Saturday, December 26, 2009

What Every Firearm Owner Should Know About Gun Safety

Over the least few days, I have read several stories in the local Detroit-area media about firearm accidents which, in my humble opinion, were caused by a lack of knowledge of simple safe gun handling and usage rules. Earlier today, I "tweeted" a lot of info about gun safety via Twitter.

For austerity, I am assembling that info here for you to read and apply, where necessary, to make you a safer user of firearms.

If you don't know the 3 Fundamentals of Gun Safety - by the number - don't handle a firearm until you do.

Rule 0 - Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded at all times.

Rule 1 - Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction.

Rule 2 - Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

Rule 3 - Always keep firearms "not in use" unloaded and locked away from unauthorized users.

Rule 4 - Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Do not attempt to clean your firearm until you have verified that it is unloaded.

Pulling the trigger is NOT how you safely determine whether your firearm is loaded.

Before handling/operating any firearm, read the operator guide until you understand everything in it.

To check a firearm, point it in a safe direction with your finger off the trigger, open the action, and inspect chamber.

Not knowing whether a handgun is loaded is NOT a valid excuse for a negligent discharge.

Never give or knowingly accept a loaded handgun from someone.

Always use the proper ammunition caliber in your handgun. If you don't know, find out.

Never trust a safety. They are mechanical devices that can fail. Your brain is the best safety.

Handguns do NOT "just go off" despite what they say in the newspapers. The trigger must be pulled. No exceptions.

Firearms are inanimate objects that can NEVER harm anything all by itself. The problem is with criminals and idiots.

If you are handling a firearm without a basic understanding of gun safety, you are an idiot.

Never take gun safety advice from someone who "just" owns a firearm. Verify their knowledge.

Do not operate a handgun that is not safe to operate - filthy, bent, broken parts, rusted, pitted, or etc.

Do not operate a handgun while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Before practicing at a range, find out the range rules and understand basic range commands.

Always wear hearing protection and safety glasses when shooting a firearm.

Know basic ammunition malfunctions (e.g. misfire, hangfire, and squib loads) and how to handle them safely.

Hearing protection should have a noise reduction ration (NRR) of 22 or higher to protect your hearing.

Do not use +P or +P+ ammo in your handgun unless your manual says that you can.

Firearm safety is not rocket science. Learn it from a credible source and practice it everytime you handle a gun.

Pointing a handgun downwards towards the floor/ground is NOT always a safe direction. Use your brain.

Don't be a Plaxico. Always use a holster to carry your handgun. They make them also for purses and pockets.

Never discharge a firearm in the air. That bullet has to come down somewhere and could kill someone.

Never take a warning shot. You are responsible for that bullet wherever it ends. Shoot a target or don't shoot.

Only use JHP ammunition for personal protection. You are less likely to over-penetrate and hit an unintended target.

If you got your CPL/CCW on a "hookup," you risk hurting yourself or an innocent, going to prison, and/or being sued.

You should never take gun safety advice from a politician or law enforcement officer grandstanding in the media.

Each one the aforementioned tidbits could be expanded into an entire article/blog post on its own. Do some research, consult with credible advisors, and strongly consider taking a firearms safety with a credible firearms trainer.
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