perhaps it will help, perhaps not.  Again, no need for credit.  If it does make the page; I’m happy to have helped you and the site and the cause.  If not, I hate you and your ass face. j/k

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41 Responses to Question of the Day: Why Does America Have Better Gun Safety Than the Developing World? [Video NSFW]

  1. That video is just wow. Interesting how the instructor (who had just taken a photograph when the shot went off) looked like she switched her camera into video mode and started taping, before hurrying out of the room.

    Ryan, your intoxicated ramblings are amusing, but on point.

  2. all that wasted bourbon, and I never got ePublished. I want my mommy….

    The only range I have been to where they allow people to walk on the range was outside. But they had a range master, and nobody was allowed on the firing line at the time. period.

    • Same with my range in Memphis. When the line is cold you are either downrangeor behind a line three feet from the benches. Guns have actions open and flagged. No touching anything until the line goes hot.

  3. Did someone say “cavalier”?

    Cavalier is a dangerous state of mind when using a firearm.

    Nothing said, nothing gained. Thanks for the ‘rant’ and the video.

  4. Other nations don’t have the NRA. Wasn’t their original reason for existence to teach marksmanship and proper gun handling?

    • Beat me to it. The NRA does more for saving innocent lives through firearms instruction/education/safety than DiFi could ever hope to achieve with civilian disarmament.

    • DOSAAF would be the rough Soviet equivalent of the NRA (obviously, in this case it is a government organization with a specific mission, not just a private shooters’ club).

  5. Developing Word? We probably have better safety standards they the rest of the developed world. There was an image of two armed british cops on reddit the other day with on clearly pointing his rifle at his buddy. The responses from those claiming to be british was they they were handling the weapons safely, for something you would get torn to pieces for doing similar here in the states.

    link to the post:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/1o5i8c/london_cops_with_guns/

  6. And is part of our safety attitude about firearms a self defense mechanism? It seems as though there are lawyers lurking behind every bush. We are a lawsuit happy nation and this leads those of us with somwething to lose to adopt a cautious approach.

  7. Several years ago I was traveling through Europe as a guest of a gun club on tour. I found that the range master in England was the most in control and no one dared to go near the firing line once he called a halt to all activity so that targets could be exchanged.

    While shooting at a range in Holland I witnessed a laughable now, but most distressing event at that time. The range master called cease fire, weapons down, and step back from the firing line commands. He proceeded to the targets and much to our dismay two men were at the firing line messing around with their weapons. All of a sudden one of the weapons discharged and the range master screamed and fell to the ground. Closer review showed that he had been shot in the a$$; fortunately, in the most fatty part. He survived. the shooter was arrested plus the range master was let go for failure to maintain control of the range. The next day we were back at the range with a different range master; however, the discipline on the range had not improved. Once we saw that the range was unsafe we left the range and went back to our hotel until it was time to go to the competition range.

    Personally, when I go to an open range and see that the range master does not have full control, I talk to the range manager, file my complaint, and leave immediately. Never to return to that range again.

  8. I am thankful every day that when a well site was put down back in my woods a few decades ago they inadvertently made me a great range by carving it into the side of a hill and putting down gravel over a couple of acres.

  9. I think it has to do with what psychologists are coming to call the “risk thermostat” model. Namely, we all have a certain level of risk we’re willing to tolerate, and almost certainly culture and childhood environment have a role to play in how high that thermostat is set.

    If you grow up in a society with higher rates of violent crime (as is almost universally the case in developing countries), where going hungry is a very real possibility, where in short you are subject to any number of elevated risks for an untimely death, a higher level of risk is just going to seem normal to you. This applies to everything from firearm safety to carrying 16 people in the back of a pickup truck at highway speeds.

  10. At all the ranges where I shoot, we do this crazy thing before anyone goes down range. Everyone lays their firearms on the table, unloaded, bolts locked back, then steps away. Far away. An RSO walks down the line to inspect every goddamn gun before anyone goes even an inch down range. No one gets within 10 feet of the tables/guns until the range is clear.

    Seems to work pretty well.

    • We do the same thing at my gun club, which is private, although anyone can join. The difference is that there is no range master, nor is one needed. Granted, I’ve never seen more than five of the positions (out of about 20) in use at one time. Members police each other and do a good job.

      During competitions of any sort there are always RO’s who will DQ you for breaking the rules.

    • We do the same, but took it a step. Every current member at my Sportsman’s Club is a trained Range Safety Officer, and each new member must complete the approved RSO course prior to joining.

      • Not all that better… that’s like saying an English major can proofread his own work. True, he’ll probably do a better job, but not as good as someone who is independent and has the only job of doing it…

        • Come to my range and see how well it works. One RSO is acknowledged, and everyone knows the rules.

    • We do the same plus one step.

      Everyone is required to have a chamber “clear” indicator shoved into the chamber.

      It’s a simple piece of red plastic that sits in the chamber and sticks out of the firearm.

      This makes visual confirmation of a clear weapon very easy.

      -ted

      • We do this too. A short piece of weed trimmer string or a zip tie is all that is needed. I believe this is now mandatory at NRA sanctioned matches.

  11. Here, in Canada, we have had a huge influx of third world gangbangers, who whip out pistols to settle scores, and often slaughter bystanders in the process. Google “Jane Creba” to read one example.

    • Adam,

      our gangs here in the Good Ol’ USA insist on rigid firearms discipline and laser-like marksmanship in their dealings with each other.

      They’ve been known to fire from a moving vehicle in a maneuver called “the drive-by”, taking out only their mark in a crowd of innocents. It is truly something to behold.

  12. Yes, the we have a gun safety culture second to none. America has a vibrant gun culture that emphasizes safety above all else. At least 1/3 of the population are active in shooting sports. We learn gun safety at an early age.

  13. Wait, somebody actually pulled the trigger during an acidental shooting? The gun just didn’t go off? Also, what RSO puts anybody, much less a child, on the firing line while people are downrange? Not that the kid is blameless, but dammit, you have to expect children to have the thoughtlessness of children.

  14. “We (Americans) are a gun culture, no doubt about it,”

    I disagree.

    We (Americans) are a culture of Liberty, and Liberty’s indispensable corollary–individual responsibility. Or at least we were, once. Individual responsibility is the answer to why we have so many guns and why (historically) we are (were) more responsible with them.

  15. At the ranges I frequent, they not only would have checked the weapon, but that stupid little turd would not have gotten ten steps from the shooting station (without getting yelled at).

    Just poor, poor range safety displayed in that video.

    Sad.

    • That’s what I was thinking when I first saw it. Still think it might have been more “accident” than accident.

  16. Agreed that Americans “relatively speaking” are better with gun safety (always an exception to the rule and we all know of one). I first learned this in College when I was at Mizzou (Tigers #14 in the Nation!) and went trap shooting in beautiful Columbia, MO. with guys from all over the world (Russia, UK, Serbia, UAE, Kenya) all of which would naively and routinely sweep me with their respective shotguns. The thought of having 12G pointed in my direction was nauseating and I advised them of such.

  17. I keep telling my friend that this is what will ultimately happen if he continues to date Russian woman on the internet.

  18. Why Does America Have Better Gun Safety Than the Developing World?

    Because in the developing world, life is cheap so nobody gives a damn.

  19. Maybe because most of us were indoctrinated into the gun culture by a father, uncle, or father of a friend who when the topic of gun safety came up was capable of being really, really scary. I remember asking my best friend – whose father was a cop – when we were maybe 10, why he never touched his dad’s service revolver (this was long ago) and he answered, “because if I did he would kick me to death.”

    I believed him, even more so when that scary father of my friend introduced me – with my parent’s agreement – into the gun culture.

  20. Other nations don’t trust themselves to have a round chambered, so they seem to assume there’s not one in there. They don’t follow the 4 rules, not even Israel. The vast majority of them never fired a gun prior to joining the military, and it shows.

  21. I’ve found the level of safety can vary greatly from range to range. Here are some examples from the ranges I have used in my area.

    My main range. 100-400 metres with firing points every 100 metres from the buttstop.
    Bolts out unless you are at the firing point or the bolt cannot be removed without tools in which case it is locked back.
    Range officer MUST be present.
    Firearms must be inspected before removal from the firing point. In practice times, another person MUST clear the rifle. In competition your rifle will be inspected TWICE before you leave the firing point (commands are “Cleared Once” and then “Clear To Remove” after magazine and chamber inspections).
    Magazines can be used but must be empty before leaving the firing point.
    If there is a safety issue firearms are grounded immediately!
    If there is a changeover of target markers, no firearms on the firing point.

    Basically, the range is safe with simple common sense instructions that are not overbearing on the shooters.

    Sporting Range 1 (Indoor Bechrest)
    Your standard 25 and 50 metre indoor range with electric target winders.
    Aside from the amplified noise levels of an indoor range, this range is fine. You can use magazines. Rifles must be cleared by a range officer before leaving the firing point. Also good for load development and base-line zeroing. The only downsides are the cost (about twice the above outdoor range) and too many noobs. But as a plus, because I know the people who manage the range, they let me do standing practice in the bay, with the only restriction I cannot touch the dividers.

    Sporting Range 2 (outdoor benchrest)
    Run by a different faction of the group that runs the indoor range, and if there was ever a bunch of stereotypical Fudds, here they are. The range has 50, 100, and 200 metre centrefire benchrest. 25 and 50 metre rimfire. Separate pistol shooting facility. The backstop is an old quarry with a 30 metre cliff wall.

    The good point is that they changeover targets every 30 minutes and rifles are removed from the bench and placed in a rack behind each bench. In this time you cannot touch a firearm.

    The bad points.
    * The benches are covered, which is good, but they have a baffle that extends down in front of the shooter to limit where they can shoot. While this does limit the incidents of “stray bullets”, it also means the muzzle blast is directed right back in your face. If you didn’t have a flinch before, you will have one when you finish.
    * Their supposed range officers or safety officers do NOT clear rifles being removed from the firing points or the facility. I had to ask, and then insist, on a safety officer clearing my rifles.
    * No magazines! Period! This rule was originally created when self-loading rifles were available and they didn’t want the public image issue of rapid fire. I personally think this rule should be scrapped as it’s intended use is irrelevant. Actually there are two exceptions. (1) From rifles that have to be chambered from the magazine (eg: Mausers) you can put ONE round in the magazine. (2) You can load and fire up to 5 rounds but you will have a range officer and safety officer standing over you while you shoot. I’ll admit to ignoring the rule. If you don’t fire too fast, no-one will know. The idea of going to a range is to also check the functioning of your rifle. There is no point having a very accurate rifle that won’t feed from one side of the magazine.
    * Insane caliber restrictions. This range has banned the use of .338 Lapua Magnum but allows other calibers that match or exceed .338 LM’s performance. Not a problem for me but I think it is crazy.
    * The road to the range is so bad you are risking damage to your car going to the range. Replacing the front steering rack after going to the range was not a pleasant follow-up. I’ve heard since then the local council has graded the road and it is much improved.

  22. I usually shoot at established ranges, an outdoor and indoor. The indoor is pistol/.22LR only doesn’t have a RSO, but with individual lanes and target runners I’ve never felt the need for one. I must fit the OFWG stereotype because every time I’m there some noob jams their gun and asks me to fix it. Even so, I’ve never witnessed any unsafe behavior by the noobs or the experianced.

    I find that even at the same range, YMMV. The outdoor pistol range has 2-3 RSOs and opens every 15 min to check targets. Usually the RSOs are great and the range runs smoothly. Once I saw an obviously deaf and probably tired RSO close the range and commence firing with someone still down range, over the objections and antics of other RSOs and shooters.

    Then there was this weekend. I rarely go to the “free” range. But a bunch of people I know were going shooting and there was going to be a good assortment of guns i will never be able to afford or shoo. It would be a diversion from punching holes in paper and I was excited. I brought the wife and 2 yr old as well. I’ve never witnessed so many violations of safe firearm handling. The highlights: 1. Rocky ground and backstop. 2. Imaginary firing line would drift, sometimes putting people a foot or in front of or behind other shooters. 3. There are laser shows, and then there was the poor muzzle control exhibited. 4. There were 2 instances where a car needed to drive around us and hikers came over the ridge of our back stop. Both times it was like herding cats to get people to cease fire.
    5. Some one shot straight up in the air… while people were downrange.

    Needless to say, I won’t repeat that experience. I would like to ask the AI: if you are shooting with a (largish?) group, do you designate a RSO even if it’s not on a formal range? I think from now on I will insist on it or am I being anal?

  23. I’m one of the few gun folks among my circle of friends, which means I take new people shooting fairly often. Often, this means Chinese people from China who’ve never shot a gun before. My observation is that generally, the less Americanized they are, the less safe they are.

    Try 1: fair young lady in her senior year of undergrad who, as it turned out, gets frightened by the noise and only popped off a couple shots out of the XD.

    Try 2: dear old mum and dad, who’ve been living in the states for >20 years and were perfectly fine.

    Try 3: married couple who did their undergrads in China and got their graduate degrees here. Very good about following my and Range Officer’s instructions. As a plus, the wife is a naturalized US citizen, and is thinking of getting one last I spoke with her, so I suppose I’ve done my part for the community.

    Try 4: son of state-owned enterprise executive, just arrived to start a grad degree. Took him to an indoor range, where he promptly managed to muzzle me with a loaded but not chambered XD when he picked it up as I was loading the other mag and turned around to show his girlfriend, cueing me to immediately drop what i was doing, grab his wrist, and point it up and back downrange. And then second time, at an outdoor range, I was at the line loading up the 10/22 when I turn around and notice that he had taken the Mosin off the rack and was taking aim. Cue me doing highly exaggerated “STOP AND PUT IT BACK” hand motions as the Range Officer walks up and admonishes him to, well, stop and put it back. On the whole he struck me as the kind of armchair military fanboy that you see lurking about on the internets and thus all he knows about guns is that they’re feckin’ awesome at blowing stuff up, kinda like Nick Frost’s character from Hot Fuzz. Ignorance is scary, indeed. Privately, that is also the last time I go to the range with him (at least, with him alone. His parents are decent business partners and I probably wouldn’t mind taking them clay shooting at least)

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