Handling of Firearms During a Cease Fire…

via Ry I came across this thread at ARFcom

I’m at a cease fire at the range and we have a few guys changing their targets.
One guy finished shooting and decided to case his rie and take it to his car, handling it while people are down range.
The rules of the club are if the range is cold no one touches the guns
There is no range officer as this is members only hours. I didn’t say anything to him but am wishing I had politey reminded him of the rules.
What would you have done?

The comments in that thread make me weep.  You do not handle firearms during a cease fire.  Period, end of discussion.  Now how would I react?  I have been in that exact situation.  Sadly the video of said situation the audio is washed out by the wind.  But here is a break down of what happened.

At the high intensity event 2010 the first wave shot their targets and the range was called safe.  All rifles were unloaded and shown clear.  They were instructed to ground their weapons and let them cool, or case them if they felt their rifles were cool enough to do so.  At this point we had everyone step back from their weapons, or walk off with their case.  Staff then proceeded to go down range to set up for the second wave of shooters.  I stayed behind to talk to Oleg and act as a RSO.  While talking to Oleg I see someone pick up an uncased firearm and sweep the staff down range as well as the other shooting line before bringing it vertical.  As he started to pick up the weapon I promptly started yelling to put the weapon down.  I was very vocal but evidently he couldn’t hear me.  He continued and when I finally got on top of him he realized I was yelling at him.  He continued to say he hadn’t done anything wrong or against the rules, and then attempted to claim we had given conflicting commands.  Except just prior to him shooting he had to recite the following:

    • Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
    • Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
    • Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
    • Always keep the gun in its case unless the muzzle is pointed downrange and within two feet of the shooting line.

So he walked off the shooting line with an uncased rifle.  He was handling the weapon during a ceasefire, and in so doing had muzzled a bunch of the staff.  I handed the issue over to one of the “jacketed” ROs to deal with because he seemed to think I wasn’t someone he should be listening to.

The bottom line is that the rule of not handling firearms during a cease fire is to ensure that no one is muzzled and that there is a zero possibility of human caused discharge while people are down range.  If you’re so impatient that you need to be careless about safety, get the hell off my range and don’t come back.  In the incident above, I have not seen even the friends of this individual return.  Evidently it did cause a bit of a black eye.  You know what would have been worse, just ignoring it. 

Safety is a culture and if you don’t cultivate it and make sure people are thinking about it, especially in an event like Boomershoot, the next thing we know the event is no longer happening because someone was careless.

Seriously folks, is this that difficult to understand?  For any of those of you who recently started reading my blog, these types of things make me VERY angry.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

About Barron Barnett

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.
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5 Responses to Handling of Firearms During a Cease Fire…

  1. Tango says:

    At the range, everybody is potentially an RSO. If there is an unsafe condition, cease fire is called and this means ALL FINGERS OFF TRIGGERS! Remove all magazines, open all actions, all hands away from the gun.

    period, no exceptions. If there is anybody that violates these very specific rules, they’re done. The only exception are when I teach boy scouts. At that point, all hands off guns, no touching. Period. Ever.

    When I call ‘Make ready’ then they can touch their guns again. Commence firing and they can pull their triggers.

    I’m sure they signed something when they became a member, no? That means no excuses.

  2. Old NFO says:

    Don’t disagree with you at all… I’ve seen that happen, and I promptly got to cover and as soon as the range went hot, I got my rifle cased and hauled ass (and have NEVER been back)…

  3. Boyd says:

    As a volunteer instructor at my range (members only no staff outdoor facility) I’ve seen it several times. While I always want to run, hands outstretched in the “Homer” position, and screaming “put that down” I’ve found that folks have a cognitive disonance about that. Everyone believes that they could never possibly do anything to cause that behavior in another adult. So, they naturally continue on sweeping the crowd as they pack up all 5 guns, and in the back of their heads thinking “dang, wonder who pissed that guy off”. Until you are actually in neck choking position.
    I’ve had better luck evening out my tone (yes, your voice climbs in these situations too…) and loudly repeating “Ceasefire no handling of firearms” as I walk toward the offender. It’s also perfectly rational IMHO to do that from hard cover if you can. For most folks leaving is an excellent option. If you decide to leave permanently (I have two places where I don’t go back) you really should tell management. Doesn’t need to be a bug eyed screaming telling but they need to know they lost someone for such an important reason as safety All IMO.

    • Barron says:

      I wasn’t the only one that left the range I’ve had incidents at. The range management was informed. The issues always seem to occur when the range is “self-managed”. If there’s any major event going on where the range was supplying RO’s, all was kosher. It was that guy who shows up every once in a while and doesn’t shoot regularly.

      There are three ranges I’m active with. One is an indoor, and the other two are outdoor. For the most part I haven’t gone to what is honestly probably one of the safest ranges I’ve been to merely because of commute time and it’s only open on the weekends. If it’s open it’s staffed which is why it’s safe. The other outdoor range is the range associated with the USPSA matches and there are people who use it during the week but most of the time I’m there it’s a sanctioned match so it’s done by the book.

      The indoor range always has the problems of an indoor range. I always get the right most stall and hope left isn’t shooting next to me that day. I’ve found good indoor ranges are hard to beat just because of their layout and automatic target retrieval.

  4. Wolfman says:

    Ok, here goes… I’ve BEEN that guy. No I did not muzzle anyone (nevernevernever muzzle anyone… Cmon that the VERY FIRST THING TO LEARN) but I did, once, try to leave during cold range. Gun was in the rack, muzzle up, open bolt, I tried to go. I was pounced on by about three staff members (this was a public range in phx, Ben Avery, north of town). And you know what? Good on them. See, I generally shoot on rural or informal ranges. 90% of the time, there are less than 5 people in the area, and I know all of them. I simply didn’t have the experience with a public range.I have since been to that and several others, and I learned my lesson. It hasnt happened since. So when somebody DOESN’T get jumped on, that means he didnt learn, yet; maybe the next time it will be an nd down the line, but this time it wasnt, and he didnt learn it. So yeah, Ive been the guy that tries to leave during cold range, and i survived a little embarressment. One bout of instruction was all it took; maybe this is time for him to learn a little more about range safety and etiquette.