Firearms Safety, Links, Information
1. CONSIDER ALL GUNS TO BE ALWAYS LOADED - Each and every time you pick-up or are handed a firearm or pass it along to another person, check immediately (with finger off trigger) to make sure it is not loaded.  Learn how to look into the chamber(s) and magazine, if any, which may be fixed, detachable, or tubular for the presence of live ammunition.  Remove any magazine and unload all firearms before handling, dry firing, or cleaning, etc.  If you don't know how to check the chamber(s), seek help from either the gun-manufacturer's instructions, the dealer or an authorized salesperson.

2. LEARN HOW THE FIREARM FUNCTIONS (OPERATION OF THE SAFETY, ETC.) - Read all instructions supplied by the gun manufacturer.  If you are still not sure how the firearm works, ask the dealer or authorized salesperson.  If you are generally unfamiliar with firearms, seek further training and advice from safe-handling courses offered by a local gun club or NRA-approved instructors, etc.
 THE SAFETY - The safety is designed to prevent the accidental firing of the firearm.  A manual safety, usually a lever or button, when engaged, mechanically blocks the sear, hammer, firing pin, or any combination thereof.  The automatic safety, such as a separate grip safety usually found on a semi-automatic handgun, prevents firing until depressed when the hand firmly grasps the grip or stock.  Test the safety frequently with the gun unloaded.  If it “fires” with the safety engaged, the gun is unsafe.  See a competent gunsmith.
3. NEVER LEAVE A FIREARM (LOADED OR UNLOADED) WITHIN EASY REACH OR ACCESS OF A CHILD - If a child gains access to, or improperly uses your firearm, you may be fined or imprisoned, or both, if convicted of this reckless child-endangerment.  All children should be taught gun safety at an early age or when they show curiosity.  Impress upon them how deadly a firearm can be and they are not toys.  If a child's curiosity is satisfied with education and supervision, they are far less likely to seek-out a firearm and handle it without an adult being present.
4. LOADING THE FIREARM WITH PROPER AMMUNITION - Learn how to properly load the firearm and it's magazine, if any, with clean high quality, commercially manufactured ammo designed for that particular firearm.  Using the wrong ammo could destroy the gun and cause great bodily harm.  Reloaded ammunition could be outside safe pressure limits and its use may void a factory warranty.  Refer to instruction #9.  Again, after reading all supplied instruction, if you are unsure how to load the firearm, ask the dealer or authorized salesperson to demonstrate.

5. WHERE TO LEGALLY AND SAFELY SHOOT - Be sure to shoot only in authorized areas.  If you are unsure, ask the dealer or check with local law-enforcement.  For the first few times shooting, go with someone who knows the sport.  Learn proper conduct when shooting with others from a range-master or other knowledgeable person.  To avoid an accidental discharge, never place your finger on the trigger until the firearm is aimed at the target and you intend to fire.

6. BEFORE SHOOTING, MAKE SURE THE BARREL AND CHAMBER ARE CLEAN, DRY, AND FREE OF ANY OBSTRUCTIONS.
7. ALWAYS WEAR HEARING AND EYE PROTECTION WHEN SHOOTING OR OBSERVING.
8. MALFUNCTIONS - Cease firing, aim the firearm in a safe direction, wait 30 seconds, unload, and see a gunsmith, range-master, or other qualified person if the gun [a] fails to fire (misfire), [b] fires slightly after the trigger pull (hang-fire), [c] fires but produces a very slight or peculiar recoil (possibly a “squib load” that may lodge the bullet in the barrel causing a serious obstruction), [d] fails to feed ammo from the magazine, [e] fails to extract or eject rounds, or [f] does anything you don't understand.  Never shoot a firearm that fails to function properly.
 9. DANGER SIGNS OF EXCESSIVE PRESSURE - This potentially serious shooting condition, with many possible causes, may result in injury to the shooter and/or damage to the firearm.  Inspect some of the first few fired cartridge cases out of each lot of ammunition used.  Excessive pressure generally shows up around the base area of the case.  Watch out for [a] primers that are flattened, blown out, heavily cratered or extruded, [b] shiny ejector marks or general flattening on the base, [c] a black sooty gas leakage around the primer, or [d] head expansion or bulging.  Most reloading manuals show good pictures of these conditions.  Difficulty opening the action or ejecting the cases may also be signs of excessive chamber pressure.  If danger signs exist, stop using that lot and dispose of such ammunition as per manufacturer's instructions.  Continue shooting only when the firearm is functioning properly with ammunition showing no signs of excessive chamber pressure.
10. FIELD STRIPPING, CLEANING AND LUBRICATION - Follow the unloading steps prior to cleaning and stripping.  Learn these basically simple but very important operations to properly maintain your firearm.  Wear eye protection to avoid injury from flying parts, cleaning agents, or aerosol solvents.  Do not over lubricate - especially in the barrel where too much lubricant could obstruct the bullet's path and dangerously raise gas pressure.  Make sure barrel and internal operating parts are clear of any cleaning patches or other such materials before re-assembly.
11. TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS - It is generally acceptable for law-abiding persons, who are not prohibited by any law, to transport firearms to-and-from shooting ranges in any state, or to-and-from any other legal areas to shoot, hunt, or possess such firearms unless prohibited by Federal, State, or Local law.  Be sure all firearms are unloaded and locked in the trunk.  Store all ammo in a different part of the vehicle.

For additional information on firearms safety, please visit any of the sites listed below:

NRA Gun Safety Rules

NSSF Firearms Safety

Project ChildSafe (NSSF Sponsored) - Safety Curriculum


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