Beginner Firearm Safety, From Safe Storage to Safe Shooting

The Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees that U.S. citizens have the right to keep and bear arms. Along with this constitutional right comes the responsibility to be careful and conscientious gun owners. This includes storing firearms and ammunition properly and securely. Responsible gun ownership also involves using guns in a safe manner. Keep your family safe with safe storage and safe shooting of firearms.

Rules to Follow if You Have Guns in the Home

  • Keep guns in locked storage when you’re not using them. Always store guns unloaded.
  • Do not allow children access to the gun safe or storage. Teach kids that access to the gun safe or storage is for parents only. Kids are never allowed to open gun storage.
  • Minors require adult supervision. Kids can never use firearms without adequate and complete adult supervision.
  • Do not allow kids to play with or around guns. When guns are out and being used, no horseplay is allowed.
  • Storage of guns and ammunition must be separate. Always store firearms and ammunition in different storage units with everything locked securely.

Tips for Long-Term Gun Storage

Storing guns over a long period of time requires care to keep the firearms in the best condition. Long-term gun storage needs to keep them out of children’s reach, protect the guns, and be secure from theft.

  • Break down the firearm as much as possible.
  • Uncock the gun to eliminate tension in the springs.
  • Remove all fingerprints from the gun; fingerprints leave residue that can damage the gun over time.
  • Clean the gun fully before storing it.
  • After cleaning out the bore, lubricate it. Apply a thin layer of lubrication to any other exposed metal.
  • Wax the wood stock to prevent the wood from swelling or cracking. Wax the inside of the stock as well.
  • Place firearms in a silicone-treated gun sock for protection from moisture and rust.
  • Run a dehumidifier in the area where you store guns or use a desiccant to minimize moisture.
  • Place long guns with the barrels pointed down to prevent oil from seeping into the stock.

Four Main Rules for Safe Shooting

Rule 1: Consider every gun to be loaded, even if you think you know that a gun is not loaded. Never assume that a gun isn’t loaded.

Rule 2: Do not aim a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot. Keep gun barrels pointed down until you are ready to shoot.

Rule 3: Always determine your target and be certain of what is beyond it. Never shoot without being fully aware of your target area.

Rule 4: Never rest your finger on the trigger. Move your finger to the trigger only when you are ready to shoot.

Safety Rules for Using Guns

  • Children should never use guns without adult supervision.
  • Shoot firearms in a controlled target-shooting environment.
  • Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
  • Always assume that a gun is loaded, even if you think it isn’t.
  • Never point a gun at a person, even if you think it isn’t loaded.
  • Keep the muzzle pointed down. Don’t point the gun until you’re ready to shoot it.
  • Keep guns unloaded until you’re ready to shoot.
  • Keep your finger off of the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
  • Always know your shooting area. Survey the shooting area fully before firing.
  • Check the gun barrel before shooting to make sure that it’s clear.
  • If a gun doesn’t fire after pulling the trigger, handle it with the utmost care.
  • Use the correct ammunition for the firearm.

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