According to a survey in 2018, the U.S. is by far the leading gun-owning country in the world, beating out the next country by more than 50%. While sales have declined during Trump’s presidency, industry data has clearly shown that gun sales have doubled over the past decade. Many Americans are exercising their right to bear arms, but gun ownership requires additional measures of safety as well. So, whether you are an experienced firearms expert or a first-time owner, and whether you own firearms for sport, hunting or self-defense, consider the following safety tips to keep you and those around you safe.
*Note that these tips do not deal with handling and shooting a firearm.
A big step in firearm safety is ensuring your guns are properly stored. Always check your local and state laws for any requirements in how you need to store your firearms and use that as a starting point. Even if not required by law, a fireproof safe with a lock is the preferred method to properly store firearms. Place the safe in a hidden location and secure the safe to the wall or floor. If you need to access a firearm for home protection, the location of the safe becomes important so that it is easily accessible. There are many self-defense specific safes that offer quick access via fingerprint or RFID card. The main goal is to prevent unauthorized access to your guns.
This is one of the biggest concerns I hear from gun owners. For children that are too young to understand, keeping guns locked up is usually sufficient. For older kids (and typically more curious), my biggest tip is to make your children aware. I believe it is imperative that children are taught safety and responsibility, as well as rules and boundaries regarding firearms. Current video games and movies have made guns cool to shoot, but it is our responsibility as parents to consistently define and demonstrate the safety and rules surrounding firearms.
To Load or Not to Load
I’m a firm believer (along with most instructors and the NRA) that a firearm should only be loaded when it is ready to be used. Keep ammunition in a separate location. In the case of home defense, this would require that your chosen home defense firearm is locked away, but actually loaded and ready to use immediately in defense of your home.
Anyone that is to handle firearms should always receive adequate training. This is not just for safety reasons. Whether you are shooting for sport, game or self-defense, understanding how to properly use your firearm will increase your enjoyment, proficiency, and ability.
Finally, a commonly overlooked tip is to purchase insurance protection. While safes, locks, and training can keep you safe before and during the use of firearms, insurance protection is able to give additional peace of mind that presents the greatest benefit after an incident has occurred. This is not just regarding insurance to cover theft, but also if an accident were to occur or the need for self-defense action in firing your gun. Reach out to your insurance agent to confirm what types of insurance protection you might need to best fit your specific situation.