There are more than 393 million guns in circulation in the US. With so many guns in every state and city, how can Americans stay safe around weapons?
If you’re around guns, work with guns, or have guns in your home, the best way to stay safe is to follow the 4 rules of firearm safety. The basic rules of gun safety should be followed by every shooter or gun handler.
To learn more, keep reading to find the four primary rules of firearm safety—plus, a bonus rule.
1. Treat All Guns as if They’re Loaded
One of the golden rules of firearms safety is to treat every gun and weapon as if it’s loaded. No one handling a weapon should differentiate between a loaded or unloaded gun when it comes to handling it safely.
The reason being is that, sometimes, there is no way of knowing if a gun is loaded or not—so you should always treat it as if it is.
Accidental firings or mistakes are more common than you might think, and you’re putting your own life and that of others at risk if you don’t handle them with caution.
Never wave a gun around in a joking manner or treat it without the seriousness it deserves.
It can be easy to get into bad habits when it comes to guns, so always carry and maneuver guns in a safe manner. If you’re ever unsure about the right way to use a new type of gun, it’s always fine to ask someone more experienced for help.
2. Don’t Point Guns at Anything You Aren’t Willing to Destroy
Another of the four rules of firearm safety is to never point a gun at something you’re not willing to destroy. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction and be aware of your surroundings.
Whether loading, unloading, cleaning, or setting your gun down, always be aware of what is around you and point the weapon away from yourself and others.
If you haven’t fired a gun in a while, but are thinking of getting back into the challenge of shooting on a range, taking some classes can help.
Over the course of a day or several days, you’ll learn from a firearms expert and get a refresher course on best practices around guns. To get started, we recommend Googling ‘gun safety classes near me’ to find a qualified instructor in your area.
Gun safety classes are available for both children and adults, and for everyone from complete beginners to experienced marksmen.
3. Don’t Touch the Trigger Unless You’re Ready to Fire
The next rule of gun safety is simple but important—never touch the trigger of the gun until you’ve made the decision to fire and are ready to do so.
Your trigger finger is also your safety finger, so the only time you should touch the trigger is when the gun is pointed in the right direction and you’re 110% sure that it’s safe to fire.
Every gun is different, but some guns have very delicate triggers. This means it can sometimes be very easy to set a gun off, even if you’re not meaning to.
When unloading a gun, never point it towards something that a bullet could ricochet off from, such as a wall or window. Guns can sometimes accidentally be discharged when unloading, so take extra caution to avoid bullets bouncing off a wall and causing injury.
4. Know What’s Behind Your Target
As a responsible shooter, you need to pay extreme caution to your surroundings. When you’re ready to shoot your target, you need to know not only what’s near your target, but also what is behind it.
Never shoot at a target outside or in a shooting range unless you can be sure that there’s nothing behind it that could potentially be shot by accident, such as another person, an animal, or another building.
No one has a perfect shot all of the time, so anything near or around your target could be hit in error when firing. Always ensure no one is near or behind your target before you make the decision to shoot.
Children should also learn how to behave around firearms and should always be closely supervised whenever guns are around.
A 5th Bonus Tip
As soon as you start learning about firearms, you should learn about proper storage techniques. Ideally, all firearms and weapons should be stored in a safe place, such as a gun cabinet, that only you have access to.
The cabinet should be kept locked and secure at all times.
Children, guests to your home, and even other relatives should not have access to the gun closest until they’re gone through proper firearm training.
Stay Safe with the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety
By following these 4 rules of firearm safety, you can stay safe for years to come. Always keep the four tips in mind whenever you’re handling firearms in order to keep yourself and those you love free from injury.
Gun safety is a lifelong habit that you should get into the practice of from the first time you handle a gun.
To learn more, we recommend joining a local gun club. It’s one of the best ways to shoot regularly and keep your skills up to scratch. Plus, you’ll meet other like-minded individuals.
Get started today and always shoot with care and patience.
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