Safety and Training

Put Down the Gun Before You Down the Brew

Man holding a camo shotgun in the field

Always the first Monday in September, Labor Day is a nationally recognized federal holiday enacted by Congress in 1894. It is a day we all pay homage to the hard-working Americans who contribute to democracy, economic stimulation and stability—the strength of our country.

Picture shows a close-up of a beer bottle over a charcoal grill with steaks and hotdogs.
Before enjoying doing this, lock up the guns

Started by union leaders, to celebrate the first Labor Day, 10,000 workers in New York City took the day off unpaid and marched from city hall to Wendel’s Elm Park for a picnic, music and speeches.

Saying goodbye to summer, we use the day now to spend time with friends and family at the lake, celebrating with brews and barbecues. It is also the weekend dove season opens in many states. A lot of us will choose to shoot over Labor Day weekend. Do me a favor—let us all vow to shoot and drink responsibly, but not together, okay? Labor Day is the second biggest beer holiday in the United States, which means it is also one of the deadliest on the roads. By all means, relax with a cold one, but first lock the gun up and put the keys away.

As you enjoy the fruits of your labor on your coming holiday—be it practicing you’re self-defense drills, sighting in your rifle, or breaking in that new Browning on doves, please do your shooting before imbibing. Guns and alcohol do not mix.

Here’s Why

1. Alcohol impairs your judgment All guns are always loaded. Accidental discharge of a firearm after drinking is one of the leading causes of gun injuries: usually during gun cleaning or while showing a gun to a friend. We all know that before taking your gun down to clean or if showing it to a friend, you check, recheck and check again to make sure it is unloaded. Even after just one drink—with a blood alcohol level of 0.03%, which is under the legal limit of 0.08%—your judgment may be impaired.

Are you sure that gun is unloaded? 2. Alcohol impairs your fine muscle coordination, balance and movement Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. The fundamentals of pistol shooting include grip, stance, trigger control, and sight alignment. Kind of hard to get all those right when you can’t stand up straight, get your finger properly placed on the trigger or hold the gun firmly.

Will you be able to operate the safety? What if your finger slips before you’re ready to pull the trigger?

This picture shows a man hunting a bird with a camo shotgun.
Do your hunting in the morning, so you can relax with a cold one in the evening.

3. Alcohol impairs your vision Know your target and what is behind it. At just over the legal limit, at a blood alcohol content of 0.09%, there is a delay in your reactions and you may get blurry vision or see double. At this point, you will not be able to judge distance correctly. Your depth perception might be way off.

Can you see your target clearly? Have your three dots sights turned into six? 4. Alcohol impairs your impulse control (lowers inhibitions) Never let the muzzle cover something you are not willing to destroy. Responsible gun owners need to keep control over anger and emotions. Especially if you conceal or open carry. Part of the pact you sign, sometimes literally and other times figuratively, is not allowing a situation to escalate where you will need to draw your gun. Alcohol can create unstable emotions and lower your inhibitions. According to Massad Ayoob CCW permit holders are held in a “higher standard of care.” Conduct yourself as such.

5. In over half of the states, shooting a firearm while intoxicated is illegal No matter how innocent the situation started out—plinking your empties after just a couple—or just shooting a few rounds through to let your brother-in-law get a feel—things can turn tragic in an instant. Lock it away after hitting the range or field if you are going to drink on Labor Day.

CheaperThanDirt! wishes you and yours a happy and safe Labor Day.


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