Firearms Safety Rules...Do You Know Them? By: Gene Kennedy

     There are individuals who believe that ownership of firearms should not be allowed.  There are others who believe that everyone should own a firearm.  Let us just agree that there are two sides to this argument.  This is not what this article is about.

     Consider that there are millions of firearms throughout America owned by our military, law enforcement officers, and law abiding citizens.  I realize that some criminals also possess firearms but, if the basic firearm rules are followed, this problem might be reduced because of proper storage on the part of firearm owners. 

     The majority of all firearm accidents occur due to ignorance and carelessness.  A person who does not know about firearm safety rules is not ignorant, he/she simply does not know that these rules exist.  A person who knows about firearm safety rules but does not follow them is careless.  Both of these areas can cause accidents. 

     The following three (3) firearm safety rules will prevent the majority of accidents: 

1.)  Always point the firearm in a safe direction, 
2.) Always keep the finger off of the trigger until ready to shoot, 
3.) Always keep the firearm unloaded when not in use, and store the firearm   away from unauthorized individuals. 

     Notice that each rule starts with ALWAYS.  It is not just on Tuesday, when you are home or on certain occasions.  It is all the time!  If these three (3) safety rules are followed, the chance of an individual being harmed due to an accident may be eliminated.  If a firearm is being used for hunting, shooting practice, or self-protection, it should be "loaded" because it is in use.  But, when it is not in use, it needs to be unloaded and stored away in a proper manner.  It should also be stored separated from the ammunition.  If someone who should not have access to the firearm finds it, the chance of an accident occurring has been reduced because it is unloaded.  Again, when it is not in use, unload it and store it away properly. 

     Owning a firearm brings with it responsibilities.  Individuals who own firearms need to think about proper storage.  Some firearms that are stolen, because they were not stored properly, may turn up in the hands of individuals who should not have them.  A firearm taken from its owner because it was not stored properly, can cause damage.  Across America we hear about tragedies that have occurred based on stolen firearms.  If you have stored your firearm away properly and it is stolen, there is not much you can do except to report it to law enforcement as  soon as possible.  Not everyone can afford to purchse a safe. However, there are some other areas that you can look at.  Recently, smaller gun safes have hit the retail market.  Included in these new products are some inexpensive lock boxes that can store pistols, and still provide good access to the owner when they want them.  If you are unsure where to store firearms, stop into your local police or sheriffs department.  Every time a robbery is reported, they are there to investigate.  They can tell you some good areas, and some bad areas for storage.  You do not have to tell them how many guns you own or anything like that.  However, it is their duty to "serve and protect".  Helping a citizen with proper storage of their firearms is something that most officers would consider a part of their job if they are asked about it. 

     Firearm safety is not based on caliber.  Young individuals who own air pistols, air rifles, or small caliber guns for hunting, also need to follow the three (3) primary firearm safety rules.  Years ago, firearm safety began in the home.  Veterans of the military, farmers, cattlemen, and others who worked close to the land passed on firearm safety rules to their young children.  However, with fewer families working the land and without mandatory military service, most young people growing up do not learn about firearm safety.  Because of the number of firearms owned by Americans, this should be something that is taught to every young person.  They may never own a firearm but, if they find one or for some reason are around one, they need to know what to do and what not to do.  Children and young adults should also be taught to report any threats they heard regarding the improper use of firearms. 

     Responsibility is the key ingredient to firearm ownership.  Following all of the firearm safety rules goes along with responsible ownership.  Remember the firearm safety rules and follow them ALWAYS.

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