This is a public service announcement. These are the rules of firearm safety. Follow them, and your chances of an accident are close to zero:
(1) There is no such thing as an “unloaded” gun. When people assume otherwise, that accounts for almost all accidents. Whether it is a basketball player shooting his chauffeur, or a man shooting himself in the head while teaching his girlfriend firearm safety, the rule is the same: THE GUN IS LOADED! That means ALWAYS TREAT IT THAT WAY!
(2) Always point the gun in a safe direction. That means (a) point it at the target downrange, or (b) point it at an object you would not mind seeing destroyed, like public school textbook, or (c) point it at the bastard who just broke into your house. But please DO NOT POINT THE GUN AT YOUR HEAD!!!
(3) Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot! Many a cop has blown his foot off, by grasping the trigger while pulling the gun out of the holster. That is very bad juju.
(4) Know your target, and what is beyond your target. Every year, a deer hunter fires off a high-caliber round, probably a .308 or .22-250–which misses the deer, travels a couple miles, goes through a window, and kills someone in their own home. Such hunters need to be prosecuted, as they should know better. This fourth rule is often called the “backdrop rule”. This is why most responsible gun owners use hollow-point ammunition. Beside the fact that hollow-points have better stopping power, they also minimize the risk of “overpenetration”: where the bullet hits the bad guy, goes through him, exits his body, and hits the poor 4-year-old standing behind him.