California’s Six Basic Gun Safety Rules in Spanish

Following up on yesterday’s post of Yamil Sued’s translation of Col. Jeff Cooper’s four rules of firearms safety into Spanish, I dug around a bit more and found English and Spanish language versions of California’s Firearm Safety Certificate Study Guide. The study guide includes California’s SIX basic rules of gun safety.

Firearm Safety Certificate Study Guide, Office of the Attorney General, California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms, January 2015 , p. 4.

As you can see, to Cooper’s four rules California has added:

5. Know how to properly operate your gun

6. Store your gun safely and securely to prevent unauthorized use. Guns and assumption should be stored separately.

Rule #5 seems unobjectionable. The first half of Rule #6 also seems uncontroversial, but does not have to do with gunhandling, per se, which the gun safety rules are designed to address.

The second half of Rule #6, by contrast, is something I have heard many people outside of gun culture advocate; but I rarely hear people inside Gun Culture 2.0 recommend this. In fact, I don’t know if I have EVER heard someone from Gun Culture 2.0 recommend storing guns and ammunition separately.

In any event, the California Department of Justice has also translated these six rules into Spanish:

Certificado de Seguridad de Armas de Feugo Guia de Estudio, Office of the Attorney General, California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms, January 2015 , p. 4.

Although it was published over 2 years ago, the Spanish version of the study guide has a clear error that has gone uncorrected. California’s fifth rule of firearm safety should read in Spanish:

5. Sepa cómo operar su arma en forma apropiada.

I will pass this correction on to the Bureau of Firearms and see what response I receive.

BACKGROUND: As you may know, California requires any person who acquires a firearm to have a Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) (with some exceptions). To get an FSC, you have to pass a written test on firearm safety administered by DOJ Certified Instructors. For an additional $25, I took and passed the test when I attended an NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home class in the San Francisco Bay Area a few years ago. The study guide discussed above provides the basic firearm safety information covered in the test.


  1. I suppose #6 just ensures that a thief or disgruntled family member will have to work a little harder to find ammo.

    But I thought the 6 rules in California were:
    1. Don’t own a gun.
    2. If you do own a gun, don’t own an “assault rifle”.
    3. If you do own a gun, make sure it has a magazine w/ ten rounds or less.
    4. Be prepared for gun laws to change tomorrow. Esp. if we forgot to change them yesterday.
    5. Handguns are evil. We try to disallow as many models as we can. Choose from what we can’t figure out how to ban.
    6. Don’t own a gun.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. David you’re definitely pro-gun, right? How do you reconcile the conclusions of research from people like Donahue and Hemenway and still be pro-gun. I think I’ll always be pro-gun, but that research just doesn’t sit well with me. What about the risk assessment of owning a gun? I would think that since the vast majority of people don’t get hurt by their guns, it would follow that guns aren’t very risky to you.


    • Whoops. Forgot that you’re not necessarily pro-gun. Wasn’t that long ago you posted you were pro-truth. Sorry if that might have offended you in some form or fashion.


      • No offense taken. Just have too many balls in the air right now to respond right away. You probably noticed the drop off in my rate of posting recently. Hoping to get on top of things soon and be able to address your question.


  3. David, Khal, Matthew, what are your thoughts on this?(Don’t worry about the click baity title) I just would REALLY appreciate y’alls thoughts on this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have not read that article before but after a quick look, would take it with a large sack of salt. On the state level, I did not find any correlation between gun ownership and gun homicide rate when I looked at it last year (see link below and no, I am not a student of this topic so that is amateur work). Looking at the work of the Hopkins group, they are far more circumspect in their analyses as well. I saw a correlation between gun ownership and domestic homicide, which is a small fraction of homicides. Domestic violence is a serious issue in the U.S. so it would seem a reasonable hypothesis to test that if many households have guns, some households inflicted with DV and having guns will resort to gunfire. Especially if there are issues driving DV such as poverty and drugs. But the data on that is of variable quality, as David has mentioned before.

      So without diving into all these papers, which I really don’t want to do right now for a variety of reasons (for one thing, we are watching the PBS Vietnam series after work), I would question a strong correlation.

      A couple other things. Looking at this issue at the state level is absolutely the wrong metric, as there are orders of magnitude difference in violence rates between counties or even between parts of a city, holding gun laws constant. Violence is localized and looking at states is an averaging. In my link above I compared the N. to the S. side of Chicago, for example. So many factors weigh in besides gun ownership.

      Finally, guns are like cars in one important respect. When misused, either accidentally or on purpose, bad shit happens. In the interest of brevity, I’ll not elaborate. We have (order of magnitude) as many cars and guns in the US as people. Clearly, there are failure modes in both cases so seeing misuse or accidents is no surprise; we kill about the same every year with guns as with cars. The big public policy question is what are we willing to put up with, and what can we do that is not massively intrusive on individual liberty to minimize the misuse of each of these instruments?


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