The New Year is right around the corner. This means that drunken fools will be out in force, both on the road and with their mid-air shotgun blasts. No matter where you stand on celebratory shooting, be careful this week. We don’t want any of you dying or accidentally killing someone else.
Gotta love the feeling of double fisting a beer in one hand and a gun in the other…
I think it’s safe to say that most of us have taken a shot at the moon on the eve of the New Year at least once in our lives. Heck, I’ve done it before. Though I was a kid listening to my dad, I actually fired my old New England 12 gauge single shot into the air.
And, if I remember correctly, it was likely one of the first times I had ever shot a gun. I don’t remember having a beer in my hand, but then again, I was just barely in the double digits, age wise—so it wouldn’t have made sense for me to have one.
Knowing what I do now, I’d never discharge a weapon into the air.
Firing any gun into the air (or the ground for that matter) is actually quite dangerous and such a bad idea for so many reasons that I don’t even know where to start.
Listen, the laws of physics (or whatever they’re called, I’m not a scientist) take over. What goes up; must come down. Granted, it may not be as fast. But, even if it is traveling at 200 fps, as some experts suggest, it could be fast enough to kill someone.
In fact, there have been several instances where projectiles have gone through the roof and windows of many different houses—just missing little kids and parents by mere feet.
I know that most gun enthusiasts follow the basic safety rules, and are all about being safe at the range. Sadly, booze tends to make common sense go out the window, and Lord knows there’s plenty of liquor consumption that night.
In fact, speaking about the basic safety rules, let’s take a refresher on them just to see if there are any that are being broken should you decide to shoot the moon. Here are the ones I was taught in the Marine Corps:
- Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
- Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.
- Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
- Keep the weapon on safe until you intend to fire.
Taking it a step further, here are the rules that the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) puts on their website. These are more comprehensive:
- Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction
- Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use
- Don’t rely on your gun’s safety
- Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it
- Use correct ammunition
- If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care
- Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting
- Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting
- Don’t alter or modify your gun, and have guns serviced regularly
- Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using
When you fire your gun into the air, you violate some of these rules. The most blatant being: You have no idea what your target is and what is beyond it if you can’t even see it. I know that we’re all about gun safety, so think twice before you shoot at an unknown target.
The truth is, you don’t know where the projectile will come down. Will it be inside someone’s house? On their head? Through the roof of their car? A baby’s crib?
I think it’s safe to say that the last thing any of us want to happen is to accidentally kill or maim someone just minding his/her own business in the privacy and safety of home. If you need to play with something that goes bang, grab some firecrackers.
Firecrackers will still piss people off, draw the attention of everyone you want and the only person you risk hurting is yourself. Which, no offense, is much better than hurting someone else.
Stay safe this weekend, my friends. Now, it’s time for you to confess! Have you ever fired a weapon at the moon? If so, what kind of gun was it and how old were you?