Gun Safety

Safety is essential around handguns such as these.

When you handle a Firearm, there are three important rules:

1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is one of the most important rules of gun safety. Always have the gun pointed in a safe direction. A safe direction is a direction where if the gun fired, no harm, injury or damage would occur. The key to this rule is muzzle control; always know where your gun is pointed.

2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When you hold your firearm, keep your finger along the side of the gun. Do not touch the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.

3. ALWAYS keep the firearm unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up or handle a firearm, ensure the gun is pointed in a safe direction, engage the safety, remove the magazine if it has one, and then open the action and inspect the chamber/action to confirm that the gun is unloaded. If you are unsure of how the firearm operates, DON’T TOUCH IT. Wait for someone who does know how to operate it.

When you use or handle firearms, follow these important rules:

  • Know your target and what is beyond.
    Be absolutely sure of your target and what is beyond it. Check the area around you for people or other things that you could cause damage or injury to..
  • Know how to use the firearm safely.
    Before you pick up the firearm, learn how it operates. Know how to safely open and close the action and how to load and unload the gun and/or magazine. Know where the mechanical safety is and how it operates, and know the basic parts. Remember, nothing can replace safe gun handling practices.
  • Make sure the firearm is safe to operate.
    A firearm is like a tool. It needs to be cleaned, oiled and stored properly. If you aren’t sure if the gun is safe to operate, take it to a gunsmith.
  • Use only the correct ammunition for your firearm.
    Most firearms will have the caliber or gauge stamped on the barrel. ONLY use the correct ammunition in your gun. Failure to use the correct type could damage the gun or cause grave injuries or death. Most bullets will have markings on the cartridge and the box will also have the cartridge information on it.
  • Wear ear and eye protection.
    Firearms are loud, and the noise can cause hearing damage. Guns also emit debris and hot gases when fired. Safety glasses and hearing protection should be worn when shooting or around people shooting to prevent injury to the eyes and ears.
  • Don’t be impaired.
    Never use alcohol or any drugs, whether they be prescription, over-the-counter or otherwise when handling firearms or shooting. Alcohol, as well as any substance that might impair physical or mental functions must not be used when handling or shooting firearms.
  • Store firearms so they are not accessible to unauthorized people.
    There are many factors to be considered when deciding how and where to store your firearms. The firearm owner’s situation will decide what is best. Gun safes, lock boxes, and gun cabinets all work effectively and never depend on the firearm’s mechanical safety to do the job. Mechanical safeties can fail.
  • Cleaning of your firearms
    Before cleaning your firearm, make absolutely sure that the firearm is unloaded and remove all ammunition from the cleaning area. The firearms action should remain open during the cleaning process. Regular cleaning is important to keep your firearm operating properly. You should clean your firearm every time it is used and wipe it down every time it is handled. Proper gun maintenance and cleaning can extend a firearm’s life and help maintain its value.

A firearm that has been stored for an extended period of time may require extra cleaning. Moisture and dust can accumulate on it, and grease and oil can harden and dry, keeping the firearm from operating properly.

I encourage everyone to find a Gun Safety Training Course in your area. The NRA has many types including the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe© program for kids in the age ranges of preschool through third grade.

There are many types of firearms, shooting sports and competitions and each one will have unique safety rules and requirements. Your local shooting range will also offer safety classes and training.

Be safe out there!