Every single year, far too many people are seriously injured—sometimes fatally—by the firearms that they keep in their homes. And that doesn’t have to be the case. If the homeowner takes the time to learn proper firearm safety and implement a few safety protocols in their home, then we can lower this rate dramatically. In this guide, we’re going to go over some of the things that gun owners can do to ensure their own safety as well as their family’s safety.
General Gun Handling Safety Rules
In the first part of this guide, we’re going to cover some of the basic rules that every gun owner should know and follow. Although the following tips might be considered extremely basic by advanced gun owners, that’s precisely the point. Too many people fail to follow even the most basic of safety rules, so we thought it would be appropriate to add them in this first section.
Every Gun Should Be Treated As A Loaded Weapon
It’s amazing how many firearm accidents occur because the gun handler felt that the gun was unloaded when in fact it still had a bullet in it. That’s why every gun should be treated as if it were loaded every single time it’s handled. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just pulled the clip and removed the bullet from the chamber. Treat the weapon as if it was loaded, you’ll be safer in the long run. It’s just a matter of giving the firearm the respect it deserves.
Be Careful Where You Point The Weapon
The gun owner should never point a gun at anything that they don’t intend on shooting. A gun should never be pointed at a person. It doesn’t matter if they think that the weapon is unloaded or not. And it should be noted that pointing a gun at a person is considered a criminal act if the gun wielder isn’t defending themselves but is instead using the weapon in a threatening fashion.
Maintain Proper Trigger Discipline
Another thing that all gun owners should learn is proper trigger discipline. Until the person holding the gun is ready to fire that weapon, they should keep their finger off of the trigger. They keep their finger in the ready position near the trigger but not on it. Trigger discipline is important to maintain regardless of whether the weapon is being fired on a range or the weapon is being cleared for cleaning.
Maintain Target Awareness
This next tip isn’t one that a person can just pick up after we tell them about it. No, it’s one that the gun owner naturally develops after many, many hours on the shooting range. And that tip is for the person to maintain target awareness at all times.
What’s target awareness? Target awareness is the shooter knowing whether it’s safe to shoot the target or not. It means having a feel for what might be beyond the target that might be hit if the shooter fires upon it and whether there is a risk of bullet ricochets. A lack of target awareness puts everyone at risk.
Gun Cleaning Safety, Modification & Maintenance
The next section of this guide is a brief primer on some of the things that the gun owner should do to ensure the highest level of safety when they’re cleaning, maintaining, or modifying their firearm. And let us reiterate in this section that all firearms should be treated as loaded—even if you believe them not to be.
Keep a Cleaning Area For Your Gun
If at all possible, the gun owner should have a separate area of their home where they clean and service their weapon. They should choose a well-lit area, have ample table space available to them, and most important of all, an area that’s located away from all ammunition. That means that there shouldn’t be any ammunition boxes, loaded magazines, or loose bullets anywhere near the cleaning area. All of the tools needed should also be well organized and within arm’s reach.
Don’t Clean, Modify Or Maintain The Gun While Distracted
It’s also important for the gun owner to keep focused on their task while they’re cleaning or maintaining their weapon. That means the gun owner shouldn’t try to hang out with friends or watch TV while they’re servicing their weapon. Their entire focus should be on their firearm to avoid any mishaps.
Double Check The Weapon After Reassembling
Once the gun has been serviced and reassembled, be sure to double-check your work to make sure that all parts of the firearm are accounted for and that the firearm is in proper working condition.
A Guide To Proper Gun Storage
The final thing that we’d like to talk about in this guide is how to properly store your firearms when they’re not in use. Although every gun owner has different firearms and a different home setup than one another, the following basic rules should help everyone properly store their weapons.
Firearms Shouldn’t Be Stored Loaded
The first thing to remember is that firearms shouldn’t be stored loaded. The gun should be cleared, and then double-check that it’s clear, before it’s stored for prolonged periods of time.
Firearms Should Be Stored Away From Ammo
Ammo should always be stored away from firearms. This is not only to protect children that might be in the home, but it also serves to protect the homeowner as well. If either the firearm or the ammo is comprised by an intruder, it can’t be used against the homeowner.
Keep Firearms In A Gun Safe
It’s also a good idea for the gun owner to keep their firearms in a safe. There are large safes for rifles and shotguns, and smaller safes for handguns. It’s also a good idea to keep ammo locked up as well. If the gun owner doesn’t want to purchase a dedicated gun safe for their ammo, they can always store their ammo in a proper home safe. That’s better than just leaving the ammunition out in the open where anyone can pick it up.