The Four Rules of Safe Gun Handling


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Claude Werner, The Tactical Professor has given permission to share this article.

“When talking about gun safety, we need to be careful about taking our subject matter knowledge for granted, especially nuance. Each of the Four Rules has a given amount of unstated subject matter knowledge inherent in them. I have had this discussion before and I continue to maintain the following: telling people with little experience four sentences and expecting 100 percent positive results is ridiculous.”

The Tactical Professor is Claude Werner. His background combines extensive work in the military, self defense training, and white collar financial services communities. This eclectic experience base gives him a view of self defense equipment and techniques that is more attuned to the needs of people with median lifestyles than some segments of the industry.

The Four Rules of Safe Gunhandling
When practicing, always follow The Four Rules of Safe Gunhandling. Gunhandling is just as important as marksmanship, but many people are careless about the way they handle firearms, which can result in death or serious injury.
While the following is NOT all inclusive of the implications of the Four Rules, it is a starting point to allow shooters to think about the proper way to handle guns safely.
The Four Rules of Safe Gunhandling
1) Treat all guns as if they are ALWAYS loaded.
a. If you treat all guns you see and handle as if they are loaded, you will never have occasion to say: “I didn’t know it was loaded” after the gun goes BANG! when you didn’t want it to.
b. Among knowledgeable gunhandlers, anytime a firearm discharges at anything other than an intended target, the incident is called a NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE (ND). This is because 99.9% of unintentional discharges are caused by NEGLIGENT gunhandling on the part of the shooter.
c. The term “accidental discharge” (AD) is only used for incidents that occur when an internal part of the gun breaks and allows the gun to discharge without the shooter causing the discharge. Accidental discharges are exceedingly rare; remember,
d. 99.9% of unintentional discharges are caused by NEGLIGENT gunhandling on the part of the shooter.
e. The good news in this is that almost all unintentional discharges are preventable by proper gunhandling.
f. The first thing you should do when picking up a gun that you THINK is unloaded is to CHECK to see if it is indeed unloaded. Doing this immediately displays to those around you that you understand the fundamentals of safe gun handling and are not ignorant of proper safety procedures. If you do not know how to properly check the status of a gun, DON”T TOUCH IT until someone knowledgeable demonstrates for you the way to check it. No properly trained person will be offended by your double check of the status of the gun. Anyone who would object is an ignoramus and dangerous, leave the area IMMEDIATELY; eventually that person will experience an ND and you don’t want to be there when it happens.

2) Never point a gun at something or someone you don’t want to be shot.
a. While this rule seems elementary, it is easily violated. This is the reason that the vast majority of gunshot wounds are self-inflicted.
b. Remember that when handling a gun, YOU, and only you, are TOTALLY responsible for where it is pointed. Be conscious of where the muzzle is pointed at all times when you are handling a gun. Think about how you are going to move a gun before moving it.
Copyright © 2015 by Firearms Safety Training LLC All rights reserved.
c. In many cases, you will have to choose between pointing the gun at an inanimate object, such as the floor, or pointing the gun at a person; always choose the inanimate object, never point the gun at a person.
d. Don’t point a gun at any part of yourself, either. Your extremities, particularly feet and hands, are easy to unintentionally point guns at. Handguns can point at the non-firing hand; rifles and shotguns are easily pointed at the feet.
e. Do not walk around any firing range with your gun in your hand. This is an obvious indication of someone who is unskilled in gunhandling and most likely an unsafe gunhandler. It is almost impossible to casually walk around with your gun in hand and not point it at your own feet or the feet of others. Own a holster for your pistol and use it on the range.
f. Skeet and trap shooters sometimes have small accessories that are made specifically for resting the muzzle of a shotgun on the toe of the shoe (“it’s not loaded” – see Rule #1). These devices are an abomination to gun safety and should be avoided at all costs.
g. When drawing a handgun from a holster or opening interior doors in the home while holding a handgun, it is very easy to sweep the muzzle over the non-firing hand. Watch the police reality shows on TV to see how often this happens even to trained police officers. A close range discharge to the hand will frequently result in the hand being permanently crippled, don’t let it happen to you.

3) Keep your finger above the trigger guard until you are ready for the gun to fire.
a. Due to mass media influences, most people will immediately place their finger on the trigger of a gun when picking it up. This is a terrible habit and immediately marks the person doing it as someone who is ignorant of how to properly handle firearms.
b. The proper place to put the trigger finger is on the frame or slide of the gun above the trigger guard as far up as you can move your finger. This place on the frame or slide is referred to as the “register position.” Placing your finger there is known as “being in register.” Handling a gun in this manner will display to those around you that you know how to safely handle a gun.
c. When the decision to fire a shot is made and the gun is indexed at the intended target, you may then place the finger in the trigger guard and on the trigger. This takes no more time than having the finger insider the trigger guard. Fire the shot and, unless you are going to immediately fire again, take the finger out of the trigger guard and consciously place it back in register.

4) Be sure of what you are shooting at and what is behind it.
a. If you own a gun for home defense, you should keep a flashlight right next to it. If you require corrective lenses to see, put your glasses on before getting your gun and flashlight. You must ALWAYS identify a target before shooting it. NEVER shoot through doors or at shadows or at anything that you have not POSITIVELY identified.
b. Keeping your gun in the nightstand next to you is frequently not a good idea. You need to be awake before handling a gun. Keeping a gun under your pillow, tucked between the mattress
Copyright © 2015 by Firearms Safety Training LLC All rights reserved.
and box spring, or ON the nightstand is almost certainly a BAD idea, for a number of reasons, both safety and tactically related. The best plan is to have the gun a few steps away from the bed so that you will be reasonably awake by the time you pick it up.
c. Bullets will frequently go through multiple layers of building materials. Do not consider any interior wall of your home as bulletproof; almost certainly, it is NOT. Many exterior walls are not either. Be aware of the location of all your family members in your home when handling a gun. Floors and ceilings are seldom even bullet resistant, much less bulletproof.
d. Do not shoot faster than you can get the sights on target, even at a formal shooting range. You are responsible for the impact of every single round you fire, no matter where you are. Missing the target and hitting target stands, target holders, lights, etc. will most likely cost you extra money to repair the damage, build bad habits, and mark you as a doofus who can’t even hit a target.

In addition to the Four Rules, always store firearms so that they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.

DISCLAIMER: Firearms Safety Training LLC does NOT give legal advice. You should seek competent legal advice if you own a firearm for self-defense. Discuss the legal ramifications of firearms and self-defense with a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in CRIMINAL LAW in your local jurisdiction. Law, both statutory and common, regarding self-defense varies widely from one area to the next, and is constantly changing. Only accept legal advice on firearms and/or self-defense from the POLICE or OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES OR OFFICIALS if it is in writing on official letterhead signed by a sworn senior supervisory official of that department in his or her official capacity or a current official document of that department bearing the department’s insignia and signed by the current head of the department (Chief of Police, Sheriff, or Special Agent In Charge). Verbal (not in writing) advice from law enforcement personnel may be in error and will have NO standing in a court of law.

Safe Gunhandling Rules


There are several sets of rules regarding safe gunhandling. All the sets of rules emphasize the concerns of their originators. However, many similar things are said but stated in different ways.

Which set of rules you choose to use is less important than picking a set and following it scrupulously. Firearms are instruments of ultimate personal responsibility and can be very unforgiving of even a moment of carelessness. Gunhandling is just as important as marksmanship, but many people are careless about the way they handle firearms, which can result in death or serious injury.

The National Rifle Association’s set. Link

The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s set. Link

Glock has its own set. Link

Like most competitors in the Action Shooting Sports, I use The Four Rules originally developed by Jeff Cooper. Lists of more than three or four items are difficult to memorize, so I still prefer them. There are…

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The First 4 Hours – Your MAP


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The creation of many different websites, blogs, and Facebook pages dedicated to encouraging female shooters and support of the 2nd amendment is a great testimony to the increased involvement of women in a gun society that has always been dominated by men.  This is a big step for women, and I am very pleased to see things changing in this way.  That being said, this fact also raises some serious concerns in my mind.  These concerns are not unique to women, but also apply to the gun owning community in general.  But today my focus is on the female gun owners or those considering the purchase of a gun.

Since the inception of my Women and Guns blog, (and subsequent training school), I have always placed great emphasis on personal safety and planning.  Without proper training and preparation, the gun can be a dangerous tool to employ in any emergency.  Simply put, “The gun does not keep you safe.”  This statement is repeated at the beginning of every class I teach.  This is often met with a look of confusion on the faces of many of my students.  After all, they paid their registration fee and showed up for class to “learn how to shoot”, with thoughts of possessing a gun as being the much needed solution to all of their personal and home safety needs.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

When dealing with any threat, whether it be created by mother nature, or initiated by a human with criminal intent to harm you , proper preparation in advance of the event has been proven to be the most effective way to survive and minimize damage.  Preparation is the most effective tool.  As instructors, these skills should be the first and most important skills taught to current and future gun owners – before encouraging women to buy, shoot and carry guns. (Gun retailers will surely hate me for making this statement.)  Oh well.  I could write an entire article on the manner in which gun store employees conduct themselves.  Maybe another time.

The First 4 Hours of every class I teach is spent on awareness, observation skills, avoiding violence, and developing and implementing home, automobile and personal safety plans with the goal of preventing violent criminal confrontations.   I refer to this as their MAP. (I would prefer more hours be spent on this subject).  

As instructors, these skills should be the first and most important skills taught to current and future gun owners – before encouraging women to buy, shoot and carry guns.   

Most, if not every student that has made the decision to take a gun class has done so because they no longer feel safe.  Some have already been victimized, other’s are hoping to avoid becoming a victim.  Some simply state they feel it is time.  They may have husbands with a safe full of guns at home, none of which they have ever touched.  It is not unusual to meet students that are realtors, live alone, or have husbands that are currently deployed.  More and more seniors, (often widows), are coming to class.  Their safety and the safety of their loved ones’s is the number one reason they have decided to buy or learn to shoot a gun.  I am grateful they have made the decision to take a Basic Handgun Class.  I am also aware their first class should not be their last class.  Sadly, this will be the case for many women. Not only in my classes, but in other classes across the country.  The reasons are many: financial, not enough time, not a priority, and others.  We can’t force people to seek out additional training.

With rights come responsibilities.  Including instructor responsibilities – you are responsibly for the consequences of the advice you give.  A gun is a great equalizer in the hands of a trained woman.  It can also be a tool to do great harm to innocents, (including the gun owner), should it not be handled and stored correctly.  Common sense is not a given.  No one is born knowing how to safely handle, operate, store and employ a gun in every situation.  (Guys, that includes you.)  Anti-gun supporters will use every negligent incident to further their cause. 

This is why it is so important to teach these women the skills of Mindset, Awareness and Preparation.  I refer to this skill set as their MAP.  With a good MAP, you will know where to go and how to get there.  Should things ever get to the point of needing the gun, maybe, just maybe, a basic knowledge of gun operation learned in a basic gun class will be enough.  I would much rather see a women be able to avoid a violent criminal encounter by employing their MAP skills, than having to use deadly force to stop her attacker.  Wouldn’t you?

To learn more about personal safety, self defense and firearms training classes, go to our website at




Contingency plans


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Guns are the Contingency Plan. Never forget that. Proper planning may prevent you from needing to go to the gun. But, if the gun doesn’t work, you better have a contingency plan for that as well. Excellent information as usual from the Tactical Professor.


Watching the end of The Bridge Over the River Kwai last night, something occurred to me. There should have been a contingency plan that if the British Major Warden fired the two inch mortar, it was the signal to blow the bridge early. Granted, that would have removed much of the Hollywood drama but it’s food for thought, nonetheless.

Situations and operations don’t always go according to plan, which is why it’s good to have contingency plans. Going to guns is actually a contingency plan. When we display or fire our weapons, it means that our plan to follow our other priorities has failed. In my particular case, those other priorities are Avoid (barriers are a component of Avoid) and Escape.

Even if we find it necessary to use force to resolve an issue, we need to have contingency plans, both technical and tactical. Malfunction clearance drills and reloading…

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Traveling? Know the laws.



Originally published at NRA-ILA

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

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Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law. To determine the applicability of these laws to specific situations which you may encounter, you are strongly urged to consult a local attorney.


Federal law does not restrict individuals from transporting legally acquired firearms across state lines for lawful purposes except those explicitly prohibited by federal law to include convicted felons; persons under indictment for felonies; adjudicated “mental defectives” or those who have been involuntarily committed to mental institutions; illegal drug users; illegal aliens and most non-immigrant aliens; dishonorably discharged veterans; those who have renounced their U.S. citizenship; fugitives from justice; persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence; and persons subject to certain domestic violence restraining orders. Therefore, no federal permit is required (or available) for the interstate transportation of firearms.

Many states and localities have laws governing the transportation of firearms. Travelers must be aware of these laws and comply with legal requirements in each jurisdiction. There is no uniform state transportation procedure for firearms. If in doubt, a traveler should carry firearms unloaded, locked in a case, and stored in an area (such as a trunk or attached toolbox) where they are inaccessible from a vehicle’s passenger compartment and not visible from outside the vehicle. Any ammunition should be stored in a separate locked container. Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 44 s926A


A provision of the federal law known as the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, or FOPA, protects those who are transporting firearms for lawful purposes from local restrictions which would otherwise prohibit passage.

Under FOPA, notwithstanding any state or local law, a person is entitled to transport a firearm from any place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry it, if the firearm is unloaded and locked out of reach. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm must be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console. Ammunition that is either locked out of reach in the trunk or in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console is also covered.

Travelers should be aware that some state and local governments treat this federal provision as an “affirmative defense” that may only be raised after an arrest. All travelers in areas with restrictive laws would be well advised to have copies of any applicable firearm licenses or permits, as well as copies or printouts from the relevant jurisdictions’ official publications or websites documenting pertinent provisions of law (including FOPA itself) or reciprocity information.  In the event of an unexpected or extended delay, travelers should make every effort not to handle any luggage containing firearms unnecessarily and to secure it in a location where they do not have ready access to it.


As soon as any firearm is carried on or about the person, or placed loaded or readily accessible in a vehicle, state and local laws regarding the carrying of firearms apply. If you seek to carry or transport firearms in such a manner, it is advisable that you determine what the law is by contacting the Attorney General’s office in each state through which you may travel or by reviewing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Guide (available online at or by calling NRA-ILA at 800-392-8683). You may also wish to determine whether the state issues any necessary permits to non-residents and how to obtain one, if available. While many states require permits to carry usable, loaded firearms on or about one’s person, some will not issue such permits to non-residents.


In most states, firearms may be transported legally if they are unloaded, cased, and locked in the automobile trunk or otherwise inaccessible to the driver or any passenger. The exceptions to this rule apply mainly to transportation of handguns and so-called “assault weapons.” The myriad and conflicting legal requirements for firearm transportation through the states make caution the key for travelers of which you must consult local law.

If you travel with a trailer or camper that is hauled by an automobile, it is advisable to transport the firearms unloaded, cased and locked in the trunk of the car. If your vehicle is of the type in which driving and living spaces are not separated, the problem becomes one of access. If the firearm is carried on or about the person, or placed in the camper where it is readily accessible to the driver or any passenger, state and local laws regarding concealed carrying of firearms may apply. It is recommended, therefore, that the firearm be transported unloaded, cased, and placed in a locked rear compartment of the camper or mobile home, where it is inaccessible to the driver or any passenger.

Generally, a mobile home is considered a home if it is not attached to a towing vehicle, and is permanently attached to utilities, placed on blocks, or otherwise parked in such a manner that it cannot immediately be started up and used as a vehicle.

Once you reach your destination, state and local law will govern the ownership, possession, and transportation of your firearms.


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has established specific requirements for transporting firearms and ammunition in checked baggage on commercial aircraft, including the following:

All firearms or ammunition must be checked with the air carrier as luggage or inside checked luggage. Firearms, firearms parts, and ammunition are prohibited from carry-on baggage. Firearm parts include barrels, magazines, frames, and other internal parts of a firearm.

Gun owners are strongly encouraged to double-check all baggage, even when not traveling with firearms.  This is particularly important if bags also serve as range bags or are used to transport firearms and/or ammunition at other times. Inadvertently leaving ammunition or a firearm in a carry on bag will result in serious delays at security points and potential civil or criminal penalties.

All firearms and/or ammunition must be declared orally or in writing in accordance with the air carrier’s procedures. Civil and criminal penalties may be applied for failure to declare a firearm in checked baggage.

All firearms must be unloaded.

The firearm must be carried in a hard-sided container. The container must be locked and only the passenger may retain the key or combination.

All checked baggage is subject to inspection. If during the inspection process it is necessary to open the container, the air carrier is required to locate the passenger and the passenger must unlock the container for further inspection. The firearm may not be transported if the passenger cannot be located to unlock the container. If you are traveling with a firearm, pay close attention to airport pages and announcements. If requested, provide the cooperation necessary to inspect your firearm.

Ammunition is prohibited from carry-on luggage. Ammunition must be transported in the manufacturer’s packaging or other packaging suitable for transport. Consult your air carrier to determine quantity limitations and whether the ammunition must be packed separately from the firearm. Because the level of training among airline personnel varies widely, passengers would be well advised to bring printed copies of firearms rules from both TSA and the particular airline being used. For further information, visit

Finally, the United States Department of Justice has issued a written opinion that federal law protects airline travelers with firearms, assuming: (1) the person is traveling from somewhere he or she may lawfully possess and carry a firearm; (2) en route to the airport the firearm is unloaded and inaccessible from the passenger compartment of the person’s vehicle; (3) the person transports the firearm directly from his vehicle to the airline check-in desk without any interruption in the transportation, and (4) the firearm is carried to the check-in desk unloaded and in a locked container.

Otherwise, travelers should strictly comply with FOPA and with airline and TSA policies regarding firearms transportation, avoid any unnecessary deviations on the way to checking in their baggage, be well acquainted with the firearms laws of the jurisdictions between which they are traveling, have any necessary permits or licenses ready for inspection, and have copies of relevant provisions of current law or reciprocity information printed from official sources.

Special advisory for New York & New Jersey airports: Despite federal law that protects travelers, authorities at JFK, La Guardia, Newark, and Albany airports have been known to enforce state and local firearm laws against airline travelers who are passing through their jurisdictions. In some cases, even persons traveling in full compliance with federal law have been arrested or threatened with arrest. FOPA’s protections have been substanially narrowed by court decisions in certain parts of the country, particularly in the Northeast. Persons traveling through New York and New Jersey airports may want to consider shipping their firearms to their final destinations rather than bringing them through airports in these jurisdictions.


A person may possess an operational firearm in a national park or wildlife refuge if the individual is in legal possession of the firearm and if possession of the firearm is in compliance with the laws of the state in which the park or refuge is located. Rules in various state park systems vary, so always inquire first.

A separate federal law, however, continues to ban the possession of firearms in “federal facilities,” including those within national parks and wildlife refuges.  The National Park Service interprets this provision broadly to prohibit firearms not only in buildings (such as visitor centers, ranger stations, and administrative offices) but also in other areas that are regularly staffed by federal employees (such as developed caves and gated outdoor performance areas). National Park Service officials have indicated that all prohibited locations will be posted with signs.

Title 36 Chapter 1 Part 2 s2.4/ Title 50 Chapter 1 Part 27 s27.42


While FOPA applies in every United States jurisdiction, experience has shown that some jurisdictions provide particular challenges to those transporting firearms. Knowing the local laws of such places is particularly important and may make traveling through them easier. The following states are known to have especially strict and complicated gun control laws and travelers should consult the state laws directly, along with local law enforcement and states’ attorneys general resources for detailed information.

CALIFORNIA—California has extensive state and local regulatory schemes over firearms and ammunition. For more specific information, please contact the Department of Justice Firearms Bureau at (916) 263-4887, or at

HAWAII—Every person arriving into the state who brings a firearm of any description, usable or not, shall register the firearm within three days of the arrival of the person or the firearm, whichever arrives later, with the chief of police of the county where the person will reside, where their business is, or the person’s place of sojourn. For more information, visit

MASSACHUSETTS—Massachusetts imposes harsh penalties on the mere possession and transport of firearms unrelated to criminal or violent conduct. Prospective travelers are urged to contact the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau at (617)660-4780 or the State Police at for further information.

NEW JERSEY—New Jersey has highly restrictive firearms laws. The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that anyone traveling within the state is deemed to be aware of these regulations and will be held strictly accountable for violations. Revell v. Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, 10-236

From New Jersey State Police regarding transporting firearms through the state:

NEW YORK—Use extreme caution when traveling through New York with firearms.  New York state’s general approach is to make the possession of handguns and so-called “assault weapons” and “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” illegal and then provide exceptions that the accused may raise as “affirmative defenses” to prosecution in some cases.  NY Penal Code s. 265.20(12), (13) & (16).

A number of localities, including Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Suffolk County, and Yonkers, impose their own requirements on the possession, registration, and transport of firearms. Possession of a handgun within New York City requires a New York City handgun license or a special permit from the city police commissioner validating a state license within the city. Even New York state licenses are generally not valid within New York City unless a specific exemption applies, such as when the New York City police commissioner has issued a special permit to the licensee or “the firearms covered by such license are being transported by the licensee in a locked container and the trip through the city of New York is continuous and uninterrupted.” Possession of a shotgun or rifle within New York City requires a permit, which is available to non-residents, and a certificate of registration.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Use extreme caution when traveling through Washington, DC with a firearm. The certificate requirement for possession of firearms and ammunition does not apply to non-residents who are “participating in any lawful recreational firearm-related activity within the District, or on [their] way to or from such activity in another jurisdiction.” To qualify for this exception, a person must, upon demand of a law enforcement officer, “exhibit proof that he is on his way to or from such activity” and that the person’s possession of the firearm is lawful in the person’s place of residence. The person must also be transporting the firearm from a place where the person may lawfully possess and carry it to another place where the person may lawfully possess and carry it, the firearm must be unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition may be readily or directly accessible from the automobile’s passenger compartment, or if the vehicle does not have a separate trunk, the firearm or ammunition must be kept in a locked container.

Canada has very strict laws governing the transportation and possession of firearms. Please visit the U.S. Embassy in Canada’s website for more information before traveling:

Lawful use and possession of firearms in Canada requires the possessor to be licensed and the firearm to be registered. Nonresidents may meet these requirements in either of two ways. The first is to complete a Non-resident Firearm Declaration prior to arrival at the point of entry. Declarations are valid for 60 days but may be renewed free of charge before expiration. The second method is to apply for a five-year Canadian Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) and then, once the PAL is obtained, register the firearms in Canada.

In addition, Canadian law establishes three broad classifications of firearms: “non-restricted,” “restricted,” and “prohibited.”

A person may not enter Canada with prohibited firearms, which include: (1) a handgun with a barrel length of 105 mm (approximately 4.1 inches) or less; (2) a handgun capable of firing .25 or .32 caliber ammunition; (3) a rifle or shotgun that has been altered so that its barrel length is less than 457 mm (approximately 18 inches) or its overall length is less than 660 mm (approximately 26 inches); (5) automatic firearms (including those converted to fire only as semiautomatics); and (6) certain firearms specified by model (and their variants), including AR-15s (as well as .22 rimfire clones), AKs, various semi-automatic shotguns, Intratec TEC-DC9s, UZIs, Steyr AUGs, FN-FALs, and numerous others. Also prohibited is the importation of so-called “large capacity magazines,” which generally means any magazine for a semiautomatic centerfire rifle that holds more than five rounds or any magazine for a handgun that holds more than 10 rounds.

Restricted firearms include any non-prohibited handgun; a non-prohibited centerfire rifle with a barrel of less than 470 mm (approximately 18.5 inches); a firearm that can be fired after being folded, collapsed, or otherwise reduced to a length of less than 660 mm (approximately 26 inches); and other models designated by law. These require an Authorization to Transport (ATT) in addition to the Non-resident Firearm Declaration or PAL.

Limited amounts of ammunition may be imported.

All firearms must be transported unloaded. Non-restricted firearms left unattended in a vehicle should be locked in the vehicle’s trunk, or if the vehicle does not have a trunk, locked out of sight in the vehicle’s interior. Restricted firearms must be rendered inoperable during transport by a secure locking device or locked within an opaque container that cannot readily or accidentally be broken open during travel. Canadian officials recommend using both of these measures for restricted firearms, as well as removing the bolt or bolt carrier, if applicable.

Information and forms governing all of these requirements may be obtained from the Canadian Firearm Program (CFP) website at or by contacting the CFP at 1-800-731-4000.

Mexico severely restricts the importation of firearms and ammunition, and violations are likely to result in harsh punishment. The United States Department of State and Mexican tourism officials have strongly cautioned U.S. citizens visiting Mexico to leave their firearms at home.

Limited exceptions apply for the purpose of hunting. Because foreign hunters in Mexico must be accompanied by a licensed Mexican hunting guide, anyone planning to hunt in Mexico should contact his or her outfitter for information on import requirements.

Importation of firearms or ammunition into the United States requires a permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unless the traveler can demonstrate that the firearms or ammunition were previously possessed in the United States. One way to do this is by completing Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Form 4457 with your local CBP office before leaving the United States. A bill of sale or receipt showing transfer of the items to the traveler in the United States may also be used.

Note: In the United States you have constitutional protections both against unreasonable searches and seizures and against compelled self-incrimination. Although the authorities may search anywhere within your reach without a search warrant after a valid stop, they may not open and search closed luggage without probable cause to believe evidence of a crime will be found, particularly when it is in a locked storage area or trunk of a vehicle, unless you consent. You have a right not to consent. Furthermore, although you may be required to identify yourself and produce a driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of automobile insurance, you have a right to remain silent.

Save the Children in Your Neighborhood with Five Minutes a Day.

This is an interesting idea. Someone needs to do something to keep the children safe.


Online trainingDear school board member,
(Dear state legislator,)

I was lied to.  We were promised that students would be safer once we made it illegal for honest adults to carry guns on, or near, a school campus.  Well that promise sure didn’t work.  The US Department of Justice reports that almost all the active shooter incidents took place in “gun-free” zones.  A quarter of those incidents took place in our schools.  That is unacceptable.

Now we know better.  We learned that police usually arrive too late. The police are involved in stopping mass murderers at schools only 30 percent of the time.

Other states took real steps to solve this problem.  What is your safety plan to protect our children at school?

I hope you will address this issue when the board meets.
(I hope you will address this issues when the legislature reconvenes next year.)

Awaiting your reply,


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Pink is the New Orange


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New York is the third state to allow hunters to wear solid or patterned fluorescent pink attire for safety.CreditLegendary Whitetails

Pink is the new orange for young hunters in New York, who can now wear the color for safety under an updated law that advocates said was meant to attract more women and girls to a sport dominated by men.

The law previously required junior hunters — 14- or 15-year-olds — and their adult mentors to wear a shirt, jacket or cap with at least 250 square inches of solid or patterned fluorescent orange visible in all directions. The change allows them to wear solid or patterned fluorescent pink instead of the traditional blaze orange.

The new law, which went into effect on July 21, was part of a broader movement to get women involved in hunting, said Bill Gibson, legislative vice president for the New York State Council.

Similar legislation enacted this year in Wisconsin was criticized as sexist and playing to gender stereotypes. Sarah Ingle, president of that state’s Women’s Hunting and Sporting Association, told National Geographic that the change felt “demeaning” to women.

There was little sign of that concern in New York. The bill was sponsored by Senator Patty Ritchie, a Republican from Oswegatchie. A memo with the legislation said that by offering young hunters a color choice, “more women may be encouraged to join in this time-honored tradition.”

Lin Menninger, 63, of Canastota, N.Y., an avid hunter, endorsed the introduction of pink, saying that it would make hunting “a little more inviting” for girls.

“I think the pink is awesome; even the young girls like that,” said Ms. Menninger, who has hunted in South Africa and wrestled baby elk in Wisconsin to put radio collars on them for research.

Dan Ladd, a regional vice president for the New York State Outdoor Writers Association, said that hunting depended on retaining young recruits and that if pink apparel helped, “How can it be a bad thing?”

“This whole thing with the pink is a no-brainer to me,” he added.

Nationally, women made up 11 percent of the 13.7 million people who hunted, according to federal government data from 2011. In New York, more than 51,000 of the 570,000 licensed hunters are women, according to the State Department of Environmental Conservation. The number of female hunters has increased over the past decade to 9 percent, from 7 percent, of all licensed hunters, the department said.

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, a Democrat from Forestburgh, a sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement that the updated law was important to ensuring safety and “attracting the next generation into the great outdoors.”

Though New York does not mandate that all hunters — except for the young ones and their mentors — wear bright colors,more than 80 percent of big-game and 66 percent of small-game hunters wear blaze orange, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation website. New York is the third state, after Wisconsin and Colorado, to add pink as a safety color; those states require all hunters using firearms to wear the bright colors.

Retailers have been out in front of the trend by offering more pink-colored gear, including firearms and clothing, Mr. Gibson, of the New York State Conservation Council, said.

Katie Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the outdoors-gear retailer Bass Pro Shops, said hunting was increasingly being seen as a family activity. For instance, single mothers want to learn so they can take their sons, she said.

“Some women appreciate having pink options, though many women have told us they don’t necessarily care to wear pink and are more concerned with fit and performance in the field,” she added.

Dr. Majid Sarmadi, a professor of textile science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reported that blaze orange offered a good contrast in the woods in the spring and summer, but that pink was better in the autumn because of the orange found in fall leaves.

Mr. Ladd said pink was technically as good as orange for hunting because deer are believed to be colorblind.

Ms. Menninger, the hunter, said some women find participating in a male-dominated sport intimidating.

“Actually, I think a lot of guys give off an air that they don’t want women around,” she said. “You do have these men who do not like these women shooting these guns, shooting these pistols.”

Ms. Menninger said, however, that she had seen the number of female hunters increase by “quite a bit” in her region over the past five years as more programs sought to introduce them to hunting, shooting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

Gus Van Etten, president of the Saugerties Fish and Game Club, about 45 miles south of Albany, which has about 400 members, the majority men, said, “The more young women you can draw in, the better.”

Would Mr. Van Etten, a competitive shooter who hunts occasionally, consider wearing pink while hunting? He paused and laughed.

“I think I could stick with my traditional color,” he said.

How Bullets Work



Great Article from Range365


Know what drives me crazy? When certain gun people get all cranky and attitudinal about new(er) shooters using the wrong word to describe some piece, part, or technique. If you’ve visited enough gun stores, you might have been the victim of this type of snobbery:

Joe or Jane Customer: “Hi! I need to buy a clip for my Glock!”

Cranky and attitudinal gun store clerk: “Sorry, we don’t have any Glock clips.”

Of course, the cranky and attitudinal gun store clerk knows the gun part the customer wants—a device that holds ammo in a Glock pistol—but because it wasn’t properly referred to as a magazine, he’s too snobbish to overlook the incorrect use of gun terminology.

The same thing happens with ammunition. Some people talk about buying or shooting “bullets,” while others use bigger words like “cartridge.”

The short explanation is that a bullet is just one part of a cartridge, so they’re not technically the same.

Personally, I don’t care if you call the stuff you load into your gun bullets or cartridges—I’m just happy you’re out shooting!—but in the interest of education and accuracy, it seems like a good idea to explore the whole topic and get really clear on what’s what.

And while we’re clarifying these terms, we can go a bit deeper and discuss exactly how a cartridge works and its exact relationship to a bullet.

All three are .44 Magnum cartridges, but each has a different bullet type.

Anatomy of a CartridgeA cartridge is the proper term for a single round of ammunition. A modern cartridge includes four components: primer, case, powder, and bullet.

PRIMER: The primer is where all the action starts. It’s the small round metal object located in the center of the base of the cartridge. Just like the caps for a toy cap gun, a primer is filled with a chemical compound that explodes when it’s smashed. So when the firing pin—a rod that’s driven forward when you pull the trigger—impacts and dents the base of the primer, the compound inside of the primer explodes. This (relatively) small conflagration creates a flame that is directed through a small hole and into the main body of the cartridge case, igniting the powder. (More on that in a bit.)

CASE: The case is the container that holds the powder. Think of the case as a container of sorts for all the other things that make up a cartridge. The primer fits into a small pocket at the base of the case; the powder resides inside of it; and the bullet is seated at the opposite open end of the cartridge case.

The case is the part that is flung out of your semi-automatic gun (or dropped or extracted from your revolver or bolt-action rifle) after you fire.

These are all .30 caliber bullets, yet each has a different weight and shape for different purposes.

Cases are made of brass, steel, or aluminum, though some companies are successfully making cases out of polymer, more commonly known as plastic.

POWDER: If you shake a cartridge, you’ll feel and hear something akin to sand rustling around inside. That’s the powder. Called “propellant” by gun geeks, it’s a specially formulated compound that burns really, really fast—faster than rocket fuel, or even marshmallows over a hot fire. In fact, it burns so fast that many people assume it explodes. We don’t need to get into the technicalities here, just know that this rapidly burning powder doesn’t technically explode. Rather, the fast burn creates hot, expanding gas that develops a lot of pressure really quickly inside of the cartridge.

All that gas has to go somewhere, so it follows the path of least resistance and pushes the bullet out of the case and down the barrel. As the powder burns, and pressure builds, the bullet moves ever faster down the barrel until it escapes the confines of your gun. The pressurized gases that escape the barrel just behind the bullet are what make a gun go BANG!

While we’re on the topic of burning powder, I’d like to note that we’re talking about really high levels of pressure. To put things in perspective, if you ride a spiffy racing bike, you know the tires are really hard because they’re pumped chock-full of air—somewhere between 80 and 130 pounds per square inch of air pressure. While that seems like a lot, it’s nothing compared to even a low-powered ammunition cartridge. The .45 ACP load operates at pretty low pressure compared to other handgun cartridges, and even those generate between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds of pressure per square inch! Rifle cartridges like the .223 Remington used in AR-type guns hover around 55,000 pounds per square inch. By my math, I figure that’s about 611 racing bike tires crammed into that tiny little rifle cartridge.

A disassembled cartridge. Left to right: Primer, cartridge case, powder (propellant), and bullet (projectile).

BULLET: At this point, the bullet part is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the only part of the cartridge that travels forward when you fire the gun. Also called the projectile, the bullet is what does the work downrange.

Bullets are made from different materials and come in various shapes and sizes. Most handgun bullets have a copper exterior (called the jacket) that surrounds a lead core. However, some bullets are made entirely from lead, while others might be made entirely from copper. The reason for these differences might be cost, or the desire for a specific effect when the bullet hits something.

Different bullets in the same caliber family might also be shaped very differently, depending on how you want them to behave. Rifle bullets for long-range shooting will be long and skinny, making them more aerodynamic and less affected by the wind. Self-defense or hunting bullets might be constructed in such a way as to expand when they strike their target. Match or competition bullets might get extra special attention during manufacturing to ensure that they are perfectly shaped, and each one is identical to the others. That ensures that each shot will hit exactly where it’s supposed to, assuming the shooter executes the shot the same way each time.

Primers are located in the base of the cartridge case and serve to turn the impact energy of the firing pin into chemical energy via ignition of the propellant.

In some ways, the difference between the cartridge and the bullet is like the difference between a Saturn V rocket and the command module. With the Saturn V, there’s a whole lot of stuff below the capsule that serves no other purpose other than to get those folks in the capsule to wherever they’re going. In that respect, cartridges are like rockets: they’re a collection of components that, together, achieve the goal of launching a bullet or projectile downrange.

So head to the range and enjoy an afternoon of shooting cartridges!


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