A PROGRAM OF THE NATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTS FOUNDATION

Parents &
Gun Owners

Find a Safety Kit

If you would like a free Project ChildSafe Safety Kit, which includes a cable-style gun lock and safety instructions, select your state from the drop-down menu to find a distribution partner near you. Be sure to contact the partner to verify that supplies are available.

Law Enforcement Partners: If you need more Safety Kits, please complete the law enforcement request form.

 

The Road to Responsible Gun Ownership

Owning a firearm, whether for target shooting, hunting or personal protection, is a right every law-abiding American enjoys.

It comes with an ongoing commitment to safety and responsibility — something that should be fully understood before buying your first firearm. This is at the heart of our message: “Own it? Respect it. Secure it.”

To help, we’ve provided a “road map” of the milestones toward responsible gun ownership that should be considered. Following these guidelines can help you be a responsible firearms owner, including following the many laws regarding purchasing, ownership, storage and use. By doing so, you will be contributing to a culture of firearm safety that has produced a dramatic decline in firearms accidents.

Let's Get Started

Make an informed purchasing decision.

Buying a firearm involves understanding what type, model, caliber and more are suitable and the best fit for your intended use. You have many ways to conduct research, including reading reviews and handling and testing products yourself. Many organizations that support Project ChildSafe can offer advice and guidance, and you can speak with experts at a local firearms retailer or shooting facility near you. If possible, try various models at a local range. Click here to see a list of ranges by state, and learn more about safety with this Range Safety and Etiquette video.

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You’ve decided which firearm is right for you, but do you know how you’re going to store it safely?

Securely storing firearms when not in use is a key element of responsible gun ownership and the #1 way to help prevent firearm accidents, thefts and misuse.

As a firearms owner, you have lots of options for storage devices to fit your lifestyle and home circumstances. The Safe Storage Options infographic, Gun Lock Safety brochure, and 10 Tips for Firearm Safety in Your Home fact sheet are packed with helpful resources to help you explore storage options and determine what will work best for you. Experts at your local range or firearms retailer can also help answer questions.

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Taking a firearm safety training class at your local range or firearms retailer is a great idea for new gun owners and a good refresher even if you’ve been a gun owner for years.

Classes usually cover safe handling and use, proper maintenance, storage and other helpful information for getting the most out of your firearm and being a safe and responsible firearm owner.

Find a safety training course close to home with this list of ranges by state. Additionally, the firearms dealer from whom you purchased your gun can point you in the right direction for a class or possibly provide one on-site. Think you already know all the gun safety rules? Double-check with this list of tips for safe gun handling.

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Strike up a conversation with your family about safe firearm handling, your household rules for firearms and your firearm storage plan.

To help you get started, shooting champion Julie Golob and Project ChildSafe teamed up to make the video “How to Talk to Kids About Firearm Safety.” Our Firearms Responsibility in the Home brochure also provides tips for discussing firearm safety with kids. You can encourage them to sign the Child’s Pledge to make safety a mutual responsibility.

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Part of being a responsible firearm owner includes keeping your skills sharp.

It’s important to be sure you understand the mechanical characteristics and safe operation of the firearm you've chosen. Be sure to read and understand the instructions, warnings and safety devices the manufacturer includes with your firearms. If you have any questions, contact them or seek the advice of a firearms safety instructor or licensed retailer in your area. Also, practice and periodically reassess your training and skills.

Find safety classes and other training opportunities through the NRA’s list of safety courses, a Project ChildSafe supporter organization in your area or the firearms dealer from whom you purchased your gun.

Treat your storage plan as evolving and ongoing to stay on top of your safety needs and those of your family. There are numerous storage options out there. A good place to start researching is the Safe Storage Options infographic which outlines a range of storage options for many lifestyles and budgets, ranging from gun locks to gun cases, lock boxes and gun safes. You can also refer to these safe storage tips and download the brochure from the Project ChildSafe storage kit for more information.

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Families change and evolve, and so does your conversation with your family about firearm safety.

New family dynamics — like new family members, teenagers exploring their boundaries or loved ones experiencing a difficult time — can pose questions about firearm storage and uncover new or additional needs. Revisit the conversation of firearm safety with “How to Talk to Kids About Firearm Safety,” a video with shooting champion Julie Golob. It is a helpful resource to break the ice or get tips for having a conversation with kids. Our Firearms Responsibility in the Home brochure also discusses how you can deter access available to children and at-risk persons. Sign the Child’s Pledge with your child to make safety a mutual responsibility.

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As you know, responsible firearm ownership is a lifelong journey.

An important part of that journey is sharing what you know with others. As a responsible gun owner, you can be a powerful voice in building a culture of firearm safety within your house, your neighborhood and your community. We urge you to share the firearm safety message with our easy-to-use web and social media badges, by taking the Project ChildSafe pledge and by sharing this information with friends and family.

Thank you for making the commitment to be a responsible gun owner. We hope you and your family will safely enjoy the shooting sports for many years. Along the way, you can always find all of our Project ChildSafe tools and resources here.

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Be Informed
 
Storage
 
Training
 
Conversation
 
Skills
 
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The Journey…

Safety

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.

Handling

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.

Storage

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.

For Your Kids

Children and teens are naturally curious about firearms and, as a result, may be tempted to "play" with a firearm they find. Make sure young people in your home are aware of and understand these safety guidelines:

  1. Don't go snooping, or allow other kids to go snooping, for guns in the house.
  2. If you find a gun in your house, or anywhere else, STOP! Do not touch it or allow anyone else to. Leave the area and be sure to immediately tell an adult.
  3. Even if a gun looks like a toy, don't touch it. Some real guns look like toy guns, so don't take a chance. Leave the area and immediately tell an adult.

Going Hunting?

Hunting is a rich tradition, often passed down from family members to the next generation. Please remember that safety should be part of every conversation about hunting and firearm use. The most important part of sharing this experience with your loved ones is ensuring they understand that proper precautions and responsible use of firearms can help make every hunting trip safe, fun and memorable.

Take our quiz to test your knowledge of hunting safety tips.

Access to Firearms Kept for Home Security

If you choose to keep a firearm for home security, your objective should be to create a situation in which the firearm is readily available to you, yet inaccessible or inoperative to others. Special lockable cases that can be quickly opened only by authorized individuals are options to consider.

Download the Firearms Responsibility in the Home brochure summarizing these safety tips and more.

What to consider before purchasing a gun for protection

The choice to keep a firearm in your home for sporting purposes, a collection or self-protection is your right and a serious responsibility. Gun owners must be committed to obtaining the appropriate training and having a clear understanding of safe handling and storage rules to achieve the intended personal safety benefits.

Before choosing a firearm for home security, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do other adults in my household support maintaining a gun in the house?
  2. Will other adults with access to the firearm join me in a firearms training and safety program?
  3. What precautions will I practice to safeguard children?
  4. Do risk factors such as mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse exist within my household?

Your decision should also take into consideration issues such as individual temperament, reaction to emergency situations and specific family circumstances.

Test Your Knowledge

Take the Quiz

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Own it? Respect it. Secure it.

Take the Pledge

I choose to own a firearm and therefore accept responsibility for using and storing it safely. I commit to securing my firearm when not in use, being aware of who can access it at all times and educating others to do the same.

Downloadable Resources