Most people buy guns for protection. The firearm gives them confidence and safety and puts them on an even playing field with intruders and other dangerous people.
Gun ownership requires responsibility because your weapon could end someone’s life or yours. In many regions, firearm offence charges attract huge fines and longer jail time. Therefore, despite the benefits you enjoy from owning a gun, you must protect others and yourself from gun accidents, injuries, and deaths. This way, you make your surroundings safer.
Several practices can make you a responsible gun owner. Below are five essential measures to consider:
- Always Assume Your Gun Is Loaded
It’s advisable always to assume your gun is loaded. Even if you removed the ammunition yourself, ensure it isn’t loaded before you use it. You might think you have a gun without ammunition, point it at someone you’re just intimidating, but end up shooting them.
Even the most careful person can make errors. So, before handling your firearm, check if it’s loaded.
- Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger
It’s best to have your finger off the trigger when carrying your gun. You should do this even if you’re sure the firearm is locked and unloaded. Again, mistakes happen and are sometimes inevitable. With your finger on your gun’s trigger, a simple twitch or bump could cause you to discharge it unintentionally.
So, unless your eyes are on a target and you’re ready to shoot, keep your finger off the trigger to avoid accidents. If you must stay ready to fire, place your finger on the trigger guard instead.
- Take Gun Safety Training Classes
Some areas don’t require a person to undergo firearm safety training before buying a gun or carrying it in public. Owning a gun without knowing how to handle, store, or use it can be risky. Therefore, taking a safety training class is best before carrying, using, or even purchasing a gun. This keeps you and others around you safe by reducing the likelihood of accidents.
A gun safety training class teaches you how to handle, conceal, clean, load, and use your firearm. Additionally, you’ll learn about gun laws in your state or country.
Besides taking a safety class, you should also regularly go for training drills. Certified professionals must teach these. An expert can train you to draw your firearm from a certain position, accurately fire at one or multiple targets from a certain distance, and put your gun back in its holster. Regular training drills can help you better your gun-handling skills and make you a safer owner.
- Ensure Proper Storage
An essential thing to do as a gun owner is to provide proper storage. This means ensuring it’s inaccessible to teens, small children, thieves, and people with mental disorders. So, don’t put your gun in a kitchen cabinet, bedroom drawer, or under a mattress or pillow. These are obvious areas your weapon can easily be found. Instead, buy a gun safe or vault and ensure the storage facility is lockable. This way, you prevent access for the mentioned persons but ensure you can get it when necessary.
Furthermore, it would help to unload your gun before storing it. You must also ensure you keep it separate from the ammunition. This increases safety, especially if you live with kids, teens, and a loved one struggling with a mental health issue.
This precaution is also useful if an intruder obtains your gun. You won’t have to worry about them shooting you or your loved ones. Besides, you’ll be more confident to make the right decisions, like calling the police, because you know the gun isn’t loaded.
- Report Your Lost Or Stolen Gun
A lost or stolen gun increases the risk of illegal firearm trafficking and threatens public safety. In most cases, individuals with a criminal history find it hard to acquire a gun legally. Unfortunately, lost and stolen firearms are often traded illegally, making the weapons accessible to these dangerous people.
So, it’s best to report your stolen or lost gun. The police can easily trace and return it to your safe hands. Failing to tell law enforcement about your stolen or lost firearm also puts you at risk. You could be held responsible for a crime committed with your unreported weapon. This means you may be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on our state or country’s laws and the crime committed.
Owning a gun provides confidence and a sense of safety. However, having a firearm is a huge responsibility for you as the owner. You must ensure your safety and that of other people around you.
This article recommends you consider gun safety training, always assume your firearm is loaded, keep your finger off the trigger, ensure proper storage, and report your lost or stolen weapon. These are some of the practices that make you a responsible gun owner.
Kenneth is a proud native of sydney, born and raised there. However, he pursued his education abroad and studied in Australia. Kenneth has worked as a journalist for almost a decade, making valuable contributions to prominent publications such as Yahoo News and The Verge. Currently, he serves as a journalist for The Hear Up, where he focuses on covering climate and science news. You can reach Kenneth at [email protected].