If you are a current gun owner or interested in becoming a first-time owner, it’s important that you always prioritize your safety (and the safety of those around you) first. Regardless of how familiar you are with this equipment and its standard use protocols, it’s important to review and follow the safety basics. Here are seven things to keep top of mind:
1. Act like the gun is loaded at all times.
For a new gun owner, this might seem a little dramatic—but this rule is actually one of the most important to adhere to. If you always act like a gun is loaded, you’ll be less likely to point it in an unsafe direction. You should also keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
2. Store the gun in a safe location.
When your gun is stored in a proper location, you significantly reduce the chance of an emergency or tragedy. While you may know how to handle a gun, others in your home may not. There are a variety of ways to safely store your firearms or prevent an accidental firing from trigger locks to gun cases, strong boxes, security cases, locking steel gun cabinets, or gun safes.
3. Always wear protective gear.
Protective gear can serve a variety of purposes when handling a gun. While some clothing may prevent injury or harm (i.e., bullet-proof vests) other articles are helpful to identify yourself in an active hunting area (i.e., bright orange sweaters). Depending on your environment, it may also be important to wear goggles or ear covers while shooting.
4. Keep a first aid kit available and stocked.
As a gun owner, you need to be prepared for any emergency. Though many accidents or injuries are preventable, you never know what will happen—and you don’t want to be caught without an adequate first-aid kit. To go the extra mile, consider enlisting in a first aid training class to help you better understand how to use the items in the kit and what to do in an emergency.
5. Know your surroundings and target location.
Awareness is one of the best preventative measures against accidents or emergencies. When shooting outdoors, make sure that you’re aware of other people, animals or equipment that may be in the area. Have a clear path to your targets and communicate with others in the area before firing. If you’re not sure about your surroundings, don’t shoot, and wait until you feel confident that it’s safe before proceeding.
6. Maintain your gun’s condition.
While you don’t have to be an expert gun repairman to own one, you should plan on getting your gun serviced regularly. Do not attempt any upgrades or modifications on your gun by yourself. Always seek professional guidance when it comes to maintenance and upkeep.
7. Attend an educational firearms course.
In addition to receiving any necessary licenses or certifications to own a gun, it’s always a good idea to take a course from a professional marksman to help you get acquainted with the equipment. These experts can help you not only perfect your form but reinforce these safety principles in the process. Over time, these protocols will start to feel completely second nature!
Remember, when using a gun, you need to prioritize safety over everything else.