There are certain safety protocols that need to be followed when it comes to guns. Guns are dangerous and can be deadly for you and those around you when misused. There are many different types of guns available but the 4 rules of gun safety apply to all guns regardless of whether its a colt revolver or a fully automatic pistol. These rules apply to new as well as more experienced gun owners.
1)Treat every firearm as if its loaded:
This is the most basic of all gun safety rules. What is means is that you should treat each and every single firearm as if its loaded. Even if you know that your gun is empty and you are willing to stake your life on it, don’t ! Treat it as if its a loaded gun and give it the same respect and caution that you would a loaded gun. Do not assume that you kept it a few days ago in a holster and its unloaded. There could be a round in the magazine or even a single round in the chamber. People often forget that guns can fire without the magazine even if there is even a single round in the chamber.
This is exactly how gun accidents happen because people think its empty. There are numerous statistics published every year with regards to accidental discharge. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), firearm injuries are a serous health problem. It is important to always treat your gun as loaded. Furthermore, always point your firearm in a safe direction. It does not matter whether you are out alone in woods, in a shooting range or in a gun store looking at guns, doing so can save lives.
2) Never aim your gun at anything that you do not want to shoot at and destroy:
Guns are meant to kill or destroy their targets be it animals or human. Do not point your gun at anyone or anything unless you are willing to shoot and destroy it. If you point at another person, it means that you are willing to shoot and kill. So do not point it at anything that you are not willing to shoot at. When you point a firearm at someone, the other person may draw his weapon in self defense. That is how a situation quickly escalates from bad to worse. So in order to avoid worsening the situation never aim your gun at anything you are not willing to shoot at.
Do not point your gun at anyone even if you know its not loaded. In case of a misfire, do not look down the barrel of your gun as it could be fatal.
3) Always keep your finger of the trigger until your sight is on the target and you are ready to fire:
A majority of firearm mishaps occur due to the violation of this rule alone.
As soon as you are off target, take your finger of the trigger and lower it to prevent accidental discharge. Also when you pick up the firearm, its important to keep your finger off the trigger. Once you pull the trigger there is no going back and you will be responsible for all the consequences. So keep your finger off the trigger until and unless you have made the decision to shoot.
4) Always be 100% sure what is your target and what is behind it:
It should be a legitimate target. Shoot at something only if you can see it and know what it is. It is important to have situational awareness when using guns. Do not shoot at a sound, bushes, walls, a silhouette or rustling sound in the woods or something that you cannot see. That is exactly how innocent people, bystanders and children get killed. Under the law, the maximum penalty that you could be convicted off in involuntary manslaughter is life in prison.
Targets made of steel can bounce back the bullets and injure the shooter so its vital to maintain a safe distance from your target. What is behind your target is equally as important as what your target is. Sometimes if the target is standing in front of window, a missed bullet could easily go through the window or wall depending upon its caliber and distance fired. Bullet wounds through walls can also be fatal. Therefore, it is important to know the range of your weapon and target as well as the type of bullet being used.
In the end don’t forget the small rules of gun safety like wearing protective (ballistic) eye glasses and using ear protection. Lastly as a responsible gun owner don’t forget to wear a gun holster.