In two recent law enforcement involved shootings, officers unintentionally discharged their firearms under very stressful situations. Though the discharges may have occurred during felony or high risk situations, a police officer cannot discharge their firearm unless they deliberately intend to do so under lawful guidelines of Constitutional and Statutory authority. This type of negligent discharge emphasizes the need to enforce the Cardinal Rules of Firearms Safety, and to increase/enhance firearms training for officers.
Law enforcement and reputable firearms instructors should emphasize the Four Cardinal Rules of Firearms Safety. The words of these rules may differ slightly across the nation, but their overall content does not.
Four Cardinal Rules of Firearms Safety
- Treat every firearm as if they were loaded.
- Point your firearms in a safe direction — one where an unintentional discharge will cause NO HUMAN INJURY and, at most, minor property damage (AKA “the laser rule”).
- Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard, indexed along the frame or slide until you are on target and have decided to fire.
- Be sure of your target/threat, backstop, and beyond.