4 Firearm Safety Rules
The 4 Firearm Safety Rules are something that everyone should have ingrained in their mind. Firearms will not go off “accidentally” if they are handled properly. In the media, we hear a lot about how bad guns are and how many people are killed by guns. A firearm has never killed anyone by itself. A firearm is just a tool. It can be used for its designed purpose which is to provide protection and/or recreation, or it can be misused to cause harm to innocent people. The difference between these uses is the person using the firearm, not the firearm itself.
With that being said, a firearm that is mishandled can cause great harm or even death. That is why these 4 firearm safety rules are so vitally important. These 4 firearm safety rules are to be exercised every single time you are around a firearm. It does not matter if the firearm is loaded. It does not matter if the firearm is a training gun. It does not even matter if you are alone in your house. You must get into the habit of following these 4 firearm safety rules every single time you pick up a firearm.
Let’s start with the first of the 4 firearm safety rules.
- Always assume the firearm is loaded.
It does not matter if the firearm has been unloaded and sitting in your safe for 10 years. If you pick that firearm up, treat it as if it is loaded. Go ahead and drop the magazine out of it and pull the slide back. Take a look to make sure the magazine is empty and that there is no round in the chamber. Unless you are about to defend yourself or shoot some targets at the range, you should never be handling a loaded firearm.
- Never point the firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy.
Your firearm should always be pointed in a safe direction. That is why we require all guns to be kept at the barricades and pointed down-range at all times because that is a safe direction. You should never ever point a firearm, loaded or unloaded, at another person unless you are defending yourself. You also should never point a firearm at any object that you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
Your firearm should never touch the trigger unless your sights are on the target. There is an excellent saying regarding this: “On target, on trigger; off target, off trigger.” When you are at the range and you are getting your firearm ready and loaded, you do not put your finger on the trigger. Once you lift the firearm and point it down-range at the target, you can then take your finger and rest it on the trigger. Once you have shot your target and you are bringing the firearm down to rest, you will take your finger back off the trigger.
- Always know your target and what is beyond your target.
You must always be aware of what your firearm is pointing at. If we are following rule number 2, your firearm will not be pointed at anything you aren’t willing to destroy but what is past that target? Just because you are willing to destroy that pop can, that does not mean that it is safe to shoot. Bullets do not just stop once they hit the target. Bullets can travel long past the targets, sometimes even miles. You must make sure there is nothing behind your target that could get hurt or damaged.
These rules are in an order that appears to show some as more important than others but, in reality, all 4 firearm safety rules must be followed in order to safely handle a firearm. If you leave one rule out but follow the other 3, you have failed to safely handle that firearm and could endanger someone’s life or your own.
The 4 firearm safety rules should be followed by all. These rules should be the first step to teaching your children, or any new shooter, about how to safely handle a firearm. It is also something that an experienced shooter should be reminded of often. Remember this, there is no such thing as an accidental discharge, only a negligent discharge. A gun will not fire by accident. It will only fire if someone has been negligent and failed to follow the 4 firearm safety rules.
Print them off and place them in a prominent location for all to see!