Guns are often important for home and personal defense, especially in states with high crime rates, but not knowing proper gun etiquette can endanger people and may get someone killed. Such careless handling of a gun is not cool.
Owning a gun is a big responsibility. Be a good and upstanding member of society by knowing the “good manners” of gun ownership. There are several disciplines of the proper handling of guns, but they can be summed up in three important rules.
Assume That All Guns Are Always Loaded
Guns should not be loaded when left at home or not in use. But sometimes, people can be forgetful and violate that rule. So don’t leave anything to chance and handle all guns as if they were always loaded.
One example of a terrible accident related to this rule is in CNN’s report about a father who, while cleaning his rifle in the kitchen, accidentally shot his own child.
Keep the Muzzle Pointed on the Ground or Off Anything That’s Not a Target
Always be aware of where the gun is pointing. Accidental discharges may happen. In order to avoid turning mistakes such those into serious or fatal accidents, keep the gun down and pointed on the ground. Do not point it at something that’s not a target.
It’s also important to be aware of anything behind the target. A lot of ammunition types for sale can go through most objects, causing unwanted collateral damage.
Lastly, under no circumstances should a warning shot be fired—especially into the air. Bullets fired upward will arc back down and potentially hit someone. This can lead to negligent homicide. Furthermore, warning shots are illegal in most states. As such, it is always recommended to fire only with the intent to hit your target.
Observe Good Trigger Discipline
Most gun-related accidents are caused by not observing trigger discipline. Trigger discipline means keeping the index finger off the trigger unless ready to shoot. If a finger is on the trigger, any involuntary reflex or reaction from the one holding the gun—especially if the person is in a state of panic or under pressure—can cause an accident.
This rule is called trigger discipline for a reason. Fingers naturally curl inward if left alone. Since constant conscious awareness on the hands’ activities is impossible, trigger discipline needs to be drilled into muscle memory. This can be practiced by extending the index finger, resting it on the barrel of the gun, and keeping it there until it becomes sore. Repeating this every day will make trigger discipline a habit.
Following these three rules will reduce any serious accidents from happening. If there are children in the house, you have more reason to stick to these rules.
There are other safety measures taught by veterans, but the three listed above are the core fundamentals that every new gun owner should know. Remember that owning a gun is a big responsibility. Own up to that responsibility by keeping these three rules to heart.