Gun ownership is a protected right and one practiced by many Americans. While the precise number of gun owners remains unclear, approximately 72 million Americans report ownership a gun.
Of course, people can inherit guns such as rifles from family members, that may require no permits or licenses. Given that, the actual number of gun owners is probably higher.
Of course, every gun owner should strive for the safe handling of a gun. Proper handling helps in preventing accidents and gun injuries. If you feel iffy about gun safety, keep on reading for six gun safety tips.
- Keep It Unloaded
In any given year, unintentional shootings account for around 500 deaths in the U.S. and dramatically more injuries. Loaded guns aren’t directly responsible for all of these injuries and deaths. They do, however, often play a role in the injuries and deaths.
As a general rule, the only time you should load your gun is when you plan on using the gun in the immediate future. So, for example, if you head out to a firing range or head out to go hunting, it makes sense to load your gun then.
Beyond that, you should leave your guns unloaded. Yes, this doesn’t prevent someone from loading a round into the gun. It goes a long way toward preventing someone from finding the gun, pulling the trigger, and unintentionally firing the gun.
As an added safety precaution, you should keep your ammunition in different place than you keep your gun. Again, this doesn’t prevent someone from finding it, but it does make it more difficult for someone to make a tragic mistake with the gun.
2. Always Assume a Gun Is Loaded
No matter how careful you are about unloading your gun after each use, it always pays to assume that every gun is loaded at all times. After all, there is always the possibility that, just this once, you forgot to unload it.
You also can’t know for sure that someone else unloaded a gun before they handed it to you. Let’s say you go to your friend’s house to see the new gun they bought. They may have just come back from the gun range and left a round in the chamber.
Treating every gun as if it’s loaded also helps you avoid other kinds of gun mistakes. For example, you would likely never point a loaded gun at another person. In fact, you would likely keep it aimed at the ground.
This approach helps you avoid unintentionally firing a loaded gun. It also helps ensure that you don’t aim the gun at anything you don’t plan on shooting at soon.
Proper storage of a gun is another key element of gun safety. Simply standing a rifle or shotgun up in a closet, however convenient, is a great way for an accident to happen. Anyone going through the closet can stumble across it.
For maximum safety with gun storage, you need a secure storage device. That means you get a small gun safe for handguns and a larger gun safe or gun cabinet for rifles and shotguns.
Secure storage means that you can lock the safe or cabinet with a key or that it requires a combination to open. While someone truly dedicated can eventually get into a locked safe or cabinet, it’s a big deterrent for curious kids and casual guests.
As with most secure storage, you must remain vigilant about closing the safe and ensuring it locks after you put something in it.
4. Don’t Rely on the Gun’s Safety
In principle, a gun’s built-in safety should prevent any and all instances of accidental firing. If you engage the safety, it can prevent firing in a couple of ways.
Some safeties simply make it impossible to pull the trigger. If you can’t pull the trigger, the gun won’t fire. In other cases, the safety separates the trigger from the firing pin or mechanism.
These are excellent as far as safety features go, but you must always remember that they are mechanisms with moving parts. Mechanisms can and do fail.
If the mechanisms inside your safety fail, you can find yourself accidentally firing the gun. Hopefully, the barrel will only point to the ground at the time, but it’s a risk.
While you should always engage the safety, you should also always assume that pulling the trigger will discharge the gun.
5. Always Know What You’re Aiming At
Like most skills, shooting a gun well takes practice. People who live near gun ranges routinely take their guns there for practice. If you don’t live near a range, though, your options become more limited.
If you own land, you can practice on your own property. If a friend owns land, they might let practice there.
When you practice off of a range, though, it’s vitally important that you know what you’re aiming at. The last thing you want is a ricochet off of a hard surface you didn’t know about.
6. Protect Yourself
Guns are dangerous in more ways than one. Beyond the obvious, they’re loud enough to damage your hearing. Always wear hearing protection such as foam ear plugs or protection ear muffs.
Something that many people forget is that guns can experience blowback. Essentially, the hot gases from the gun blow burning powder back at you instead of pushing it out the barrel.
While blowback is atypical in modern guns, it can still happen if there is a problem with the gun mechanisms. Eye protection keeps that powder out of your eyes.
Gun Safety Tips and You
In the end, gun safety tips all aim at the same basic principle. You should exercise an abundance of caution at all times when dealing with guns.
Always assume that every gun is loaded and that all safety mechanisms will fail. Always unload your gun when you’re finished using it. Always put your gun into a secure storage device.
Exercising that caution helps you and everyone around you avoid accidental injuries or even death.
Target Sports USA offers a wide range of firearms and accessories, such as shotgun ammo and shells. For questions, contact Target Sports USA today.