Two recent tragedies involving the irresponsible discharge of firearms easily could have been avoided if the individuals handling the devices had followed one simple rule.
Dec. 22, according to Holmes County Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly, a man cleaning his muzzle-loading rifle shot the gun into the air, accidentally killing a 15-year-old Amish girl driving a horse-drawn buggy more than a mile away.
Rachel Yoder was shot in the head that night while traveling to her home in Wayne County.
A similar incident occurred early Sunday in Florida, when a family was sitting outside about 1 a.m. watching fireworks and a 12-year-old boy collapsed.
At the hospital, doctors discovered the boy had sustained a gunshot wound from a bullet that entered the top of his head. Sheriff's detectives say he apparently was struck by celebratory gunfire falling from the sky.
In both incidents, the first rule of firearm safety was violated: Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. This means the gun is pointed so even if it were to go off, it would not cause injury or damage.
Also, in both cases, the person discharging the firearm failed to follow another cardinal rule: Know your target and what is beyond.
Supporters of the Second Amendment face enough challenges to the right to keep and bear arms due to senseless violence involving firearms. They don't need gun owners acting just plain senseless.