Owning a firearm is a right, but with rights come responsibilities. If you own a firearm, you are responsible for the safe handling of that firearm. You are not only responsible for knowing how to safely handle that firearm yourself, you are also responsible for everyone in your household, and anyone you may allow to use that firearm.
Let me put it this way - If you own a firearm, it is YOUR responsibility to know, understand and follow the Four Rules of Firearms Safety:
- All firearms are loaded - There are no exceptions, period. Know this rule and live it. Handle all firearms accordingly.
- Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy - If you are not willing to see a bullet hole in it, do not allow a firearm's muzzle to point at it. If you are doing dry fire drills in your home, extra care needs to be made to insure that ammo is not even in the same room as you are. Dry fire drills can be dangerous because they do violate Rule #2.
- Keep your finger off the trigger unless your sights are on the target - You do not gain any speed at all by keeping your finger on the trigger. Keep it out of the guard until you are sighted on the target. Practice this until it becomes second nature. If this rule were followed 100% of the time, there would be no negligent discharges.
- Be sure of your target and what is behind it - Be aware of your surroundings whether on a range, in the woods, or in a potentially lethal conflict. Never shoot at sounds or at a target you can not positively identify.
Tragedies could be avoided if everyone involved with firearms followed these rules all the time.
Fr. Frog lists these rules and other firearm safety procedures here. It is very well put together and even old hands at the firing range would be advised to look it over.Also found on Say Uncle