There is a lot to know when it comes to having a firearm, one of the biggest misconceptions among new owners. Being a responsible gun owner is not something that comes naturally to many people, especially with the misinformation in movies and television on how to handle firearms safely.
Everyone should know the three rules of gun safety, which have been adopted by virtually every gun organization. Whether it is the firing range or an instructor led course, these rules will either be posted on a sign or verbally explained to you almost everywhere:
- Always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction. A safe direction is generally down range, down at the ground in front of you, or up in the air (mostly for rifles). The idea here is that your firearm is not being pointed at anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. For many people, this rule is the most difficult. It is second nature to place that finger on the trigger. Just don’t do it. The gun is not going to go off in your hands unless you pull that trigger, so until you are ready remove the risk.
- Always keep the firearm unloaded until ready to use. Sometimes this rule is a bit hard to understand. The purpose of a firearm is to shoot it, correct? Technically yes, but a firearm is not always being shot. Anytime it is not in use should be unloaded. This is especially important when handing the firearm to another person or showing it to another person. There is no reason for it to be loaded for “show and tell.”
The bottom line is that safety is of the utmost importance. There have been too many stories of accidents involving firearms, whether it was a hunting trip or kids playing at home. Many people have developed shyness towards firearms because of the stories of those behaving irresponsibly. Take it upon yourself to be safe and responsible and to hold those around you accountable.