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In Yavapai* did Uncle Jeff A stately shooting range decree, Where senators and belted earls, And cooks and cops and working girls, Could study weaponry (No author cited)

In 1975 Jeff Cooper founded the American Pistol Institute, “whose overriding purpose was to teach weaponcraft to law-abiding citizens and law enforcement personnel.” He also developed the Four Rules of Firearms Safety listed below:

The Four Rules

  • All firearms are loaded. - There are no exceptions. Don't pretend that this is not true. Know that it is and handle all firearms accordingly. Do not believe it when someone says: "It isn't loaded."
  • Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy. - If you would not want to see a bullet hole in it do not allow a firearm's muzzle to point at it.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. - Danger abounds if you keep your finger on the trigger when you are not about to shoot. Speed is not gained by prematurely placing your finger on the trigger as bringing a firearm to bear on a target takes more time than it takes to move your finger to the trigger.
  • Be sure of your target and what is behind it. - Never shoot at sounds or a target you cannot positively identify. Know what is in line with the target and what is behind it (bullets are designed to go through things). Be aware of your surroundings whether on a range, in the woods, or in a potentially lethal conflict.

Remember, safety is a state of mind, not mechanics! Take nothing for granted!

Author's note: I, personally, have no interest in owning or firing a gun, but I’m all for those who want to, doing so AS SAFELY AS POSSIBLE.

Poem and other information taken from : http://home.sprynet.com/~frfrog/cooper.htm 5/24/02 *Yavapai = a county in Arizona: http://www.rootsweb.com/~azyavapa/yavapg1.htm 5/24/02

See also: Hoplophobia.

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