Gun safety is of the utmost importance for every gun owner. Whether ensuring children are safe while a gun is kept in the home to staying safe at the shooting range or when hunting, it is imperative that responsible gun owners understand the dangers associated with firearms and take steps to prevent accidents and tragedies from occurring. In 1999, there were 3,385 cases of firearm related deaths in children 19-years-old and younger. Of those, 215 were accidental.
The following tips will help ensure you handle guns safely in a variety of settings and environments.
Gun safety in the home is extremely important and firearm owners must ensure they properly lock and secure their firearms so children will not have access to them. While these tips may seem basic, it is important to make sure these steps are always taken, they can help prevent tragig accidents from occuring. Keep firearms in a locked case where it will not be easily found or accessed by children, and always ensure the gun in the case is unloaded. When handling firearms, double check to make certain there is no ammunition and keep the safety on. Create a system of method every time you handle your firearm. First check that it is unloaded, keep the safety on, and then hand it to the intended person if desired. The person handling the gun should then go through the steps of checking to ensure it is unloaded and making certain the weapon has the safety on. You can never be too careful when it comes to firearm safety in the home.
- Gun Safety for Kids and Youth: Your Child: The University of Michigan Health System examines facts and statistics regarding gun safety for children in the home.
- Gun Safety Tips: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia provides several tips on gun safety within the home.
- Statistics, Gun Control Issues, and Safety: The University of Utah Spencer S. Eccles Health Science Library examines the importance of fire safety in the home.
- Gun Safety in the Home: Duke Trauma Center shares safety tips for those who keep guns in the home.
At the shooting range
While at a shooting range, whether indoor or outdoor, you must make certain to pay close attention to gun safety. The first rule is to familiarize yourself with the range’s rules and requirements. Keep in mind that you will need to demonstrate proper gun etiquette, as you are sharing the range with instructors and other shooters. Someone acting inappropriately while at the range can endager everyone around. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to speak to a range officer and ask for help. Also, if you see someone acting in appropriately or unwisely on the range, notify an officer so they may take care of the situation immediately.
- NJROTC Guide to AR Safety: Guide from NJROTC that is applicable for those shooting on ranges. (PDF)
- The Fundamentals of Firearm Safety: The University of Oregon examines gun safety on the shooting range and more.
- Firearm Safety and Safe Range Operation (PDF): The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences discuss gun safety at shooting ranges.
- Outdoor Shooting Ranges Best Practices (PDF): This guide from the state of Minnesota discusses firearm safety at the shooting range and has recommendations applicable for all.
- Firearms Safety Depends On You (PDF): The National Shooting Sports Foundation discusses guns and safety on the shooting range and beyond.
Hunters must ensure that they use proper safety methods to reduce the risk of danger or injury. One of the most important steps hunters can take to ensure their own safety, as well as the safety of others, is to take a course or other form of education regarding hunting safety. Those in need of classes should check with the International Hunter Education Association, as there are always resources available that will help hunters institute safety practices when hunting.
- Hunting Safety: Information for Hunters and Non-Hunters (PDF): The United States Forest Service offers safety tips for hunters.
- North Dakota 4-H Firearm Safety (PDF): Firearm safety as detailed in this PDF guide.
- Stop Gun Injuries and Death (PDF): The University of Minnesota looks at gun safety while hunting.
- Weapons, Firearms, Fireworks, and Projectiles: Dean of the College of Dartmouth looks at the dangers of