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Though the weapons have changed a lot the need for firearms safety appears to have stayed largely unchanged over the past 150 years.

“The chief causes of accidents from the use of fire-arms arise from carelessness…”

Such was written in The Prairie Traveler, a  handbook for western-traveling pioneers published in 1859. It was written by U.S. Army Captain Randolph B. Marcy, a veteran of many western campaigns through what was then largely wilderness in the American west and Mexico.

The handbook carries advice on everything from picking the proper saddle for a mule to how to distinguish hostile warriors from friendly native hunters.

Marcy also writes about the importance of becoming familiar with firearms as such experience usually breeds respect and safety.

It’s interesting that he mentions the dangers of pulling a loaded firearm from a wagon, through brush or fences muzzle-first. Still a major concern, though it’s now cars and trucks rather than wagons drawn by mules, horses or oxen.

My favorite quote – “Always look to your gun, but never let your gun look at you.”

That’s great advice, no matter the century.