Staunch gun rights advocate Ted Cruz is here seen holding a shotgun while being interviewed by CNN. Can you see what he’s doing wrong? That’s right, he’s violating the first two rules of gun safety.

Update: This says it all really.

When you learn to shoot, apply for a hunting or carry license and any time you’re at a gun range, there’s four basic rules of gun safety that — and this is impressed on you very strongly — must be observed at all times:

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  1. Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
  2. Never point a firearm at something you’re not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Properly observed, these rules are almost entirely capable of preventing accidental shootings. And I can’t emphasize how thoroughly they are drilled into shooters both as they’re learning and as they visit any gun range, gun store or participate in any organized hunt.

I asked local hunter and lifetime NRA member Scott Nathan to explain what he sees in this video:

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“While his action is visibly open, he is still not in control of muzzle direction. In a break-action gun [as Cruz is carrying here] the muzzle should always point down.”

You can see buildings and people in the background — presumably other hunters — being swept by Cruz’s muzzle as he speaks.

Carrying your break-action gun over-the-shoulder is an accepted form of carry. It’s a comfortable way to hold a heavy gun as you walk and can be done safely, if the action is open and the muzzle is pointed at the ground in front of your feet. Here, I’m doing just that as I hike up a hill in pursuit of turkeys. With the photographer behind me, my muzzle is pointed in a safe direction.

Photo: Corey Hass

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And here’s what a proper shoulder carry looks like from a different angle:

Photo: Ben Godwin for Minimums.

With an unknown number of people in front and presumably to his sides, the best way to carry his gun in this particular case would be to hold it sideways, low and pointed down.

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So what’s the point? As such an outspoken gun rights advocate, Cruz should also consider himself an ambassador for gun safety, particularly when choosing to make a national TV appearance while carrying one.

“He’s either a poser who doesn’t really hunt, or just a blindingly dangerous nincompoop,” concludes Scott. “He’s got moves like Cheney.”

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