View Full Version : What should I do about unsafe shooters?

January 28, 2000, 09:47 AM
I shoot at a public range in South Dakota in a town called Farmingdale. The range is really 3 hills that have had shooting pits hacked into them with heavy equipment. It's on National Park land.

The only thing posted anywhere is "close the gate" and "don't enter when wet". Some local shooting organizations (I don't know which) created two concrete table and stool combinations at the 100/200/300 meter marks at one of the pits. Needless to say, this pit is always busy, with cars waiting for people to finish behind where the shooting is.

Invariably, the shooters (usually a Dad with kids) start shooting weird. There is a fence 15 feet left of the left table (I am on the right normally). While Dad shoots the deer rifle downrange from a benchrest, the kids are behind him to his left, firing .22's and pistols at a can on the fence post. 200 yards past the post is a small rise and the the range approach road.

We have actually seen some guys wife go downrange, WHILE WE WERE SHOOTING, to put a can on the fence post and pistol shoot at it. Her kids were doing the same BEHIND the table, and I guess she wanted some room.

What do I do in these situations? What would YOU do? Would you correct this "Dad"? My wife and I got nervous enough to buy a club membership in Deadwood/Lead (1.5 hour drive) to avoid going to the local range. Now if we go to the public range, we get there just as the sun is breaking horizon. Oz

Ricky T
January 28, 2000, 10:21 AM
Ozzie, I would politely inform the dad that I'm uncomfortable with their activities. And if they still continue to behave in an unsafe manner, I would just pack up my stuff and leave in a hurry.

George Hill
January 28, 2000, 11:05 AM
Call an emediate Cease Fire as soon as you seen that. Be firm but not overbearing and let them know what they are actually doing. I bet they may not even realize what they are doing - and it would be very sad for a fun family outing to turn into a tradgedy.

Ozzie - Do me a HUGE favor. Get some posterboard, some plywood, and some stuff called MODGE PODGE or something like that from an arts/crafts supply store.
Make up a simple basice SAFETY RULES sign, and use the modge podge stuff to adhere it to the plywood and water seal it. Get your cordless driver and screw/nail that sign someplace visible and not likely to draw fire. Make that sign from the care of TheFiringLine.com - and if they have any questions - they can ask me.

If a club or group was allowed to make "improvements" to public land, I dont think anyone would object to a simple safety reminder.

This is for the children... :D

"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." - Sigmund Freud

January 28, 2000, 01:21 PM
Ditto what George said!!!

You can't go wrong with the 3 basic rules.


January 29, 2000, 10:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>You can't go wrong with the 3 basic rules.[/quote]


Which one doesn't apply...

1 - All guns are always loaded.
2 - Never let your muzzle cover any thing your not willing to distroy.
3 - Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.
4 - Know you Target, whats in front of it and whats behind it.

Remember all of those and you won't have a problem. Forget one and you could be screwed.

GySgt, USMC(Ret)
NRA Life, Lodge 1201-UOSSS
"Si vis Pacem Para Bellum"

Caeca Invidia Es
January 30, 2000, 06:16 AM
That just scares me, and is also why I prefer to go out in the middle of nowhere where I can be all alone to do my shooting. As well as putting up a sign with the 4 rules on it, you could offer to teach a few basic safety rules to anyone that is unfamiliar with firearms. Just a thought.

"Freedom has always existed in a very percurious balance. And when buildings stop blowing up, people’s priorities tend to change..." Enemy of the State

January 30, 2000, 09:13 AM
I think George Hill's idea may be a pain in the butt, but not a .22 calibar pain in the butt. I'm going to put that sign up. The range is inaccesable right this moment due to snow, but the first clear weekend I'll pick a spot and then the next I'll post the sign.

I will attribute the sign to TFL (of course I'll get a picture when I'm done). I have seen many variations on the 4 rules. What wording, precisely, should the 4 rules be? I'd hate to get that part less than perfect.

January 30, 2000, 09:36 AM
Lots of good suggestions on how to improve behavior on informal ranges here.
My basic rule is to always leave if anyone at one of these places makes me uncomfortable for any reason. Once and a while this does happen. Better safe than sorry.

January 30, 2000, 10:40 AM
Not to be a smart a$$, but be sure to put the sign in a spot that has a safe backdrop. You know deep in your heart that the sign is destined to become a target :(

January 30, 2000, 10:15 PM
"Three?? Which one doesn't apply..."

Gunny, I agree with your rules, but the current NRA pub, 'The Basics of Pistol Shooting' lists only three as fundamental:


Verbatim quote: Ch. 3, pp21

1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

3. Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

Guy B. Meredith
January 30, 2000, 10:51 PM
For the sake of that mother down range, make sure you mention the 180 degree rule.

Mal H
January 30, 2000, 11:02 PM
My Dad used to tell me the most dangerous gun in the world is an unloaded gun. In my opinion the law that "All guns are always loaded." covers the situation much better.

January 30, 2000, 11:18 PM
Don't mean to get too far off topic, but Mal brings up a good point.

If there's one thing that I can't stand, it's when someone (in particular, my roommate) asks me "Is it loaded" when I hand them a firearm. I always tell them "Check for yourself."

www.geocities.com/shootinbulldawg (http://www.geocities.com/shootinbulldawg)

January 30, 2000, 11:34 PM

When I hand someone a revolver the cylinder is open, if a pistol the magazine is removed and the slide locked back. I assume you do the same. Still, I have been asked if the gun is loaded. I think what the person is really saying is that they are unfamiliar with the operation of the firearm.

January 31, 2000, 12:39 AM
Thanks for the NRA information, jeffelkins. I really like Schmits' 4 rules though, as they cover my big issue with these shooters: shooting in an unsafe direction. I think #2 and #4 may be logically redundent, but #4 really gets you thinking if your not , and they're not. I wish there was a rule that says "only shoot your gun into the dugout." or maybe "shooting your weapon into the parking lot or approach road is prohibited!" ;-)

Does anyone know where the 4 rules come from? A military organization or another shooting organization? Which rules (set of 3 or set of 4) are most appropriate for an "official" looking sign? It's going to say "Courtesy of TheFiringLine.com" after all. Ops, maybe I should run that by Rich first...?

Oh, I figured a location that won't draw much fire, so now I just have to get the materials. It's on the wood post fence right by the gate (gate=piece of wood with 3 wires attached stretched over gap in fence). A park service sign is there as well and it doesn't have holes in it.

[This message has been edited by Ozzie (edited January 31, 2000).]

Mal H
January 31, 2000, 12:43 AM
Those 4 come from Col. Jeff Cooper. Look up .... further .... just a little further ... right there. It's the button at the top called "Firearms Safety".

January 31, 2000, 12:45 AM
In Homer Simpsons voice "DOH!"

January 31, 2000, 01:37 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ozzie:
Thanks for the NRA information, jeffelkins. I really like Schmits' 4 rules though[/quote]

So do I. I had a big problem with the NRA rules as taught. Their 'fundamental three' and the entire safety section of the 'Basics' book need a rewrite AFAIC.

February 1, 2000, 06:07 AM
South Dakota is a big state there must be other places one can shoot. I'm not sayin i would run if i were you but i would be passing a few that were.

Fear a government that fears your guns

February 1, 2000, 06:54 AM
Thanks Mel... Yes Dear Friends, The Four Rules of Firearm Safety are attributed to none other the LtCol "Jeff" Cooper, aka "The Guru".

If these rules are followed, even if you have a mechanical malfunction with a firearm it will cause no damage. All these stories you hear about Negligent Discharges that cause damage, you can review them and find that at least one (if not more) of those rules were broken.

As for the NRA rules - When I was instructing Personal Protection Classes I had my students disregard those and replaced them with Coopers. The NRA Rules IMO leave loop holes that could be dangerous.

GySgt, USMC(Ret)
NRA Life, Lodge 1201-UOSSS
"Si vis Pacem Para Bellum"

February 1, 2000, 10:50 PM
As was said above. Keep the 4 rules in mind. If you mistake and violate one the others may save you.