By Guest Writer Morgan Ashire

Not everyone keeps a gun around for hunting these days. In fact, a 2013 Gallup poll shows as many as 60% of Americans that keep and own firearms have protection as their top priority as a responsible gun owner. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System has shown the sales of handguns and other such firearms increasing. With so many more individuals purchasing firearms and bringing them into their homes, the importance of gun safety is at an all time high. Here are a few tips on how to responsibly and safely keep firearms in your home.

Closeup of Safety on an M16

Keep Your Safety On Unless You Mean to Fire

Proper Handling:

As any responsible gun owner will tell you, you should always treat any firearm as if it is loaded. As such, never point it at anything that you are not willing to destroy. It is also vital to keep your finger off the trigger unless you intend to fire and you must never fire until you have clearly identified your target.

These things may seem like common sense, but there are a staggering number of cases which result in injury or death due to the improper handling of firearms. These range in scope from people not checking a chamber when cleaning a gun to accidentally shooting a loved one. In each and every one of these cases, several of these rules were discarded and the handler was reckless.

Please don't horseplay with any weapons

Horseplay with Weapons is Never Permissible

Education:

If you’re going to own a firearm, you must be familiar with it. If you are going to keep it in your home, the safety of everyone who enters your home in relation to that firearm is your responsibility and yours alone.

Know your firearm, inside and out. Know how it works. Know how to take it apart. Know how to use it. Know how it works. Teach those who might need to know how to use it. This will usually be a spouse or a partner.

Also, educate your children about the importance of firearm safety. Talk with them openly about its importance, rather than just telling them to “stay away from it.” Take them out to a safe shooting area and shoot a melon or a soda can, so they can understand the destructive power of firearms. Finally, when you, as a parent, have determined that they are old enough and mature enough, teach them how to safely operate the firearm. There is no set age and each child is different. It is important to use your own discretion as their guardian.

Look First, Prevent Accidents

Always Check Both the Clip and the Chamber

Storage:

Keeping your firearm under lock and key is important. You want to keep it in a cool, dry place out of reach from anyone who might be going for it. Gun cases for rifles and shotguns and combination lock boxes for hand guns are recommended, but a simple trigger guard or bolt lock can work wonders as a more affordable solution. Just make sure that you do not leave out a copy of the key.

Cable Locks Focus on a Different Side of Gun Safety

A third-generation 9mm Glock 17 with a cable lock

Practice:

Here is where many who buy firearms for protection skimp. They buy it, bring it home, then lock it away for months or years at a time. It is important that you keep using your firearm, so, if ever the case arises where you need it, you’re well prepared and well conditioned for its behavior.

Every gun reacts differently when fired. Every gun’s trigger squeezes differently. Every caliber and cartridge size has its own power. Try to put at least a few rounds down range at least once every month.

Always get ample practice for your firearm

Czech Defense Training–Obtaining Proper Practice

Maintenance:

Make sure you know how to properly maintain your gun. Clean it after every use and make sure it is well lubricated when going into storage for long periods of time. A good firearm is an investment and will last you a long time if properly cared for. Each firearm’s care is different, so make sure you talk about proper care and maintenance with your local gun shop to avoid hang ups and other malfunctions during its use.

A clean firearm is a safer firearm.

Clean Your Handguns and Other Firearms Properly

Clean Your Handguns and Other Firearms Properly

There are many more suggestions from many other sources out there and we’ve barely scratched the surface. I encourage everyone who owns a firearm of any type to continue to do research and to continue their understanding of the tools that they own. We are all the first line of defense for proper gun safety and care. Shoot safe my friends.