5 Must-Know Gun Safety Tips for New Gun Owners
Posted: Jan 07, 2017
Purchasing your first gun is a big decision with lots of factors to take into account. One major consideration for a gun should be safety, and it should play a role throughout your entire gun-owning experience. When thinking about buying a new gun, no matter if it it is a pistol, shotgun, or rifle, there are some gun safety tips every gun owner should know in order to keep themselves and those around them safe.
Being a safe owner starts by being educated. Before you do anything else with your new gun, take a safety class to learn the basics of your gun and safety tips to handle it correctly. A gun safety class will help you learn and practice safe handling skills until they become second nature, like loading and unloading your gun in the same manner every time so you don’t make a careless and dangerous mistake. Even seasoned gun experts can learn from a gun safety course and refresh their safety skills. Check with your local gun range or NRA chapter for safety classes in your area.
Store it in a Safe Location
Guns cause the most damage when they aren’t stored properly and everyone has access to them, especially children who can think they are toys. Before purchasing your gun, make sure you have a safe place to put it. The best option is a dedicated gun safe, but an out-of-reach cupboard or drawer with a gun lock that only you can reach will also work. Store ammunition separately from your gun, and never store a loaded gun. Storing your gun in a safe and out of the way location can help prevent someone from accidentally finding it and having access to it.
Maintain Your Gun
The safest gun is one that is in good working order. Guns need regular cleaning and maintenance to make sure there aren’t any issues or build up. Because guns naturally get worn and dirty as you use them, things can need an occasional tune up. Consult your owner’s manual for the best way to maintain your gun and keep it working safely. You might also want to consider taking your gun into the shooting range or sporting goods store for a professional check every year or so. You should also regularly maintain anything else you use with your gun, including targets and ammunition. Even a small mistake or broken piece can lead to disastrous consequences.
Talk About Gun Safety
Just because you are certified in gun safety doesn’t mean everyone else around you is. Take the time to educate your friends and family members about safe gun handling. This is especially important for children. Young children should know to never touch a gun and that they should tell an adult immediately if they see a gun laying around. Older children should know to keep their finger off the trigger and to never point a gun at someone, even as a joke. Use your best judgment to decide if your older children are ready to practice at a safe shooting range. Allowing mature children the chance to shoot a gun in a controlled environment can take away some of the curiosity they have and can help prevent accidents.
Even if your gun is safe and in maintained condition, it can still be dangerous if the shooting accessories are unsafe. Some gun owners purchase reloaded ammunition because it tends to be cheaper. However, used ammunition doesn’t have to pass the same safety tests as new ammunition and can cause potentially unsafe situations for you and your gun. Instead, spend a little more to get new ammunition that has been inspected and that you know is safe—you can often find it on sale so it doesn’t break the bank. You should also use proper safety equipment with shooting, including eye and ear protection. Guns can reach 180 decibels, which can damage unprotected ears and lead to long-term hearing loss. Take precautionary measures to protect your body and the people around you.
JT Ripton is a freelance business, tech and lifestyle writer out of Tampa, FL. When he's not writing, he's consulting with start up businesses around the area helping them succeed, and checking out the newest things in tech.