So I was texting with brother Lightning, at first about the most delicious concoction known to man, Skyline Chili, when he mentioned that he (largely thanks to my drivel) was actually looking for guns at the local sporting goods store. I made a recommendation as to the first firearm he should get, but as he mentioned that he'd never actually fired one before, that some discussion of the basic rules of firearm safety were in order. So I decided to post them here, just in case anyone else would like to know them who doesn't already. Forthwith then the most important rules, NEVER EVER EVER to be ignored.
1. Every gun is loaded. Every time, all the time. Therefore:
2. The very first thing you should do before handling a firearm is to perform a safety check. That means, drop any magazine, open the breech and physically check for a round in the chamber. Then and only then can you safely handle it.
3. Even after having performed a safety check, don't ever point the gun anywhere you don't want it shooting. ALWAYS be aware of where the barrel is pointed.
4. Never put your finger on the trigger unless you are ready to fire the weapon.
5. Never aim the weapon at anything you are not prepared to fire on.
6. Be aware of your state's laws regarding how to transport a firearm. Most states let you carry it to and from the shop you bought it from and to and from a bona fide firing range. When you transport a firearm, it should be unloaded and locked, and put in the trunk or some other place you cannot get to it. Most firearms come with a trigger lock or some other locking mechanism. Use it. Always. And keep the ammo up front. And remember, carrying a loaded magazine, even up front, is the same thing as carrying a loaded firearm in many states, which is a felony.
7. Wear eye and ear protection. If you're at the firing range and the range master asks you if you have "eyes and ears," this is what he means.
8. Know if there is anything beyond what you're shooting at and be aware that shooting a rifle can hurt someone more than a mile away.
9. If you have children in your house, keep the firearm locked and lock the firearm in a cabinet. It's your decision as to whether or not to teach your children about gun safety but even if you do, keep your firearms locked up. Most states view any mishaps by children with firearms as the direct responsibility of the owner of the gun. You don't want to deal with the death of a child and being charged with that child's murder.
10. Learn everything about the firearm you're shooting, especially, if it's one you own, how to clean it. And knowing that info, clean it regularly. Bullets are dirty; they spew gunpowder residue all over the receiver and into the barrel. Keeping it clean keeps it functional and accurate.
Well that's ten to begin with. Anyone with any other suggestions, feel free to comment. And Lightning, remember: Ruger 10/22, it's a great intro to firearms: light, accurate, inexpensive, easy to shoot, easy to clean, and comes with a lock that renders it completely impossible to shoot. Consider it well.