Firearms Safety Depends on You

Having a gun in your possession is a full-time job.

You cannot guess; you cannot forget.

1. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
This is the most basic safety rule. If everyone handled a firearm so carefully that the muzzle never pointed at something they didn't intend to shoot, there would be virtually no firearms accidents. It's as simple as that and it's up to you.

2. Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.
Firearms should be loaded only when you are in the field or on the target range or shooting area, ready to shoot. When not in use, firearms and ammunition should be secured in a safe place, separate from each other. It is your responsibility to prevent children and careless adults from gaining access to firearms or ammunition.

3. Don't rely on your gun's safety.
Treat every gun as though it can fire at any time, regardless of the pressure on the trigger. The safety on any gun is a mechanical device, and like any such device, can become inoperable at the worst possible time. The safety serves as a supplement to proper gun handling but cannot possibly serve as a substitute for common sense.

4. Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.
No one can call a shot back. Once a gun is fired, you have given up all control over where the shot will go or what it will strike. Don't shoot unless you know exactly what your shot is going to strike. Be sure that your bullet will not injure anyone or anything beyond your target. Firing at a movement or a noise without being absolutely certain of what you're shooting at constitutes criminal disregard for the safety of others.

5. Use correct ammunition.
You must assume the serious responsibility of using only the correct ammunition for your firearm. Read and heed all warnings, including those that appear in the gun's instruction manual and on the ammunition boxes.

6. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled
Handle with care! Occasionally, a cartridge may not fire when the trigger is pulled. If this occurs, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Carefully open the action, unload the firearm and dispose of the cartridge safely.

7. Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
All shooters should wear protective shooting glasses and some form of hearing protection while shooting. Exposure to shooting noise can damage hearing and adequate vision protection is essential.

8. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
Before you load your firearm, open the action and be certain that no ammunition is in the chamber or magazine. Then glance through the barrel to be sure it is clear of any obstruction.

9. Don't alter or modify your gun and have it serviced regularly.
Firearms are complicated mechanisms, which are designed by experts to function properly in their original condition. Any alteration or change made to a firearm after manufacture can make the gun dangerous and will usually void any factory warranties.

10. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm
Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using. Not all firearms are the same. The method of carrying and handling firearms varies in accordance with the mechanical characteristics of each gun.