A former SgtMaj of the Marine Corps once defined leadership as: "Know your stuff; take care of your people; set the example." It really is that simple, and in my military and Agency experience, whenever there was a failure of leadership, it could be traced to a failure in one or more of those principals.
Over the past couple of years, the number of gun owners has expanded considerably. So too, have the number of accidents involving firearms. Having been at the receiving end of some excellent training over the years, I forget sometimes, that not everyone has been so lucky. There are four safety rules that will obviate just about every conceivable "accidental discharge" or accidental shooting. These rules are as applicable to the experienced shooter as they are to the first-time shooter who purchased his or her first Glock yesterday.
I've talked about these before, but they are worth repeating. Even my six-year-old knows them by memory (although you have to live them, not just memorize them).
Treat all weapons as always loaded.
Don't cover anything with your muzzle that you are not willing to destroy.
Keep your finger off the trigger until your front site is on an identified target.
Be sure of your target. Know what is behind it. Know what is around it.
Anytime there is a problem in shooting, there will be a violation in one or more of these rules.
In the following videos, we will learn from two incidents where one or more of the safety rules were not adhered to. It's important to remember that when the adrenaline is pumping we will generally act according to our lowest level of training. Keep these rules in mind whenever you are handling a firearm--starting from that first trip to the range--so that they become second nature.