Monday, December 10, 2007

Firearms safety.

If you plan on owning firearms then you need to know how to safely handle them. Firearms safety is pretty simple stuff but a few rules need to be strictly adhered to. A lot of "accidents" happen to people that supposedly know these rules. They're easy to forget and take for granted so it's worthwhile to review them occasionally even if you already feel comfortable with them. Modern firearms are extremely safe, precision tools. They don't just go off by themselves. With that in mind most "accidental" discharges are actually due to negligence. In other words they can be avoided if you just pay attention to the rules.

1. Firearms are always loaded - Always assume that a firearm is loaded. Until you've checked it yourself then it is loaded. Period. If you treat every gun that you encounter as if it's always loaded then you're much less likely to have an "accident". It doesn't matter if the guy that's handing it to you just checked it himself. It's loaded until you have personally verified that it's not. Even if it's not you should still handle it as if it is.

2. Know your target and what is beyond - Don't shoot at something until you're sure that it's what you intend to shoot at. Make sure that you know what's behind it. If you're shooting for fun make sure that you have a sufficient backstop. If you're hunting make sure that you know what's behind your target. Keep in mind that in most cases you are responsible for all of the damage that your bullet does from the time it leaves your gun until it stops moving. If you shoot at a deer that's at the top of a hill and the bullet ends up going through someone's house just over the horizon be prepared to suffer the consequences.

3. Keep your finger off of the trigger until your on target and ready to shoot - The trigger is what causes the gun to fire. As soon as you touch that trigger then it's no longer an accident when the gun goes off. Never touch the trigger on a gun unless you've identified your target and you're ready to shoot it. If the gun requires you to pull the trigger to disassemble it or to perform a functions check make sure that you double, triple and quadruple check that it's not loaded and even then keep it pointed in a safe direction at all times.

4. Don't point the gun at anything you're not willing to destroy - Always keep firearms pointed in a safe direction. Be aware of what the muzzle is pointed towards at all times. If you don't intend to kill or destroy it then under no circumstances should you ever point your gun at it.

As you can see this is all pretty common sense stuff. Unfortunately that's something that a lot of people seem to lack these days. It's easy to get comfortable with guns and to forget about these rules. It's also easy to assume that a gun isn't loaded and to do something stupid. Follow these rules and you will never have that problem. Even a loaded gun is a safe gun IF YOU FOLLOW THE RULES. Once you start to deviate from them then you put yourself and everyone around you in danger. Make sure that everyone in your household knows these rules. If you have children make sure that you teach them the rules instead of trying to hide your guns from them. Introduce them to firearms early and make sure that they know how dangerous they are and how important it is to handle them correctly. You can't hide things like that from kids. When they do eventually find them (and they will) wouldn't you rather they know exactly how dangerous they are?


theotherryan said...

Interestinyl enough firearms accident fatalities have been going down for 40 years.

scott edvin said...

We should regularly clean our gun so that it can operate correctly and safely. Proper care of it will also maintain its value and extend its life. Your gun should be cleaned every time that it is used. But you must unload the gun and be sure no ammunition is present inside the gun.
MA Firearms Safety Course.