Rule One: Treat All guns as if they were loaded. Notice I did not say the traditional - All Guns Are Always Loaded, because truly they are not. Yet, guns are useless if they are not loaded. So we always begin with the assumption that they ARE loaded. When handling the piece in an administrative manner - we first check it to verify its condition and if necessary, we unload it. We always run a hot range. If you can't be trusted with a loaded gun why are you even in class?
I couldn't agree more. I don't know how many times I've heard someone tell me some spiel about "All guns are always loaded period, and you need to know that it's always loaded in your heart" or "How can you tell if a gun is unloaded? Trick question! All guns are always loaded!"
I don't believe in trying to deceive myself, nor would that work on me.
Grant Cunningham has a similar view on rule 1
While Rule #1 logically admits that there is such a thing as an unloaded gun, it asks us to pretend that it doesn't really exist. This is important, as the rule only makes sense if the state of being 'unloaded' exists, but it implores us to make believe that such a state doesn't really exist. This situation is called cognitive dissonance: holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. It's a state of mind that humans don't tolerate all that well.
If one accepts the fallacy that an unloaded state doesn't exist, it becomes clear in the mind that the remaining three rules apply only to loaded guns. After all, the first rule says that there is no such thing as an unloaded gun; therefore, the other three rules can apply only to loaded guns, because - remember! - unloaded guns "don't exist."
[...] One of the best shooting instructors I know - Georges Rahbani - has done just that. He acknowledged the problem and dealt with the issue by eliminating what I'll call "Traditional Rule #1" from his curriculum. Instead, he teaches that any and all guns, loaded or unloaded, are treated to the same standards, which he calls The Three Commandments of Gun Safety