Those of you that have taken a hunting safety course or a handgun class will find this information familiar. For those of you that have not been educated on gun safety, please review these rules and put them into practice regularly to help ensure the safety of yourself and others around you.
- Always treat your gun as if it's loaded - When handling a firearm always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
- Read your manual - Firearms manufacturers offer valuable information for individual characteristics of their firearms and their proper use and maintenance. Read through the literature, and gain a full understanding of your gun before operating.
- Inspect your firearm to be sure that it is safe to operate - Proper cleaning and storage are necessary to assure your gun is safe to shoot. Check for damage or obstructions in the barrel before operating or loading your gun. If you are unsure that the gun is safe to fire, seek the advice of a competent gunsmith before use.
- Always use the proper ammunition for your gun - Loading your weapon with incorrect ammunition can result in a catastrophic failure. Be sure to double check the ammunition you intend to use match the markings on the barrel, receiver, or manual.
- Know what you are shooting at - Each time you take aim always be certain of your intended target, and what is in front of it and beyond it.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot - Your trigger finger should be kept straight and rested above the trigger area until your target is acquired and you are prepared to shoot.
- Never use alcohol or drugs before or while handling a firearm - This includes over the counter and prescription drugs. Altering your perception, vision, or reaction time is a terrible idea when handling a weapon. The results could negatively affect your future by harming yourself or someone else.
- Store your guns properly - Most newly purchased guns come with a trigger lock or other devices to make them inoperable. Use these devices to keep your firearm out of the hands of children and other unauthorized users. Gun safes and lockable gun racks are also good options to keep your gun secure and safe from unforeseen damage.
- Wear eye and ear protection - Prolonged exposure to the loud firing of guns can cause damage to your hearing. The use of earplugs or shooting muffs can greatly reduce this exposure. Shooting glasses will provide protection against debris, ricocheting fragments, and ejected casings.
- Clean your firearm - Even guns that have been in storage for long periods of time without use should be cleaned before firing. Dust, dirt, and solidified grease and oil can prevent the gun from operating properly.
- What to do if your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled? - Hold your shooting position for several seconds just in case of a delayed discharge. A slow count to ten can help aid in timing your shooting hold. If the gun doesn’t fire, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and carefully unload the gun.
- Don’t rely on the gun’s safety - Mechanisms can fail and although it is good practice to always use the safety until you are ready to fire, it should not be used as a substitute for proper handling.
- Never point your gun at anything you do not intend to shoot and destroy.
Help keep yourself and those around you safe by always practicing these simple rules of gun safety.