With hunting seasons open or opening soon, more Americans will be handling firearms at home and in our nation’s fields and forests. Gun safety should always be a priority. Here are the 10 Rules of Gun Safety for your review.
1. Always keep the firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction. This is the most basic safety rule. Never point your gun at anything you do not intend to shoot, even when loading or unloading a firearm. 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 always 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. Unload your gun as soon as you are finished. A loaded gun has no place in or near a car, truck or building.
Never cross a fence, climb a tree or perform any awkward action with a loaded gun. While in the field, there will be times when common sense and the basic rules of firearms safety will require you to unload your gun for maximum safety.
3. Don’t rely on your gun’s “Safety.” Mechanical devices can fail.
4. Be sure of your target, and what’s beyond it, before shooting. Be aware that a .22 bullet can travel more than 1 mile and a high velocity cartridge, such as a .30-06, can send its bullet more than 3 miles. Shotgun pellets can travel 500 yards, and shotgun slugs have a range of more than half a mile.
5. Always use the correct ammunition for your firearm. Using improper or incorrect ammunition can destroy a gun and cause serious personal injury.
6. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle the firearm with extreme care!
7. Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting. Exposure to shooting noise can damage hearing, and adequate vision protection is essential.
8. Be sure the gun’s barrel is clear of obstructions before you begin shooting.
9. Don’t alter or modify your gun, and have your gun serviced regularly. Your gun is a mechanical device that is subject to wear. As such, it requires periodic inspection, adjustment and service.
10. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.
Firearms safety begins with you. Share these important guidelines with family, friends and your hunting partners and sportsmen’s club.
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