I was in a sporting goods store where I overheard the clerk and the patron chatting about problems sighting in a rifle. Next thing I know the clerk has a rifle on the counter pointing into the store trying to sight in with the scope. Behind him was a vacant archery alley where the operation could have been done safely without pointing the rifle at anyone, but that is not what he did. I walked to the back of the store trying to keep aisles and merchandise between me and the rifle muzzle and quickly exited the store. I realize the chances of a round being in the chamber is very small, but because I did not check the firearm I don’t trust it and I certainly don’t trust some yahoo behind the counter. My take on it was the customer brought in the rifle with a complaint and he was trying to fix it. What if there was a single round in the firearm, or even worse, multiple rounds. If Bubba had touched that trigger you might be wondering where your daily dose of Bangers and Mash was while I recuperated from an “accidental discharge.”
Recently an instructor I mentored early in her instructor training posted one of her students had been given a firearm by a friend to look at and instinctively he racked the slide to check the chamber. Of course the person with the firearm thought the chamber was empty when they removed the magazine, but the pistol had a round in the chamber which was ejected when she racked the slide. He was thanking that instructor for drilling them on always checking the firearm to be sure it is unloaded. Had he not have had that training the event could have ended much differently.
The bottom line is each and every time you pick up a firearm you should check it to be sure it is unloaded before moving forward with whatever you planned to do with the firearm. Also you can let all those around you know and check for themselves if they desire. In the case of the store clerk he could have simply pointed the firearm down the archery lane or at a wall and I’d probably have finished my shopping experience and potentially made a purchase. As it happened I just left. I figured it you hire someone so stupid as to be pointing the muzzle in the direction of customers you do not deserve my business.