Please read and LEARN the following rules for a Safe Home and Safe day at the Range!
Some of this is repetitive but worth the re-read.
The 12 Golden rules for Safe Gun
the gun as loaded. 2.
Always keep the
gun pointed in a safe direction.
your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
Always keep the
gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
Never point the gun at anything you
don't intend to destroy.
Be sure of your target and what is
Learn the mechanical and handling
characteristics of the gun you are using.
Always use proper Ammunition.
Be sure the barrel is clear of
obstructions before loading and shooting.
If your gun fails to fire when the
trigger is pulled, hold your shooting position for several seconds; then with
the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, carefully unload the gun.
Don't rely on the gun's safety to
keep it from firing.
Be aware of your surroundings when
handling guns so you don't trip or lose your balance and accidentally point
and/or fire the gun at anyone or anything.
Follow the 12 golden rules.
Know and follow all the rules of the
Listen and do what the Range Master or
RSO tells you to do.
Uncase and case your gun at the
shooting bench, never behind the safety line.
Always keep the barrel pointed down
Always keep the gun on safe until
you intend to shoot.
Always wear eye and ear protection
Never shoot at water or hard
Follow the 12 golden rules.
When hunting in a group, always pick
one person to act as a Safety Officer for the Day or Trip.
Establish and share everyone's zone
of fire with each other and know where everyone is at all times.
Always keep the gun on safe until
you intend to shoot. 5.
Never climb over anything with a
loaded gun in your hand or on your person. 6.
Never use a scope on a gun as
If you fall or trip, control your
muzzle. Afterward, check the gun for damage and/or obstructions in the barrel. 8. When in Doubt; Don't shoot!
As a parent, you’ve likely thought about how to make sure your child is "gun safe" because many Americans own and keep guns in their homes.
Children are naturally curious. To learn about the world, they gravitate towards new and interesting things, especially something that often gets portrayed as "taboo" like guns (or sex, drugs, or alcohol). Though it can be a nerve-wracking discussion, an important part of preparing your child to be an adult is teaching them how to think about guns when they do encounter one, whether that’s in your home or someone else’s.
What about if you want a gun-free household? Your child will still see guns used in the movies and on TV. They’ll also likely come into contact with one at a friend or relative’s house, given the stats detailed below. That’s why properly educating your child on gun safety is a lifesaving skill for all children. Here are the best ways to ensure your family knows how to properly handle guns, whether you keep them in your house or not.
Ask This Question First
According to Asking Saves Kids (ASK), a national campaign to encourage gun safety, one in three American homes with children has a gun. So even if you don’t keep guns at home, the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Campaign promotes a simple, yet ingenious idea that can help keep your child safe wherever they go. They advise parents and caregivers to ask this one critical question:
"Is there an unlocked gun in your house?"
Parents, or anyone in care of a child, need to ask this important question before deciding whether to send a child over to someone’s house to play. Conversely, if children are coming over to your house to play, then it’s also important that you tell the child’s parents beforehand that you keep a gun at home. Keeping kids safe takes communication by everyone involved.
Safety Starts at Home
If you choose to keep a firearm in your home, you need to keep it in a securely-locked location only you can access. Here are three tips on how to do this:
- Use a safe. While gun safety education benefits children, the best way for you to make certain children don’t handle your guns without your supervision is to store all firearms and ammunition in a safe, secure place. You can find gun safes of all sizes, including the small and affordable ones that can fit into a nightstand. You can get your firearm quickly using a digital keypad or biometric touchscreen.
- Know where and how to secure firearms. Only adults who use the guns and ammo should know where and how to access them. Any gun, even stored in a safe, should be unloaded when you’re not using it.
- Do it now, not later. If you carry a handgun outside the home, make it a habit to immediately put your gun in a safe as soon as you get home. Don’t put it down on a table with the intention of storing it later. You may forget.
If you choose not to have firearms in the house, you still need to educate your children on proper gun safety. Sooner or later, your child will likely come into contact with a gun at someone else’s house. Guns are like alcohol or drugs. As a responsible parent, you need to educate your child first on guns, before they come into contact with them when you’re not around. You don’t want someone else raising your kids for you, especially about a topic so important to their protection. If they know exactly what to do, their chances for acting safe and responsible go up considerably.
Modern Ways to Secure Firearms
Thanks to modern innovation, there are many safe and secure ways to store your firearms and ammunition. They include the following top three types:
- Biometrics – Fingerprints, a uniquely identifying feature of an individual, is the feature biometric gun safes utilize to lock and protect firearms and ammunition. Biometric safes provide the highest level of protection and prevent unauthorized entry. They are designed to enable only those with stored fingerprints in its database to gain access. Naturally, they are quick, reliable, accurate and easy to use. Because all you need are your fingerprints, you don’t have to carry a key, recall a code or try to nervously key a combination in an emergency.
On the downside, biometric safes need electricity to power reading units, storage and other components. If the electricity goes out, or your battery goes dead, you can be locked out of your own safe. To avoid this, opt for a biometric safe with a key override feature. Be sure to keep the reader clean and free from damage to avoid reader problems, as well.
One of the top models available today is the Barska Biometric Safe, priced around $175. It is capable of storing a few small guns and works well for households and offices. You can mount it wherever you want for fast and easy access when you need it most. The Barska Biometric Safe is great for use in emergency situations.
- Multi-Gun Safes – You can find a variety of multi-gun safes on the market; however, Stack-On gun safes are considered the best out there. Stack-On gun safes are affordable, sturdily built and meet all the government regulations and certifications you need to securely store all of your guns. All Stack-On multi-gun safes are tested to withstand fires up to 1400 degrees F and they are sturdy enough to handle falls and bumps. They offer a variety of styles in several price ranges.
- Gun Cabinets – Most gun cabinets of yesteryear don’t come with locks and other security features, but the new, modern ones do, so opt to buy a recent model for better security and safety. If you must go for an antique model, be sure to equip it with the best locking mechanism you can find.
- Safety Bullet - If you want to keep your gun loaded and in an easily-accessible place yet you also want to secure it so it can't be inadvertently used, then the Safety Bullet is a great tool. It allows you to keep a custom-made "dummy bullet" chambered first that makes your gun unusable if it's accidentally fired. All you have to do is cycle your gun to remove the Safety Bullet and then it's ready for live action. Watch this short educational video from the Safety Bullet's creator to learn more.
The Paragon 7550 8 Safe for Gun Rifles is the top gun cabinet under $500, because it comes with an ample amount of security and space for storing up to eight guns. It can also anchor to the wall or floor. Two other affordable models that are high-quality include the Stack-On GCDB-924 10-Gun Double-Door Steel Security Cabinet and the Homak HS30003630 12-Gun Security Cabinet, Silver Vein.
No matter what type of gun safe you opt for, you may want to consider one more safety step: anchoring. If your gun safe is not properly anchored, burglars can break into it by moving it to someplace else where they can take the time to gain entry.
Hence, it is important to also ensure that your safe is well hidden and not easy to find. Anchoring provides additional security regardless of the size of your safe. Every safe comes with a hole on the bottom, which you can easily anchor into concrete or wooden floors. If you wish to take your safe with you, or you want to relocate it, all you have to do is remove the bolts.
Have "The Gun Talk" Often
Sit down with your children and have multiple conversations on guns and gun safety. Establish family rules for how to handle the presence of guns in any situation. How soon should you start? The answer depends on the comprehension and maturity level of your child.
Here are some guidelines for discussing firearms:
- Remove the romance. Talk about how television, movies and the Internet sometimes romanticize guns, and explain how that is not a reality.
- Provide the facts. Talk about how many people each year are injured and killed by firearms, and explain their main uses, too, like for the police to maintain order, for hunting and for personal protection.
- Talk about unsafe neighborhoods in your town or city. Discuss unsafe neighborhoods and areas with high crime rates that your child may need to avoid.
- Bring a buddy. Tell your child to use the buddy system for safety by never going anywhere alone.
- No secrets allowed. Give your children a safe space to tell you about bullying or other threads of violence that they encounter to you right away.
- Nurture a healthy respect for firearms. Give your child the tools to be smart around guns in the right environment. There is a time and a place for everything, so if your family likes to go on hunting trips, for example, make sure your child knows the difference between using a rifle out in the field and leaving a rifle unloaded and locked away safely at home.
- Know and teach children gun laws. Lead by example, and practice good safety habits regarding ownership and ongoing storage.
A number of programs, including the ‘Gun Safe’ campaign, don’t take a bad or good stance on guns and the related laws. Rather, the programs focus on safety. For example, the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, teaches that, if children see a gun, they should do these four things:
- Don’t Touch
- Leave the Area
- Tell an Adult
Ensuring your child remembers these four things can help protect them if there is a gun present without proper adult supervision.
Keep in Touch
In today’s busy world, it can be harder than ever to keep track of your kids, especially when they become mobile and are driving with or in other kid’s cars. There are a number of smartphone apps, like Glympse or Life360, that help you track family members and get instant updates when their location changes.
For college students or kids away from home for the first time, bSafe is a good app for being in an unfamiliar location. It also helps friends keep track of each other for added safety, and has many other helpful features.
Here are some more modern innovations to help you keep your child safe at all times:
- School Safety Response SOS Screen – Aimed more for schools than individual kids, the GEOS School Safety Response system provides an instant link between schools and emergency responders via an SOS/Panic button on your mobile device. One touch of a button gives an exact GPS location to emergency responders and allows them to listen live to what's happening. For the next year, this is a free service for schools, so it might be worth a call to your local school district to see if they're taking advantage of the program.
- Zubie – If you have a young driver, Zubie can bring you some peace of mind, even if you don't drive a totally-connected car. You just plug it into your car's diagnostic port and it will share speed, location and GPS data, as well as diagnostic data with you, so you’ll be alerted if there are any problems. This is great if your kids are driving back and forth to college or work. You can purchase the Zubie device and service for around $100.
- V. ALRT – There are many wearable trackers your kids can wear, in a variety of price ranges, as well. An affordable options in $60 range is the V. ALRT, which allows children to send urgent texts, calls and location information to as many as three preprogrammed contacts. All parents need is the related app to be connected 24/7 on their smartphones. The V. ALRT can also sense a fall, which is an added bonus if you have an accident-prone child like most parents do.
- FiLIP 2 – Although a bit pricey at approximately $200, the FiLIP, is a spy gadget type of watch/phone your kids will love to wear. Parents are able to program contacts into this device, as well as locate and track their kids. You can even set up a geo-fenced "SafeZone," an area you preprogram to allow the wearer to travel in that area without having to worry. When your kids venture outside of the safe zone, an instant alert goes to your smartphone.
Knowledge is power and these modern inventions help ensure you're always in the know.
Learn About Gun Safety Together
Take time as a family to learn gun safety together. There are a number of programs designed for families and children, so take advantage of what they have to offer. Here are some of the top programs out there today:
- Field & Stream provides practical insight, suggesting a bucket list of ideas such as training at the range and shadowing seasoned gunmen first before children use guns on their own.
- Not to dismiss the feminine side of gun instruction, fead what The Well-Armed Woman has to say about introducing children to guns.
- The NRA, along with "Eddie the Eagle", give parents advice on discussing firearms and the need for respect and safety when around and using guns.
- The Kids Health site gives insight on diet, exercise, and domestic security. Read what you should do if you have guns in the home, how to discuss firearms and home protection with kids, etc.
- The State of California lays down basic rules and tips for gun owners, devoting a section to gun-owning parents and associated responsibility.
At first glance, guns can be a scary topic. With knowledge and discussion amongst your family though, you can keep everyone safe. To do so, you need to exercise common sense, learn a bit of gun safety know-how and have an open conversation with your children.
Give your kids the knowledge they need to be safe. They’ll thank you, and they may even help their friends also learn to be gun safe. Make it a family affair, whether or not you choose to keep guns in your home. Lock them up and always remember to ask, "Do you keep an unlocked gun in your house?"
- Always point the muzzle in a safe direction; never point a firearm at anyone or anything you don't want to shoot.
- Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
- Keep the action open and the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
- Never pass a firearm to another person, or accept a firearm from another person, until the cylinder or action is open and you've personally checked that the weapon is completely unloaded.
- Before handling any firearm, understand its operation.
- Never rely on any mechanical device for safety.
- Think before shooting: once you pull the trigger you can't take back the shot you've just fired!
- Never joke around or engage in horseplay while handling or using firearms.
- Be alert at all times; never shoot if you're tired, cold or impaired in any way. Don't mix alcohol or drugs with shooting.
- Don't sleep with a loaded firearm in your bedroom if you sleepwalk, have nightmares, sleep restlessly or have other sleep problems.
- Safeguard your sight, hearing and health. Always wear eye and ear protection. Endeavor to limit your exposure to heavy metal particulates and gases, and minimize your contact with aromatic organic solvents (such as those commonly used in gun cleaning products).
- If you see unsafe behavior any time when firearms are being handled or used, speak up and take action to correct the unsafe behavior at once.
- Receive competent instruction from a qualified person before beginning to shoot. If questions arise later, after you've been shooting for a period of time, get answers to those questions from a competent authority.
- Positively identify your target and the threat it poses before firing at it.
- What's behind your target? Always make sure that a stray shot, or a bullet which penetrates its intended target through and through, will be safely stopped.
- Never shoot at a hard surface, or at water -- your shot may glance off, ricochet and injure someone.
- Never shoot at glass bottles, living trees, or inappropriate targets which would create a hazard for other persons or damage the environment.
- Never shoot a rifle or handgun directly upwards, or at a high angle of elevation. Even a rimfire .22 bullet fired at an angle into the air can have enough energy a mile and a half away to accidentally kill someone!
- Never shoot across a highway or other roadway.
- Never vandalize a road sign (or other public or private property) by using it as a target.
- Never poach a game animal out of season, or shoot any game animal you don't intend to eat.
- Make sure your firearm is in good mechanical condition before firing it. Periodically have your firearm checked for signs of erosion, cracking, or wear by the factory, by a qualified armorer, or by a factory certified gunsmith.
- Never try to fire a gun which may have a plugged or partially obstructed barrel.
- Insure that any modifications made to a firearm are made by a qualified individual, and that those modifications don't interfere with your firearm's safety features.
- Be sure all accessories, such as holsters and grips, are compatible with the firearm and won't interfere with its safe operation.
- Remember: a backup firearm carried about your person may be highly valuable to you in the event your primary firearm is ever rendered inoperable or is taken from you by an assailant.
- It is your responsibility to insure that your firearm is always either about your person and under your personal control, or positively secured from access by children or other unauthorized parties. Prevent tragedy: lock down your firearms when they aren't in use.
- When storing a firearm for a long period of time, consider storing the slide, bolt, or other critical components of the firearm separately under separate lock and key.
- Never carry a single action revolver with a round under the hammer unless that revolver is a modern transfer-bar type, equipped with an inertial firing pin.
- Never carry a pistol with a round in the chamber unless the pistol has an automatic firing-pin block and/or an inertial firing pin.
- Generally avoid carrying or storing an external hammer-type firearm with its hammer cocked. Exercise extreme care in decocking any external hammer firearm: it is very easy to experience an accidental discharge while doing so if your thumb slips off the hammer.
- Generally avoid unloading a firearm by working the cartridges through the action one-at-a-time; drop the magazine and then eject the round which may be left in the chamber, instead, if possible.
- Never use a scope mounted on a firearm as a general purpose spotting scope: while observing an area you may end up accidentally aiming your firearm at fellow hunters, or other non-targets.
- Avoid trying to catch a live round (while unloading a semiautomatic pistol) by cupping your hand around the ejection port while retracting the slide; doing so may result in an accidental discharge.
- Be sure your gun and ammunition are compatible. Shooting incorrect ammunition in a firearm may cause it to be damaged or even make it blow up.
- Relying on ammunition which doesn't feed reliably in your particular firearm may make your firearm malfunction at a critical juncture: get experience with a particular lot of ammunition in your firearm before relying on it for defensive purposes.
- Use only ammunition recommended for your firearm by its manufacturer. Never fire ammunition which exceeds industry standard pressure specifications. Over-pressure ammunition will reduce the service life of your handgun, and puts you and those around you at risk of a catastrophic firearm failure.
- Use reloaded ammunition judiciously. Be aware that many firearms manufacturers specifically forbid the use of reloaded ammunition in their products, and will void their product's warranty if you elect to use reloaded ammunition in contravention of their instructions. Also remember that a cartridge which has: the wrong powder, no powder charge, or too large a powder charge; an inverted primer, mis-seated primer, the wrong type of primer or an inert primer; a mis-seated, inverted, or mis-sized bullet; a collapsed, weakened, improperly sized or mis-crimped case; incorrect overall length or any of a host of other defects may seriously jeopardize your safety, the safety of those around you, and/or the reliability of your firearm in a defensive situation. Many shooters prepare and safely use reloaded ammunition each day, and it can be an economical way to stretch your ammunition budget, but the safety of that reloaded ammunition directly depends on the care, components, equipment, and practices used in preparing it.
- Carry only one caliber of ammunition when shooting. Accidentally grabbing the wrong ammunition while shooting can result in a shooter or third party being injured, or damage or destruction of a firearm.
- Insure you carry sufficient spare ammunition for your defensive firearm, and make sure you carry it in a readily employable fashion (such as in spare magazines or in speedloaders).
- Store ammunition that isn't being used under lock and key, inaccessible to unauthorized parties and children.
- Dispose of unwanted ammunition safely.
- Always use a holster which is designed for, and which fits, your handgun.
- Make sure your holster covers the trigger guard of your handgun.
- Purchase a holster which allows you to obtain a secure grip on your handgun while it is still holstered.
- Be sure the thumb break, safety strap, or other firearm retention device on your holster is functional and consistently employed. A good holster should retain your firearm during normal carry and routine physical activity, but no holster can insure that a firearm will be secure against determined attempts at disarmament, or keep a firearm secure during all possible physical activities.
- Avoid clip-on holsters and magazine pouches. These carriers may fail to stay clipped to the belt and end up being drawn along with the firearm or the magazine they still hold, thereby interfering with use of the firearm or with timely reloading.
- Avoid paddle-style holsters, cross draw holsters, and similar holsters which provide poor weapon retention.
- Avoid ankle holsters, shoulder holsters and other types of holsters which can introduce unnecessary delays in accessing a defensive firearm.
- Avoid carrying a defensive firearm in a purse, pocketbook, daypack or briefcase. A firearm carried in that fashion is:
- Typically hard to rapidly access due to the presence of slow-to-open zippers, multiple latches, etc.,
- Often hard to find and draw amidst all the other items routinely carried, since few purses or briefcases include a dedicated handgun-carrying compartment,
- Prone to being unavailable when needed, since briefcases, purses and other carriers are routinely set down or put away in a desk drawer where they may or may not be readily accessible and under your physical control,
- Unusually vulnerable to being stolen, since purses, pocketbooks, daypacks and briefcases are prime targets for purse snatchers, pick pockets, muggers and thieves,
- Prone to misfunction in an emergency since materials carried along with your handgun in a purse or brief case may gum up the firearm's mechanism and potentially interfere with its proper operation, and
- Likely to allow your handgun to accidentally become visible to shop clerks, bank tellers or other parties while you are searching for your checkbook or locating a credit card, and that inadvertent exposure may potentially result in a tense situation or even a tragic over-reaction on the part of an individual noticing the firearm and/or summoning law enforcement officers to the scene.
- Never carry a handgun tucked into your belt or waistband without a holster (i.e., so-called ``mexican carry''). A handgun carried in this fashion may be unintentionally dislodged, fall onto a hard surface and accidentally discharge or be damaged. Inside the waistband-type holsters will allow you to obtain the concealment of this type of carry while simultaneously providing vastly improved firearm retention.
- Always employ a proper magazine holder or speed loader carrier to carry your spare ammunition. Select a design that secures and protects your speedloaders or magazines while still making them readily available for use. Avoid ammunition loops and ammo dump boxes.
- Never put a partially empty magazine or speedloader back into a magazine carrier or speedloader pouch: only full magazines or full speedloaders belong in a carrier. Partially empty magazines or speed loaders should go into your pocket; empty magazines or speedloaders should be allowed to fall where they're used during an emergency. Miscellaneous Safety Rules.
- At a range, obey the commands of the range officers, or any individual calling `cease fire,' at once. Read, know and follow any rules peculiar to a particular range which you may be using.
- Be careful of hot gases and metal shavings ejected at the forcing cone of a revolver.
- Keep your fingers and other parts of your body away from the muzzle, the rear of the slide, and the ejection area of a semiautomatic pistol.
- In the event of a misfire, keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction, remove your finger from the trigger, wait ten seconds, then eject the cartridge and dispose of it properly.
- If you hear an unusual sound upon squeezing the trigger or feel an unusual recoil, stop shooting and investigate. You may have experienced a ``squib'' load (or under-powered cartridge), and it may have caused a bore obstruction. Keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction, remove your finger from the trigger, wait ten seconds, then unload the firearm and safely examine the barrel, checking carefully for any possible obstructions before reloading and resuming shooting.
- Never ---
- Climb a tree with a loaded firearm,
- Cross a fence with a loaded firearm,
- Jump a ditch or ford a stream with a loaded firearm,
- Scale or descend a steep incline or hill with a loaded firearm,
- Climb a tree, or climb into a hunting stand with a loaded firearm,
- Prop or lean a loaded firearm against a tree or other surface which may allow it to slide, or
- Transport a cased loaded firearm.
- Always carry your firearms in a way which will allow you to control where the muzzle is pointing, should you stumble or fall.
- A ballistic vest may substantially improve your chances of surviving an armed encounter on the street.
- Always wear a thousand square inches or more of blaze orange while in the field during hunting season.
- Blackpowder (and replica blackpowder) firearms require additional safety precautions not discussed here. Obtain qualified instruction in the safe operation of blackpowder firearms before attempting to load or fire any such firearm.
- Circumstances may require additional safety rules unique to a particular situation.
- Use of a simplex-type locking box for securing firearms which need to be kept loaded yet available for ready-access defensive use, and
- Use of trigger locks or padlocks to secure firearms which don't need to be kept immediately available for defensive use.
- Gun security devices which rely solely on physical strength to secure firearms from unauthorized use are generally undesirable since ingenious children can potentially employ leverage or tools to overcome those devices.
- "Hiding" a firearm won't secure it from discovery and possible misuse by curious children or intruders.
- Metal gun cabinets or gun safes can be used to safeguard firearms from unauthorized access or theft in many circumstances and metal gun cabinets or gun safes are generally preferable to open racks or glass-front cabinets.
- Firearms should be stored unloaded and separate from ammunition when the firearm isn't needed for ready-access defensive use.
- You may want to store critical components of a firearm (such as the gun's bolt or slide) separately from the rest of the firearm when the gun won't be used in the immediate future.
- Consider engraving your firearms with your social security number, driver's license number, or concealed firearms license number to deter theft and facilitate return of stolen firearms which may happen to be recovered.
- Explore "gun-proofing" your child by proper training, and by controlled and closely supervised access to firearms to reduce your child's natural unsatisfied curiosity about firearms