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Basic Firearms Safety
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Safety is the prime consideration of anyone who owns or handles firearms and safe gun handling is YOUR personal responsibility at all times. Owning or handling a firearm places upon you a full-time responsibility for safety and security that must be taken seriously at all times. Firearms are dangerous and can cause serious injury and death if they are misused or used inappropriately. You must take every effort to protect yourself and all others against injury or death from misuse of firearms.

With that said, here is a long, but important list of firearm safety principles:

  1. Get instruction from a competent firearms instructor before using any firearm
  2. Treat your firearm as a precision instrument - Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.
  3. Read the instruction manual for your firearm.
  4. Be sure all accessories, such as holsters and grips, are compatible with the firearm and that the accessories do not interfere with safe operation.
  5. Do not allow any alteration or replacement of parts in your firearm unless performed by a qualified gunsmith using genuine manufacturer's parts. If you do otherwise, improper functioning of your firearm may occur and serious injury may result.
  6. Discharging firearms in poorly ventilated areas, cleaning firearms, or handling ammunition may result in exposure to lead and other substances known to cause birth defects, reproductive harm, and other serious physical injury. Review the warnings and labels for all ammunition and cleaning products carefully. Have adequate ventilation at all times. Wash hands thoroughly after exposure.
  7. Firearms and alcohol or drugs don't mix. Do not shoot or handle firearms after consuming beer, wine, other alcoholic beverages or any medications or other drugs that may affect your ability.
  8. Never point any firearm, loaded or unloaded, at anything you do not intend to shoot
  9. Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded and would fire if the trigger is pulled . While handling any firearm, never allow it to point at any part of your body or at another person. - Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  10. Don't try to change your firearm's trigger pull, because alteration of trigger pull usually affects sear engagement and may cause accidental discharge.
  11. Finger off the trigger! Keep your finger off the trigger until you are actually aiming at the target and ready to shoot.
  12. If a firearm fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, keep it pointed at the target for at least 30 seconds. Sometimes slow primer ignition will cause a "hang" fire and the cartridge will go off after a short pause.
  13. When receiving a firearm always check that it is unloaded (Pistols: Remove magazine and open slide to check if chamber is empty. Revolvers: Open cylinder to check if it is empty), even if you saw it done previously.
  14. The safety is only a mechanical device, not a substitute for common sense - Don't test the safety by pulling the trigger while the safety is on unless you are absolutely sure the firearm is empty and you are pointing away from everyone.
  15. Firearms should be unloaded and securely stored when not in use.
  16. Never pull a firearm towards you by the muzzle.
  17. Never put your hand over the muzzle of a firearm.
  18. Never transport a loaded firearm.
  19. Never climb a tree or cross obstacles such as fences or streams or do anything awkward with a loaded firearm.
  20. Never carry or store a firearm with the hammer or striker in the cocked position.
  21. Do not allow a firearm to be used by individuals who do not know the basic firearms safety rules and do not understand the safe operation and rules of safe gun-handling.
  22. Load and unload with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  23. Check ammunition to be sure it is the right size and caliber, and that it is not dented.
  24. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before using a firearm.
  25. If there is any reason to suspect that a bullet is obstructing the barrel, immediately unload the firearm and look through the bore. It is not sufficient to merely look in the chamber.
  26. Be sure of your target and backstop before you shoot.
  27. Don't shoot at a hard surface or at water, the bullet may ricochet.
  28. Wear eye and hearing protection appropriate for firearm use every time you discharge your firearm. Make sure others in the vicinity of where you will be shooting do so as well.
  29. Use a proper holster and draw only if you intend to shoot.
  30. Never cock the firearm until you are ready to shoot.
  31. Dry firing is generally bad for a firearm, whether the hammer block is engaged or not.
  32. Never engage a gun lock on a loaded firearm.
  33. Be aware that old or reloaded ammunition may be dangerous.
  34. Be certain the firearm is unloaded before cleaning, every time!
  35. Always empty firearms before entering a place where there are people.
  36. Never leave a loaded firearm unattended.
  37. Store firearms and ammunition separately beyond the reach of children.
  38. Do not carry a handgun in your pocket, purse or waist-band. Use a pistol case or proper holster with safety flap or strap.
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