One bright spot in the economy over the last couple months are the MILLIONS of firearms sold, many being to first-time gun owners. I want to share some information for new the guns owners!
Hip, hip, hooray!
First, welcome to the world of firearms and please find local friends that you can shoot, hunt, and enjoy firearms with! Check into ranges and groups in your area! One great resource to find places to shoot is Practiscore. Another is NSSF or the National Shooting Sports Foundation. You will find people willing to share information with you. And truly, experienced firearms owners want to help you! But the very first thing you need to do is understand the 4 rules of firearms safety.
What are the 4 rules?
Treat every gun as if it was loaded.
Never point a gun at anything you aren’t willing to destroy. (This includes while handling unloaded firearms. Don’t flag yourself or others.)
Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to shoot.
Know your target any beyond.
Now, I want to share info about something that’s part of the rules, and that is firearm storage.
Storage is a facet of the rules,
You need a safe place to store your firearm! That’s not a one-size-fits-all thing! What works for a single guy in the military, is NOT going to work for a single mom with small children. What works for a retired single person might not work for a retired person with grandkids visiting.
Firearms are about taking responsibility for yourself, that’s a big step for many people, but it comes with other steps: following the rules on safety, and securing your firearms when they are not in use, etc..
Safe Storage can look different for different homes.
Many people have a firearm for self defense. Some of the very sanitized language on “How to store your firearm.” will prescribe that your gun be unloaded, in a safe, ammo stored separately - but that’s not going to help you if you need the gun and need it fast. So you need to do some soul searching, and embrace this responsibility that you took on, and in the process, you will need to make choices, and educate those around you. Do you have teenagers whose friends visit while you are at work? You probably need your gun secured in a safe and ammo stored separately. Are you a single retiree living in an unsafe area with threats of break-ins? Your plan might look very different! So understand that just like the rules on how to safely handle a firearm are overarching principles, the rules om how you store your firearm have basic principles, the execution of which might not be the same for you as your neighbor. You might even have requirements based on your local laws.
Start with YOUR Home
A very clear understanding in YOUR household of how guns are stored, and the rules for all guns must be part of your ownership of firearms. We don’t hide the existence of cars and roads from children, but they are statistically more dangerous than a firearm. So we need to talk to those in our homes about firearms safety. Even if your children don’t know that YOU have a firearm, you need to make sure they know what to do if they find a gun without you there. What if their friends visit? What if they go to someone’s house and find a firearm? Make sure they know the rules to stay safe and keep others safe.
Anything we do in life that carries a risk, tends to have rules. We are safer if we follow the rules. From lawnmowers, to cars, to prescription drugs…we need to understand the tool we have, and how to safely use it. Rules give us not just a framework to keep us safe, they help us develop habits. Habits that stem from rules, keep us safe. A great example is when we stop at stop-signs so that we don’t get hit by another car. Applied to firearms, habits like removing a gun from a safe and checking that the gun is loaded before we handle it can prevent an accidental discharge. The rules MUST be followed by us, as well as our kids, grandkids, friends, etc. No human being is immune to failure, But failure with powerful tools, like a car or firearm, can end someone’s life. So establish rules and build good habits!
Check out a safe!
A couple of simple ways to secure your firearm are small safes or vaults. The traditional keys are often supplemented by biometric means of access that can save time in getting your gun. Liberty Safe makes several handgun vaults that fit different budgets. Your peace of mind in knowing who can and cannot access your firearm will help you as you establish those rules and habits for firearms safety in your home.
“Free” to make a safe home!
If you cannot afford a safe, you can get a free device to secure your gun. The NSSF has teamed up with Project childsafe, and they have made free locks available. You can go on their web site and find pickup locations. The idea is that for homes with small children or others who should not have access to a firearm, you can still render the gun unusable when it’s not in your control.
Welcome to the family!
All of the firearms owners who see their fellow Americans taking the step to be personally responsible for their own safety are cheering for the new firearms owners! Empower your family to be safe in the ownership of a firearm, and take the appropriate steps to educate them and make that happen!
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