Gun ownership and safety are subjects of immense controversy in the United States. Most argue that the second amendment reserves people the right to own guns, while sectioned groups believe gun ownership is a public health concern. The truth, however, is that guns aren’t going anywhere soon, underpinning the importance of devising ways that guarantee their safer use.
Here are some things to know about gun safety in the U.S.:
- Go Beyond Your Gun’s ‘Safety’ Lock
The ‘safety’ mechanism prevents accidental firearm discharge for safer handling. It’s prudent to ensure it’s always on when not using your gun. However, it’d be safer to treat your gun as if it’d fire any time for the most part, even with the safety on. Safety locks also malfunction at times, and the results can be fatal.
When storing your gun in the gun rack, it’s also ideal to ascertain that the safety is on to avoid accidents the next time you handle it. It’s also highly recommended that you unload your gun before storage to ensure safety and for some much-needed peace of mind.
- Always Keep The Gun Pointed In A Safer Direction
It’s more thoughtful to keep your gun pointed in a safer direction than at someone or yourself. Also, be more cautious of pointing your gun on your feet, even with its safety on. You’d want to avoid handling it in a way that may cause an accidental shooting and subject you and the people around you to harm.
Guns can be incredibly sensitive to movements, and a slight twitch of the trigger can get them firing. Be keen on this rule even when your gun isn’t loaded as a safety precaution.
- Keep Guns Away From Children
Children can be naturally curious, and guns may quickly draw them in. As a natural reaction and an irresistible intuition, they may want to handle them and explore. That can be incredibly dangerous for unaware children, even if you’re sure that the gun they’ll handle isn’t loaded.
The U.S. has several gun laws to protect children from accidental shootings and other firearm-related accidents. These include the following, which you should observe:
- Child Access Prevention (CAP): This law protects children from gun-related accidents by urging gun owners to block their access. Violating this law can get you charged with criminal liability.
- Juvenile Possession Laws: This law is prevalent in most states and prohibits juveniles from possessing handguns and firearms. Violating this law can attract severe punishment.
- Gun-Free School Zones: The federal law prohibits the use of guns in school to safeguard students. That’s a viable measure to prevent possible shootings that can lead to the loss of innocent young lives in learning centers.
- Hunting Laws: Most states have laws that regulate game hunting, including the types of firearms they can use and the minimum allowable age. It’s best to be familiar with your state rules to ensure safety.
Children can be likely victims of gun violence and shootings, and keeping them away from these weapons from their tender ages can be prudent.
- Always Unload Your Firearms When Not In Use
When storing your guns, it’d be best to ensure they aren’t loaded, even if you can guarantee safety in a cabinet or locked safe. Ensure the magazine is detached and you’ve ejected any rounds from the chamber.
Moreover, inspecting the gun afterward is more thoughtful to ensure you’ve completely unloaded it before storing it. It’s best to store your ammunition separately to prevent access and save lives. But even after doing so, you should always carefully handle your gun the next time you want to use it and treat it as if it’s loaded.
- Use The Correct Ammunition
It can be prudent to consult with your gun services provider or read your gun’s manual to ensure you use the correct ammunition. Gun and ammunition manufacturers create specific ammunition for some gun models, which is best to know. Using less-fitting ammunition or those not designed for your gun can lead to possible misfires, explosions, and malfunctioning. Besides, it can prove fatal if your ammunition doesn’t match your gun’s model.
The best part of using the correct ammunition is that it helps improve your target accuracy when using your gun within the law. Moreover, your firearm will function reliably, and you may comply with regulations as needed. Some ammunition may work for a few closely related models, but it’d be prudent to consult with your gun service provider to guarantee safety.
- Know Your Target And What Is Beyond
When shooting, it’s always best to understand who’s beyond your target to prevent accidental shooting. Remember, bullets can travel at supersonic speeds, sometimes going through various soft obstacles and emerging on the other side. Shooting without carefully analyzing your bullet’s impact apart from your target can be a bit not-so-careful and fatal as you may easily injure others.
Also, consider the event that the bullet ricochets into another direction and how impactful that can be to the people around you. Moreover, ensure that no other explosives from your bullet’s trajectory, including gas cylinders, are in the way.
- Never Use Drugs Before Shooting
Alcohol and hard drugs like cocaine and heroin can significantly influence your decisions with a gun in your hand. However, even over-the-counter and regular prescription drugs can influence your gun handling, predisposing you and others around you to harm. If you’re under any influence, it’s best to avoid handling guns until you’re your original and sober self.
One in five Americans have lost a family member due to gun violence, and drug influence can be a contributing factor. Although there’s quite a lot going on in this issue, it’s clear that solving the drug crisis might offer some reprieve and prevent the loss of lives. Remember, any possession of weapons, including guns, while under the influence of drugs can constitute a legal offense in some U.S. states, mainly a misdemeanor.
Gun safety remains a controversial topic within the U.S. Most of these arguments lie on whether possessing guns is a legal and human right or a public health concern that the federal government must deal with. But while the dust needs to settle, it’s clear that people need more information on handling these weapons carefully and safely.