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Ryan’s Shotgun Rules

As Adopted 15 June 2006

1 You Must Say The Word “Shotgun”

You must say the word “Shotgun” to stake your claim on Shotgun. This must be
done clearly and loud enough so that the driver of the vehicle can hear you. No
variations of this word are acceptable. After you have rightfully called Shotgun, you
have exclusive rights to Shotgun for that ride. However, if the driver does not hear you
call Shotgun, it is still fair game for everyone.

2 The Deed Must Be Done Before Shotgun May Be Called

For these rules to work properly, it is essential for you to understand and accept the
concept of the “Deed.” Shotgun may only be called after the “deed is done.” Simply
stated, the deed is any activity or objective that directly precedes the ride in the
automobile. The deed can be anything ranging from a visit at a friend’s house, to a
shopping trip at the mall, to a visit to the Grand Canyon. We cannot stress how important
this is because this establishes a Shotgun-calling time frame that ensures everyone has an
equal chance of recognizing when to call Shotgun.

There is no crime greater than calling Shotgun on Monday in reference to the ride to
the concert on Friday. Some people choose to play this way, and they are fools.

3 You Must Be Outside To Call Shotgun

The best way to establish exactly when the deed is done is to define this moment as
the instance that you have left the building in which the deed took place. All passengers
need not to have exited, but the driver must hear you call Shotgun.

Some people choose to use a variation of this rule and require that all occupants be
out of the building before Shotgun can be called. This does not work. It leads to
everyone calling Shotgun at the same time and often ends in physical violence.
3.1 The Barefoot Rule
Since you must be outside to call Shotgun, some people will just grab their shoes,
jump outside, and call Shotgun before putting their shoes on. This has been deemed
“gaping,” and is not a legal procedure. You must have your shoes on, if you choose to
wear any, before you may call Shotgun.

3.2 The Re-Entry Rule

If you call Shotgun and then go back inside for some reason, you must re-call
Shotgun after leaving. After you have re-entered the building, Shotgun is once again fair
game to all.

4 When The Deed Is Outdoors

If the deed takes place outdoors, which it often does, the completion of the deed must
be agreed upon when Shotgun is called. Any major disputes over the completion of the
deed, as with any discrepancy, can be easily settled with a quick round of Rock, Paper,

4.1 The Line-Of-Sight Rule

In the situation of the deed being a hike or other extensive outdoor activity, you
may not call Shotgun until the automobile is within your sight. This rule needs only to be
used when the passengers are outside for a long time and have traveled long distances
from the car, as with a day of snow skiing or tubing.

5 Miscellaneous

5.1 Hand On Door

Shotgun can no longer be called once someone’s hand is holding the shotgun door
handle. This officially stakes their claim to Shotgun and calling it at this time is just
redundant. This is one scenario where a person does not actually have to say Shotgun to
get the seat. This rule’s importance is that no one has to be around for you to stake your
claim to Shotgun, whereas usually the driver must be present for you to call it.

5.2 Sit Down

If you manage to sit in Shotgun before anyone has called it, you keep the position
even if someone else calls shotgun after you sat down. This is very similar to the Hand
on Door rule, where you do not actually have to say Shotgun, nor does anyone else have
to be present for you to claim it.
5.3 The Balk
This rule is applied when you have called Shotgun and are waiting for the doors to
be unlocked. If you lift the handle while the doors are being unlocked and therefore
cause the Shotgun door to remain locked, then you are “voided” for that ride. At this
time, Shotgun is available for all of the other passengers to call.

5.4 Garages
If you enter a garage that is connected to a house or building without having to go
outside, then you may call Shotgun as soon as you enter the garage. This only applies to
small attached garages. Parking structures and detached garages are always considered
as being outdoors, even if they are underground.

5.5 Multiple Cars

In the situation where a group of people are traveling in multiple cars, you must
specify which car you are calling Shotgun for. For example, if the two drivers are named
Bob and Sue, then someone must say “Shotgun Bob” or “Shotgun Sue” depending on
which car they would like to ride in.

5.6 Shotgun Abandonment

If the Shotgun occupant exits the car to accomplish a deed, Shotgun becomes
eligible to the remaining passengers in the other seat(s). Once Shotgun is available, you
must call Shotgun before the other occupants. Often times there is discrepancy regarding
when Shotgun actually becomes available. Several attempts have been made to clearly
define this point, yet no truly fair rule can be applied here. For this reason, one game of
Rock, Paper, Scissors is usually the easiest way to solve the problem.

Exception: If the Shotgun rider abandoned the seat to do a deed for the driver, i.e.
purchasing cigarettes or pumping gas, that person retains Shotgun.

5.7 Other Seats

Once the Shotgun seat has been called by someone, the other less prestigious seats
in the car may be claimed using the same rules as calling Shotgun. For example, you can
say “back-right” or “back-center.” In addition, you may also negate calls such as “not
back-center” which would put you in any seat except for the back-center.

5.8 Remain Seated

If you choose to remain in the automobile while the other passengers accomplish
their deed, you may retain full rights to Shotgun. Often times, not everyone needs to go
inside when completing menial deeds. It can be abused, however, when a certain person
is willing to wait in the car for extensive periods of time in order to retain the rights to
Shotgun. This type of person is considered to be a “Shotgun Gaper.”
6 Discrepancies
If a discrepancy ever occurs, and they commonly do, over who rightfully gets
Shotgun, it is usually settled with a single game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. A common
application of this procedure takes place after two people call Shotgun at the exact same

Note: Driver has final say when a dispute arises. This power is referred to as “driver
override.” This power must be used within reason, as its abuse would defeat the purpose
of the Shotgun system altogether.

7 Exceptions
Although the Shotgun rules have been created with the ultimate fairness in mind,
there are situations where exceptions need to be implemented.

7.1 Significant Others

This is the most important exception. If a significant other is included in the group
of automobile passengers, and this person is the significant other or potential significant
other of the driver, then they get automatic Shotgun privileges.

7.2 Owner-Driver Switch

If someone is driving an automobile other than its owner, and the owner becomes a
passenger, then the owner automatically gets Shotgun. When applied, this rule shows
respect to the owner of the car.

7.3 The Long Haul

The rules listed above have been designed around the shorter trip (under a couple of
hours). For longer journeys, it is best not to use these rules because the incentives to be a
gaper are too great. Rather, you should divide Shotgun equally among those who want it
or reach some other compromise.

7.4 Shotgun Blam

Shotgun Blam is a maneuver that can be executed by anyone who is not riding
Shotgun. After Shotgun has been called, the non-Shotgun rider can “Blam” the Shotgun
rider and sit in the Shotgun seat before the Shotgun rider has a chance to get in the
vehicle. This maneuver must be accompanied by exclaiming the words “Shotgun Blam”
as this belittles the person who was “Blammed.”

Exception: Shotgun Blam does not apply if the driver owns a coupe or car with
only two (2) doors.
8 Definitions

8.1 The Shotgun Gaper

Gapers (gay-pers) are people who prioritize Shotgun much more than a normal
human being. These people will alter their usual behavior and even undermine their own
ethics in order to gain the rights to Shotgun. They do this through legal means such as
sprinting for an exit, and therefore they cannot be voided. The term gaper was originally
given to Will Henderson who once rode Shotgun for 2 months straight. The advantage to
being a Shotgun Gaper, of course, is you always get Shotgun. Being a Shotgun Gaper,
however, is frowned upon.

8.2 Voiding
Whenever you break a Shotgun rule as stated in this guide, you may be voided
from receiving Shotgun privileges for that ride. Although somewhat discretionary,
voiding automatically applies if you call Shotgun while indoors, or if you do not have
your shoes on and call Shotgun, or if you display any other blatant disregard for Shotgun
protocol. In circumstances of minor Shotgun rules infractions, voiding may not need to
be exercised. Being void only applies for the ride directly after the voiding has occurred;
and after that ride, you may regain full Shotgun privileges. Once someone has been
voided, then all of the other passengers are free to once again call Shotgun in the correct

8.3 Blam
A Blam is executed by shoving the Shotgun rider out of the way and entering the
vehicle in the Shotgun position before the original Shotgun rider has a chance to do