Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Let's Talk About Gun Safety



Rifles, pistols, and shotguns! Yes, they are all a great deal of fun to shoot.

It's absolutely true that shooting is a lot of fun for everyone from men and women to boys and girls.

And yes, everyone can enjoy whatever kind of shooting they take to.

The fact is that Shooting Sports are America's First Sports. Americans were shooting for sport long before any other type of sport there is today including Horse Racing and Archery. 

Americans needed to master shooting so they worked at the skill it takes to shoot well. Why? Well, because being a good hunter meant being better at providing for your family and not letting them go hungry. And as my grandfather once told me, "the worth of a man is measured by how well he provides for his family."

Americans found pride in their ability to hit what they were shooting at, and sense of confidence know that they would be able to - when they needed to. That sense of assurance of being able to shoot well for hunting led to shooting competitions.  

Whatever type of shooting you're into, whether it's Cowboy Action Shooting or Trap Shooting, Target Shooting or Deer Hunting, we all must remember that firearms safety is number one.

Here's a few FIREARMS SAFETY RULES.

1. Always Know How To Use A Gun Safely:  
  • First rule to always remember is that there should never be any sort of horseplay with any firearm.
  • Second, before handling a gun, learn how it operates. Know its basic parts, know how to safely open and close the action and remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine.
  • Remember, a gun's mechanical safety device is never foolproof.
  • Nothing can ever replace safe gun handling.
  • Be sure the gun is safe to operate. Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun's general upkeep.
  • If there is any question concerning a gun's ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it.
  • Use only the correct ammunition for your gun. Only BB's, pellets, cartridges or shells designed for a particular gun and caliber can be fired safely in that gun. Most guns have the ammunition type stamped on the barrel.
  • Ammunition can be identified by information printed on the box and sometimes stamped on the cartridge.
  • Do not shoot the gun unless you know you have the proper ammunition.
2. Always Keep Guns Pointed In A Safe Direction:
  • This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off accidentally that it would not cause injury to others or damage property.
  • The key to this rule is control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times.
  • Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
3. Always Keep Guns Unloaded Until You Are Ready To Shoot:
  • Treat all guns as if they are loaded at all times.
  • Do not fear guns, but show them the respect that they deserve.
  • Guns are not toys, and should not be treated like they are. 
  • Do not treat guns unsafely.
  • Whenever you pick up a gun, check if the safety is one.
  • If the gun has a magazine it, then remove it before opening the action. 
  • The gun's chamber should be clear of ammunition.
  • If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber, then leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
4. Always Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until You Are Ready To Shoot:
  • Whether loaded or not, when holding a gun you should rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun.
  • Do not touch the trigger until you are actually ready to fire.
5. Always Know Your Target And Your Surroundings: 
  • Be absolutely certain you have identified your target beyond any doubt.
  • Be absolutely certain the area around and beyond your target is clear. This means observing your entire area of fire before you shoot.
  • Never fire in a direction in which there may be people or property that may be damaged.
  • Think first. Look second. Shoot third.
6. Always Use Eye And Ear Protection:
  • Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate. 
  • Guns are loud and the noise can cause hearing damage. They can also emit debris and hot gas that could cause eye injury.
  • For these reasons, safety glasses and hearing protection should always be worn by spectators as well.
7. Always Store Guns And Ammunition Properly 
  • Keep and store guns and ammo so that they are not accessible to unauthorized people like kids and those completely unfamiliar with guns  -  like maybe a curious teenage friend of you son who never learned about gun safety like your son did.  
  • Many factors must be considered when deciding where and how to store guns.
  • A person's particular situation will be a major part of the consideration.
  • Dozens of gun storage devices, as well as locking devices that attach directly to the gun, are available.  However, mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun safety rules.
Most of my guns are separated from the Ammo. My guns are in a Gun Safe, and my ammo is kept in a lock box. 

A Gun Safe is a good investment for someone like me who has a few guns.

Since I believe in Home Protection though, whether it's a mountain lion going for my stock or some wayward low-life criminal type individual breaking into my tack room or home, I do keep an unloaded gun with ammo near by in my home.

But when I have guests over, especially if they have children with them, then part of my gun safety precautions is to lock up that gun as well.  

I can only hope that someone out there will take this old Cowboy's advise and make Gun Safety your number one priority when you're at home and out shooting.

So whether it's shooting at cans and bottles with your .22 rifle or out Deer Hunting with your favorite rifle early in the morning --
Friends, Safety is First!
 
And yes, that's just the way I see it.
Tom Correa

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