Whether you want to purchase a firearm for hunting, shooting targets or personal protection, you need to be committed to responsibility and safety. By following the guidelines set forth below, you will be contributing to a new form of gun ownership – one that aims to reduce the number of accidental firearms injuries and deaths.
- Informed Purchasing Decision – If you’re in the market for a gun, you need to understand what makes up a firearm – type, model and caliber – are just the basics. Make sure you research different types of guns, read reviews, handle the weapon and test the gun before purchasing. Speak to experts at shooting facilities or local firearm retailers for more information.
- Gun Storage – You’ve decided what gun to buy, but have you looked into gun storage? The number one essential responsible gun ownership rule is to safely store guns to help prevent firearm misuse, accidents and thefts. Whether you opt for a gun lock and gun storage or just one, you are responsible for determining what type of gun storage works best for you.
- Safety Training Class – Any gun owner should know how to shoot his/her gun. If you’re new to firearms, take a firearm safety training class, which are often held at firearms retailers or local ranges. Even people that have been long-time gun owners can always benefit from a gun safety refresher course. Classes usually discuss the use, safe handling, maintenance and storage of firearms.
- Talk to Your Family – Never assume that anyone in your household knows basic firearms rules or about firearm storage. Discuss firearm safety openly with children. You are responsible for making sure that children or other unauthorized people do not have access to your gun. However, you also need to remember that your children can see a gun at their friends’ houses, so they need to be educated about gun safety, talking to adults if they see weapons, etc.
- Keep Sharp Shooting Skills – A big part of being a responsible gun owner is understanding the safe operation and mechanical characteristics of your firearm. Always read any warnings, instructions or safety devices that the manufacturer provides with the gun. If you have any questions, contact an expert. Additionally, you need to practice and regularly assess your skills and training. If there isn’t a gun range near you and you have another safe area where you can discharge your weapon, consider investing in steel targets. These are designed for long-term use and will allow you to regularly practice firing your gun.
- Understand Family Dynamics Change – As your children get older, your talks with them about firearm safety should evolve. Revisit firearm storage with children and also discuss how children need to come to you if friends have guns. We all have a part in preventing school shootings, and the most important talks come from parents.
Responsible gun ownership is a lifelong journey. Your situation may change and evolve as time goes on, but it’s important for you to help build a safe firearm culture within your house, neighborhood and community.