Millions of Americans own firearms and more people are choosing to become gun owners every day. At the same time, crimes and accidents with firearms have been decreasing. Help Project ChildSafe keep this trend going in the right direction with these safety precautions.
Before handling any firearm, familiarize yourself with these safety procedures:
- Know how the firearm operates — including safely opening and closing the action of the firearm, and removing ammunition from the gun or its magazine. Review the gun’s owner’s manual, or for free safety and operating instructions, write to the manufacturer or visit its website.
- Always keep a gun pointed in a safe direction, even when handling an unloaded gun — so that if it were to fire it would not result in injury.
- Never assume a firearm is unloaded. Make sure it is unloaded by opening the action and looking into the chamber(s), which should be clear of ammunition; if the gun has a magazine, carefully remove it before opening the action.
- Always keep your finger off the trigger, even when handling an unloaded gun. Your finger should rest outside the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. The only time you should touch the trigger is when you are ready to safely fire.
Remember, nearly all firearms accidents in the home can be prevented simply by making sure that guns are kept unloaded and secured when not in use, with ammunition stored in a separate location.
As a firearm owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that guns in your home are stored where they are inaccessible to children or other unauthorized persons. Hiding a gun in a closet, drawer or similar location is not safe storage. Safe storage is employing precautions and multiple safeguards that provide an additional barrier against unauthorized use.
- Unloaded firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case. The storage location should be inaccessible to children.
- Gun locking devices render firearms inoperable and can be used in addition to locked storage. If firearms are disassembled, parts should be securely stored in separate locations.
- Ammunition should be stored in a locked location separate from firearms.
- Thoroughly double check firearms to confirm that they are unloaded when you remove them from storage. Accidents could occur if a family member borrows a gun and returns it to storage while still loaded.
Ideally, cable-style locks, like those in the Project ChildSafe Safety Kit, should be used in addition to primary storage system like a gun safe or vault. Reference the Project ChildSafe safety brochure from the kit for more information about properly installing the Project ChildSafe gun lock on various firearm types, safe handling and storage.