Guns are not toys, they must be handled properly.
NEVER handle a gun without adult supervision.
NEVER let anyone you are with mix alcohol, or drugs and guns.
2. Guns should be unloaded when not actually in use.
3. Don't rely on your gun's "safety". Treat every gun as if it can fire at any time.
4. Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.
5. Use correct ammunition.
6. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, HANDLE WITH CARE. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and get adult help.
7. Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
8. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
9. Don't alter or modify your gun, and DO have your gun serviced regularly.
10. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using. Do not use any firearm that you have not had adult instruction in handling.
Hunting and target shooting are among the safest of all sports. These rules are intended to make them even safer -- by reemphasizing and reaffirming the basics of safe gun handling and storage and by reminding each individual shooter that he or she is the key to firearms safety.
You can help meet this responsibility by enrolling in hunter safety or shooting safety courses. (See more on this on the "Safety Courses" page.)
You must constantly stress safety when handling firearms, especially to children and non-shooters. Newcomers in particular must be closely supervised when handling firearms with which they may not be acquainted.
Don't be timid when it comes to gun safety. If you observe anyone violating any safety precautions, you have an obligation to suggest safer handling practices, such as those outlined here.
1. ALWAYS KEEP THE MUZZLE POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION
This is the most basic gun safety rule. If everyone handled his firearm so carefully that the muzzle never pointed at something he didn't intend to shoot, there would be virtually no firearms accidents. It's as simple as that, and it's up to you. A safe direction means a direction in which a bullet cannot possibly strike anyone, taking into account possible ricochets and the fact that bullets can penetrate walls and ceilings. Make it a habit to know exactly where the muzzle of your gun is pointing at all times, and be sure that you are in control of the direction in which the muzzle is pointing, even if you fall or stumble.
2. FIREARMS SHOULD BE UNLOADED WHEN NOT ACTUALLY IN USE
Firearms should be loaded only when you are in the field or on the target range or shooting area, ready to shoot. Firearms and ammunition should be secured in a safe place, separate from each other, when not in use. Unload your gun immediately when you have finished shooting, well before you bring it into a car, camp or home. Whenever you handle a firearm, or hand it to someone, always open the action immediately and visually check the chamber, receiver and magazine to be certain they do not contain any ammunition.
NEVER assume a gun is unloaded -- check for yourself! Never pull or push a loaded firearm toward yourself or another person.
3. DON'T RELY ON YOUR GUN'S SAFETY
Treat every gun as though it can fire at any time, regardless of pressure on the trigger. The "safety" on any gun is a mechanical device which, like any such device, can become inoperable at the worst possible time. Besides, by mistake, the safety may be "off" when you think it is "on". The safety serves as a supplement to proper gun handling, but cannot possibly serve as a substitute for common sense. Never touch the trigger on a firearm until you actually intend to shoot. Keep your fingers away from the trigger while loading or unloading.
4. BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT'S BEYOND IT
No one can call a shot back. Once a gun fires, you have given up all control over where the shot will go or what it will strike. Don't shoot unless you know exactly what your shot is going to strike. Be sure that your bullet will not injure anyone or anything beyond your target. No target or animal is so important that you do not have the time before you pull the trigger to be absolutely certain of your target and where your shot will stop.
5. USE CORRECT AMMUNITION
You must assume the serious responsibility of using only the correct ammunition for your firearm. Read and heed all warnings including those that appear in the gun's instruction manual and on the ammunition boxes. Improper or incorrect ammunition can destroy a gun and cause serious personal injury. Use only ammunition that exactly matches the caliber or gauge of your gun.
6. IF YOUR GUN FAILS TO FIRE WHEN THE TRIGGER IS PULLED, HANDLE WITH CARE!
Occasionally, a cartridge may not fire when the trigger is pulled. If this occurs, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep your face away from the breech. Then carefully open the action, unload the firearm and dispose of the cartridge in a safe way. Anytime there is a cartridge in the chamber, your gun is loaded and ready to fire -- even if you've tried to shoot and it did not go off.
7. ALWAYS WEAR EYE AND EAR PROTECTION WHEN SHOOTING
All shooters should wear protective shooting glasses and some form of hearing protection while shooting. Exposure to shooting noise can damage hearing, and adequate vision protection is essential. Shooting glasses guard against twigs, falling shot, clay target chips and the rare ruptured case or firearm malfunction.
8. BE SURE THE BARREL IS CLEAR OF OBSTRUCTIONS BEFORE SHOOTING
Before you load your firearm, open the action and be certain that no ammunition is in the chamber or magazine. Then glance through the barrel to be sure it is clear of any obstruction. Even a small bit of mud, snow, excess lubricating oil or grease in the bore can cause dangerously increased pressures, causing the barrel to bulge or even burst on firing, which can cause injury to the shooter and bystanders.
9. DON'T ALTER OR MODIFY YOUR GUN AND HAVE GUNS SERVICED REGULARLY
Firearms are complicated mechanisms which are designed by experts to function properly in their original condition. Any alterations or changes made to firearms after manufacture can make the gun dangerous and usually void any factory warranties. Do not jeopardize your safety or the safety of others by altering the trigger, safety or other mechanism of any firearm or allowing unqualified persons to repair or modify them. Your gun is a mechanical device which will not last forever and is subject to wear. As such, it requires periodic inspection, adjustment and service. Check with the manufacturer of your firearm for recommended servicing.
10. LEARN THE MECHANICAL AND HANDLING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FIREARM YOU ARE USING
Not all firearms are the same. The method of carrying and handling firearms varies in accordance with the mechanical characteristics of each gun. Since guns can be so different, no person should handle any firearm without first having thoroughly familiarized himself with the particular type of firearm he is using, the safe gun handling rules for loading, unloading, carrying and handling that firearm, and the rules of safe gun handling in general.
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