Safe Handling Guidelines

1) Learn about the handling characteristics of your gun.

* For instance, both handguns and long guns have a certain amount of recoil that  occurs instantaneously after the gun is fired. Recoil can be described as a forceful “kick” and a momentum that occurs naturally as the result of firing the gun. The amount of recoil will vary according to the specific gun that you are using.

The momentum that is set in motion from recoil can be explained by Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Physics which simply states: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It is recommended that you schedule time at a shooting range to practice firing your gun and to know what amount of recoil to expect.

2) Never leave a gun or ammunition unattended or in a location that is easily accessible to a child or another unauthorized user even if only for a brief time. Remember, a great tragedy can occur in just a few seconds.

Consider these facts:

  • Each year, there are numerous deaths and injuries that occur from unintentional shootings involving unsecured guns.
  • Unloaded ammunition can also be dangerous. For example, serious injuries have occurred when children have caused ammunition to detonate by using a rock to smash .22 shells.

Guns and ammunition should always be locked away when not in use.

3)  Always handle a gun with care and always treat a gun as if it is loaded.

4) Know this important fact: Removing the magazine from a semi-automatic weapon does not necessarily mean that the gun is unloaded. Although a gun’s magazine has been removed, a bullet may still be in the chamber. The bullet may not be detected unless a thorough visual inspection of the chamber is made.

5) Always point the weapon in a safe direction.  Anytime you are handling the gun, be sure to keep the gun pointed away from other people in your surroundings. In most cases, this means that the gun is pointed downward toward the floor or ground.

*  Never point a gun at someone unless you are legally protecting yourself or another person.

6)  Keep your fingers off the trigger and outside of the trigger guard until you are ready to fire the gun.

* A startling noise or movement can cause an accidental pull of the trigger.

7) 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.

* Always keep the safety on until ready to fire.

8) Avoid handling or using a gun either while using or after using alcohol or other drugs.

9) Never use a gun at a time when you are emotionally “charged” with anger or other intense emotions.