Really that is all we are saying, maybe with the exception of double barrels, most guns are less than an inch across at the muzzle, you just have to keep that one inch pointed in a safe direction.
If this was indeed an accident, he had to break 2 rules of gun safety, actually 3
1. All guns are loaded, Always
2. Always keep guns pointed in safe direction
3. Always keep your finger off the trigger
It seems the common thread in a lot of these accidents, gun is jammed, and in trying to clear it, people move the gun around focused on the problem , rather than on safe handling, often times creating a much bigger issue than a stuck slide.
No matter what you are doing with a gun, ALWAYS be aware of that one inch on the front end