Responsible Gun Ownership

  1. Know the laws that relate to gun purchases and possession to ensure that you are in compliance with legal requirements for responsible gun ownership.

    • You may need to familiarize yourself with both state laws and federal regulations that address gun carrying in public places and transportation of a gun in a vehicle.

  3. If you have an instruction manual for your gun or can obtain one, read through its information carefully to become thoroughly knowledgeable about the gun and its operation.

    • Instruction manuals often contain information related to, but not limited to, the individual
      parts of the gun, the mechanical functioning of the parts, specific safety features of the gun, instructions for loading and unloading, and other points of importance for safe handling and operation of the gun.

  5. Know the specific type and size of ammunition that your gun is designed for and only use that type of ammunition with the gun.

    • Using the wrong type of ammunition in a gun can cause a malfunction resulting in serious bodily injury or death.

  7. Know the best practices for storing both loaded and unloaded guns safely.

    • Never leave a gun or its ammunition unattended or in a location that is easily accessible to a child or another unauthorized user even if only for a brief time. Guns and ammunition should be locked away when not in use.
    • A great tragedy can occur in just a few seconds. Furthermore, depending on the situation  and the factors involved, a gun owner may be held liable for the gun-related injury or death of another person.
    • See “SAFE STORAGE OPTIONS” for more information about best practices.
  8. Some private entities offer gun safety courses with qualified instructors such as range masters. Consider taking a gun course to learn more about general gun safety principles and safe handling guidelines.


  10. In order to decrease the chance of theft and other possible risks, avoid leaving a gun in
    a vehicle.


  12. If your gun has an external safety feature, it should not be the only safety measure you use .

    • A gun’s safety mechanism could possibly fail to function properly.

  14. Do not make the assumption that one gun operates the same as another gun. Such assumptions could result in serious bodily injury or the loss of life. For instance, while many lever safeties push forward to allow firing of a gun, some safety levers function in an opposite manner. Become thoroughly familiar with your gun’s parts, unique characteristics and operation.


  16. Clean your gun or have your gun serviced on a regular basis. Always check your gun to make sure it is unloaded. Before cleaning the gun, recheck it to make sure that it is empty. Removal of a gun’s magazine does not necessarily mean that the gun is not loaded. Some guns can contain a bullet in the chamber although their magazines have been removed and the bullet may not be detected unless a thorough visual inspection of the chamber is made.

    • Many gun dealers and gunsmiths will recommend that your gun be cleaned after each use. Others recommend that a gun should be cleaned after a certain number of rounds have been fired (for instance, 100 – 300 rounds or more). Since the amount and nature of a gun’s use may vary greatly from one gun owner to the next, it is suggested that you develop a maintenance schedule after taking one of the following steps:

      1. Review the gun’s instruction manual for helpful information
      2. Contact the gun’s manufacturer for recommendations
      3. Contact a gun expert in your area for his or her recommendations

  18. If you are not sure your gun is functioning properly and is mechanically safe to operate, have it examined by a gunsmith or another qualified person at a gun store.

    • You should be able to find a gun expert to offer a basic inspection as a free service. However, you will most likely have to pay for a more extensive inspection and servicing of your gun.

  20. Be aware that an attempt to modify specific parts of a gun can result in a variety of problems such as voided manufacturer’s warranty, gun malfunction, unintentional discharge and even potential liability. Furthermore, some gun alterations will result in a violation of federal law.

    • It is strongly recommended that you contact a gunsmith or another gun expert to inquire about an alteration before you initiate the process on your own or before you have someone else modify the gun for you.