"I know some of you have fired a gun before and probably know all this," Atton said, as the class met at the gun range, "But tough luck. You're getting this class anyway. And later on into the semester, I'll throw in a refresher course, just to be sure."
He had a handgun laying on the table in front of him. There were a couple more that he'd checked out of the weapons locker that morning. "Gun safety," he said. "It's important, so keep your ears open. One, never put a charge - bullets, electropacks, whatever you put in there - in a firearm unless you plan to use it. If you're using a weapon that doesn't use charges, make sure the safety is on until you intend to use it. Anything less creates a risk of the gun going off when you don't expect it and hurting someone."
He picked up the gun, keeping it pointed at the floor. "Two," he said, "Never point a gun at something you're not planning to shoot. Don't let your finger linger over the trigger, either. You might think you just put the safety on and took the bullets out, so it's okay, but if you're mistaken or the mechanism fails, blam - you just shot someone."
He pushed a clip into the gun, then turned around, pointing the gun at the target in the distance. "Three," he said, "Always know what you're pointing at. I don't just mean your target, I mean make sure you know what's behind your target. Your bullets are not always going to stay in the target." He fired off a round. There was a loud thunk, and the tin can behind the paper target fell over. "Bullets can travel for miles," he said. "So you better be sure there's something on the other end that'll stop it before it hurts someone else."
Atton slid the clip back out of the gun. "Four, always use the right ammo," he said, setting it down on the table. "Or the gun might just blow up in your hand."
And nobody wanted that, class.
"Five, if your gun fails, don't treat it like a dud. It could still fire. Unload it. Get rid of it somewhere safe, or have it fixed, but treat it like it's live. Six, check the barrel before you load it. You don't want anything getting in there, even mud, or it might blow up in your hand." He showed how to use the action to open it up. "And don't stare down the damn barrel while you're checking it, unless you want to risk a bullet to the face."
Do not shoot yourself in the face, class!
"And finally, seven, guns are loud," he said. He gestured to the equipment closet. "Get some eye and ear protection if you can. Now, when you're using your gun out in the field, that's not likely to be an option. In here, though? Go."
"That's it," Atton finished. "Now those guns over there are all unloaded. I want you to get some eye and ear protection, grab a manual, and see how they tick. Keep the gun safety rules in mind."