Owning a firearm is a huge responsibility. If it ends up in the wrong hands, it can be devastating. Yet, we all have family members that own guns. This means we may occasionally end up holding a weapon that was owned by another relative. Even though we would rather not have our hands near it, we still find ourselves having to figure out what to do with it. Do you know how to handle it or how to protect your family from it? You have to respect the power of the firearm. If you are untrained, your hands are not the safest place for it to be. We are here to offer help. Here are four rules of gun safety. They will keep you safe until you decide what to do with your unexpected rifle or pistol.
1. Watch Your Aim
One of the worst things that a novice gun owner can do is hold a rifle, pistol, or shotgun improperly. You should never blindly believe that a gun is unloaded or hold it as though it is. The same is true for safety switches. Often safety switches are precautions, but they can fail. A good rule of thumb is to never point a firearm at something you do not want to shoot.
You should hold a gun pointed either straight up or down toward the dirt. Toward the ground is best. However, on a solid surface where it could ricochet, pointing it up is best. Keep your finger off the trigger at all times unless you plan to use it. You have to think about what would happen if you stumbled with your finger on the trigger. A twitch is sometimes all it takes to go from good to bad.
2. Keep Your Firearm Unloaded
Anyone that owns a firearm can tell you that one of the biggest gun safety rules is “keep any weapon unloaded when it is not in use”. Ideally, you will go a step further and keep the bullets for it in a place that is not near the weapon. For instance, if you have a gun safe or a hiding spot for it, your bullets will be outside of the home or in another room. This can keep children safe from guns while playing. It will also ensure that visitors will not find it.
If you are unsure of whether the firearm is loaded or not, ask a friend or other family member that is familiar with guns. A loaded gun is not safe in the wrong hands. They can help you ensure it is unloaded. They can also help you decide where to store it until you decide whether you plan to keep it or not.
3. Keep the Firearm in a Gun Safe
We know that people often end up with rifles that they do not want. Often, it comes from an inheritance. It may be a firearm that has been passed down through the years from your grandparents to your parents. Now, it is yours and you have to figure out what to do with it. It is a tough choice to make, especially if it is an heirloom from someone you care about.
We know that it can hold sentimental value for you. Whether you plan to keep it long term, or you simply need it for the grieving period, safety is a priority. For this, you have a lot of options. The most obvious is a small gun safe for small weapons (pistols) or a large gun safe. Large gun safes can hold larger rifles or multiple firearms. A true gun safe is not always affordable, especially for temporary storage. Most are fire-safe, rust-resistant, etc., to increase their security.
Other ways to keep your family safe include:
- Locking Steel Cabinets
- Security Cases
- Trigger Locks
Ideally, your firearm will be secured in an area that requires you to have a key before you can open it. If not a key, then combination locks, fingerprint locks, and other options are available.
If you are on a budget, you can also hide your rifle in safe areas that would not be noticed by an intruder or children. An under bed gun safe is good, and you can improvise by putting it in an airtight container along with other stuff. A plastic storage bin may not be ideal for long term storage, but it can get you started.
As a bonus, it will not be an obvious hiding place for your weapon. Air vents and food boxes that are in your pantry are also recommended by some survivalists. The idea is that in these areas, weapons would not be noticed by children or guests. These other methods are not approved by the government or a gun association of any kind. You are encouraged to seek other options to be as safe as possible.
4. Understand the Responsibilities You Have
Firearm ownership, even if you were not expecting it, is a responsibility. If you do not know anything about a gun, you are going to need to learn the rules and make it a habit. You will also need to discover how to take care of your firearm if you choose to learn how to use it.
For many, this means that they must learn firearm safety rules and take a gun safety course. Simply having a firearm in your home means that you must talk to your children about gun safety. Your partner should know where it is kept so that they can make sure others do not go into that area.
If you own it, you must respect it. This means securing it. At Put Guns in Safe Hands, we know that gun ownership is not for everyone. If you are in a position where you have a weapon that is unwanted, we can help. We can help you safely and legally, sell your gun to a buyer who wants it for their collection. All you have to do is contact us by phone or by filling out our contact form.