Gun Safety

Owning a gun is an inherent American right, but possessing a firearm comes with great responsibility. It is not enough to just purchase a gun—it is extremely important to understand how to safely use a gun and employ gun safety in your home. Use the following tips to ensure that you are a responsible gun owner:

Take a Gun Safety Class

While handling and shooting a gun may seem simple in theory, knowing how to properly use a gun is a learned skill. It is in the best interest of any new gun owner to enroll in a gun safety class to ensure that he or she is fully prepared to confidently use a firearm if needed. Beginner gun safety classes typically focus on teaching students gun safety rules, how to load and unload a gun, and the basics of marksmanship and firing a firearm. Many shooting ranges and gun clubs offer gun safety classes, and new gun owners can also contact their local National Rifle Association (NRA) to learn about other local gun safety classes.

Feel Comfortable with a Gun

Most people purchase a gun as a form of protection, but in order for a firearm to serve that purpose it is very important that the owner feels very comfortable handling and shooting the gun. In the unfortunate event that a gun may be needed for self-defense, the owner of the firearm has a much higher chance of being able to successfully protect himself or herself if he or she has had ample practice handling and firing a gun. In addition to taking a gun safety class, new gun owners should spend as much time as possible at a shooting range in order to become more comfortable firing a gun and learn how to hit a target.

Always Assume a Gun is Loaded

Guns are extremely powerful, and there are too many stories each year of accidental discharges that injure or kill people. Even if you think a gun is not loaded, it is always important to respect it for the weapon it is. Depending on the type of firearm you own, there could be a forgotten bullet in the chamber that you do not know about, or another person in your household may have loaded the gun without your knowledge. Never underestimate the damage that a gun can do, and observe safe handling measures whether it is loaded or unloaded.

Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger

When handling a gun, your finger should not be near the trigger until you are actually ready to fire the gun. Keeping your finger on the trigger when you are not focused on your shot and have not evaluated the environment can result in accidental discharge that can be very detrimental.

Never Point a Gun at Yourself or Others

The muzzle of a gun should never be pointed towards yourself or others, whether it is loaded or unloaded. For the safety of everyone, always keep a gun pointed away from people when handling it.

Always Store a Gun Safely

Safe gun storage is important for all gun owners, but it is especially important in homes with children. Young children typically do not have the mental capacity to understand how dangerous a gun can be. Even if your gun is not loaded, it should never be kept in a place that is accessible to children. It is in the best interest of all parties to keep all fire arms in a gun safe; there are a number of gun safes on the market—some require a key or combination to unlock them, while more advanced gun safes employ biometrics that allow a gun owner to open the safe through his or her finger print.

Ensure That Other Members of Your Household Understand Gun Safety

Gun responsibility and safety extends beyond the person who purchased the firearm. If a gun is being kept in a home with other residents, it is important that everyone understands the basics of gun safety even if no one else plans on shooting the gun. Making the whole household aware of basic gun safety practices will help ensure that there are no unfortunate accidents that injure or kill anyone living in the house.