Sorry, I'm with myopic. Remember the first of Coopers rules, all guns are always loaded. You never know if some one brought a round into the store with the intent of using the firearms in the store to do evil.
I'll be back later to comment on the combat vet part, right now I can't get the words right to express my feelings. But I will say you're not the only one who has had a loaded weapon off safe pointed at you at point blank range in a combat zone.