THE BASIC RULES OF SAFE FIREARMS HANDLING
Americans have a right to purchase and use firearms for lawful purposes. The private ownership of firearms in America is traditional, but that ownership imposes the responsibility on the gun owner to use his firearms in a way which will ensure his own safety and that of others. When firearms are used in a safe and responsible manner, they are a great source of pleasure and satisfaction, and represent a fundamental part of our personal liberty.
Firearms do not cause accidents! Firearms accidents are almost always found to have been the result of carelessness, or ignorance on the part of the shooter of the basic rules of safe gun handling.
The following rules must be observed by gun users at all times. Safe gun handling is not just desirable, it is absolutely essential to the continuation of gun ownership and sport shooting as we know it today.
1. LEARN THE MECHANICAL & HANDLING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FIREARM YOU ARE USING.
Not all firearms are the same. The method of carrying and handling firearms varies in accordance with the mechanical provisions for avoiding accidental discharge and the various proper procedures for loading and unloading. No person should handle any firearm without first having thoroughly familiarized himself with the particular type of firearm he is using, and with safe gun handling in general.
2. ALWAYS KEEP THE MUZZLE POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION.
Be sure of the bullet stop behind your target, even when dry-firing. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at any part of your body or at another person. This is particularly important when loading or unloading a firearm. In the event of an accidental discharge, no injury can occur as long as the muzzle is pointing in a safe direction. A safe direction means a direction which will not permit a discharged bullet to strike a person, or to strike an object from which the bullet may ricochet. A safe direction must take into account the fact that a bullet may penetrate a wall, ceiling, floor, window, etc., and strike a person or damage property. Make it a habit to know exactly where the muzzle of your gun is pointing whenever you handle it, and be sure that you are always in control of the direction in which the muzzle is pointing, even if you fall or stumble.
3. FIREARMS SHOULD BE UNLOADED WHEN HOT IN USE.
Firearms should be loaded only when you are in the field or on the target range or shooting area, ready to shoot. Firearms and ammunition should be securely locked in racks or cabinets when not in use. Ammunition should be safely stored separate from firearms. Store your firearms out of sight of visitors and children. It is the gun owner's responsibility to be certain that children and persons unfamiliar with firearms cannot gain access to firearms or ammunition.
4. BE SURE THE BARREL IS CLEAR OF OBSTRUCTIONS BEFORE SHOOTING.
Even a bit of mud, snow or excess lubricating oil or grease in the bore may cause the barrel to bulge, or even burst on firing, and can cause injury to the shooter and bystanders. Be sure that you are using ammunition of the proper caliber and loading for the gun you are using. If the report or recoil on firing seems weak, or doesn't seem quite right, CEASE FIRING IMMEDIATELY and check to be sure that no obstruction has become lodged in the barrel.
5. BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET BEFORE YOU SHOOT.
Don't shoot unless you know exactly where your bullet is going to strike. Be sure of the bullet stop behind your target, even when dry-firing with an unloaded gun. If you are in the field hunting, do not fire at a movement or noise. Take the time to be absolutely certain of your target before you pull the trigger.
6. WEAR SHOOTING GLASSES AND HEARING PROTECTORS WHEN YOU SHOOT.
All shooters should wear protective shooting glasses and some form of hearing protectors when shooting. Exposure to shooting noise can damage hearing, and adequate vision protection when shooting is essential.
7. NEVER CLIMB A TREE OR FENCE WITH A LOADED FIREARM.
Put the firearm down carefully before climbing a fence, and unload it before climbing or descending a tree or jumping over a ditch or other obstruction. Never pull or push a loaded firearm toward yourself or another person. When in doubt, or whenever you are about to do anything awkward, unload your gun!
8. DON'T SHOOT AT A HARD SURFACE, OR AT WATER.
Bullets can glance off many surfaces like rocks or the surface of water and travel in unpredictable directions with considerable velocity.
9. NEVER TRANSPORT A LOADED FIREARM.
Firearms should always be unloaded before being moved or placed in a vehicle. A suitable carrying case or scabbard should be used to carry an unloaded firearm to and from the shooting area.
1O. AVOID ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES WHEN SHOOTING.
Don't drink until the day's shooting is over. Handling firearms while under the influence of alcohol in any form constitutes a criminal disregard for the safety of others.
There's one rule that must be followed when handling firearms. In fact, respect for this rule is necessary in order to effectively practice the Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety.
The rule is simple, SHOOT SOBER!
Alcohol, drugs and guns are a deadly combination. Never consume anything that would even mildly impair your judgment or physical coordination when you're using a firearm. This includes Prescription & over the counter medications as well. A staggering percentage of the shooting accidents that occur every year involve alcohol or drugs. Be smart. Shoot sober and stay alive.
The 4 Laws of Gun Safety
The 1st Law of Gun Safety
The Gun Is Always Loaded.
EVERY TIME you pick up or draw a gun, inspect it in a safe manner, control your muzzle, and always treat it as a loaded gun. You should VISUALLY inspect your gun's chamber every time you pick it up even if you just sat it down moments before. It may seem redundant but establishing good habits may save a tragedy during a moment of "brain-fade". Remove all ammunition and loaded magazines from the immediate area when handling any gun. Also, if you hand someone your gun, VISUALLY show them the empty chamber and accept no less in return! An experienced gun handler will never feel insulted.
The 2nd Law of Gun Safety
Never Point A Gun At Something You're Not Prepared To Destroy.
The best way to handle a gun is to imagine the worst case scenario: Assume your "empty" gun is loaded and that it's going to function PERFECTLY! When you press the trigger it will FIRE! Since you are prepared for that, you should only point the gun in a safe direction - never allowing the muzzle to sweep you or someone else. That way, if "brain-fade" does result in a Negligent Discharge (ND) , it will be into a safe impact area and there won't be a tragedy.
The 3rd Law of Gun Safety
Always Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Behind It.
Bullets can penetrate lots of things, many of which may surprise you. Identify your target before firing - even before dry-firing. If you are not sure, DON'T FIRE! Just as important, make sure there's a safe impact area behind your target. For home dry-fire practice, find and aim only at a BULLET PROOF BACKSTOP. Even though you have checked and double-checked your gun, you should still treat your gun as though it's loaded and functional. Plasterboard walls and outer walls are not bulletproof. A handgun bullet can easily travel through several rooms before stopping. Who is in these rooms? If you're not sure, and you still aimed in that direction, SHAME ON YOU!
The 4th Law of Gun Safety
Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Your Sights Are On The Target.
KEEP YOUR FINGER OUTSIDE THE TRIGGER GUARD! Almost all Negligent Discharges (ND) are caused by placing the finger on the trigger when you aren't prepared to fire. A finger on the trigger during reloading, during movement, during the draw, holstering, or while clearing a jam have led to several Negligent Discharges (ND). It's difficult to isolate the trigger finger from the muscles required to hold the gun firmly - they all want to contract together. It can be especially difficult under stress and anxiety. Therefore, THE FINGER SHOULD NOT TOUCH THE TRIGGER UNTIL THE INSTANT YOU ARE PREPARED TO FIRE! This holds true even if you find yourself in a legitimate self-defense situation.