Nothing is more important than safety when it comes to firearms.
There are no shortcuts to safety and the rules are never relaxed.
Ignore the rules of firearm safety and a negligent moment can turn an enjoyable outing into a nightmare.
Always remember that firearms are inherently dangerous and command respect. Your goal is to make safe shooting instinctual -- that you practice it constantly. It starts with common-sense shooting, vigilance and over time becomes ingrained in the shooting experience so that you are constantly aware of it in yourself and others.
Please take the next few moments to read the rules of firearm safety. You’ll see three sections: Keep, Never and Children...
- The muzzle pointed in a safe direction (upward or downrange).
- Your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot..
- Wearing ear and eye protection.
- Thinking that your firearm is loaded even when it isn’t.
- Your action open or the breech cracked to show the gun is unloaded, until you’re ready to use it.
- The proper gauge or calibre ammunition in your gun. Don’t improvise or carry shells of different gauges or different bullets in the same pouch or box. Ammo specs are usually stamped on the barrel of your shotgun near the receiver.
- Your barrel clear of obstructions. If you have a misfire, check the barrel for a stuck wad. Don’t clear the barrel by firing a fresh load through it. The results will be disastrous.
- Aware of what’s beyond the target, especially with a larger calibre rifle, as the bullets can travel great distances. If there’s any doubt, don’t shoot.
- Familiar with your gun and its workings, especially the safety and barrel selector.
- Aware of ejected shells. They are hot, fast and dangerous.
- Your firearm unloaded when cleaning it.
- Your firearm properly maintained. Fouling, rust and improper oiling can make your firearm unsafe.
- Your firearm unloaded and open when passing it to someone else. Pass it stock first.
- Aware of where your hunting partners are at all times.
- Aware of where your hunting dogs are at all times.
- Maintaining a straight line when hunting with others.
- Your gun safety back on after the game has flushed.
- Your muzzle pointed downrange of other hunters.
- Your emotions in check. Remember, you and your companions have guns and ammo at hand.
- Aware of circumstances that could jeopardise your safety and the safety of others. If someone you know is doing something dangerous, it’s best to tell them.
- If you see a stranger doing something dangerous, notify the range safety officer immediately.
- Point your gun at another person (even if you think it’s unloaded).
- Shoot into water. Something hard under the surface could deflect the shot in a dangerous direction.
- Climb or jump over anything with a loaded firearm..
- Shoot under the influence of alcohol or of drugs that impair your motor skills.
- Transport a loaded gun.
- Lean a loaded gun against anything.
- Fire your shotgun unless you feel your stance is well-balanced.
- Leave your firearm unattended.
- Handle a shotgun or rifle without the owner’s permission.
- Dry fire a gun unless you are absolutely convinced it’s empty. And when you dry fire the gun, do so a safe direction.
- Store a loaded firearm in a safe or cabinet.
- Set the best possible example for your child when it comes to safety.
- Make sure your child wears ear and eye protection at all times.
- Always pay attention to your children when they are handling firearms or are in the vicinity of a gun.
- Make sure the firearm fits your child reasonably well to avoid misfires and other dangerous mistakes.
- Store your guns so that children can’t gain access to them: locked safes or cabinets.
- Store shotguns or rifles and ammo separately in locked places.
- Don’t leave your firearms lying around.
- If a child handles a firearm it must be in the presence of an adult familiar with the gun and the rules of safe handling.
- Instil in your children that shotguns and rifles are not toys. They are extremely dangerous. When it comes to guns, children must distinguish between reality and fantasy.
- Replace the mystique of the firearm with knowledge and discipline.
- Teach your children to respect firearms rather than fear them.
- Teach your child that if they find a gun readily accessible they should leave the area immediately and alert an adult.
- If your child has questions about guns, keep your answers short and to the point in order to avoid confusion. Demonstrate often.
- Don’t lose your patience with your children when it comes to teaching them about firearms.
- “No” means “no.”