Safe Handling

Firearms safety begins with understanding and carefully following the rules of safe gun 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. 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 that a firearm is unloaded. Immediately open the action and look into the chamber(s) for ammunition, or 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 locked up, with ammunition secured in a separate location.

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