Gun collector courtesy & safety - gun shows, etc.
Antique & Older guns - special concerns
Children & gun safety
Links to additional safety information
BASIC GUN SAFETY RULES - Anyone who touches a firearm should know these by heart.
1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
2. Never allow the muzzle to point at anything you are not willing to see destroyed.
3. Be sure of your target and know what lies behind it.
4. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are aligned on target.
5. Be sure your guns are never accessible to unauthorized or untrained individuals.
SUPPLEMENTAL SAFETY RULES - Other important safety rules to remember:
Alcohol & gunpowder don't mix -- Don't shoot or handle firearms after drinking or using psycho-active drugs.
Get training before shooting. NRA offers excellent training programs.
Learn & follow range rules for the location where you're shooting.
Wear hearing protection and safety glasses.
Collector Courtesy and Safety - Gun shows, etc.
There are special concerns for us who are gun collectors, dealers, and enthusiasts. There are some additional rules in collector situations, whether it be the worlds largest gun show or a friendís gun room, that are a combination of safety and courtesy. Violation of these rules is the quickest way to prove yourself a lout and gun amateur, and to wear out your welcome:
1. Never handle a gun without asking the owners permission.
2. Never open the mechanism, dry fire, or otherwise manipulate a collectible gun without asking the owners permission.
3. If you are showing your guns, triple check to be sure they are unloaded. It is a good practice to tie the guns with plastic cable ties so they are inoperative, and do not display any loose, unsealed ammunition. Well-run gun shows will require this.
4. Control your children. Strictly enforce the no touch rule.
5. About load checking ... This is a bit of a touchy subject, so please consider it carefully. In a field or range situation, it is an accepted and expected practice to check any gun you receive to be sure whether or not it is loaded. However, in a collector setting such as a gun show, this may not always be possible. On some very valuable mint condition or highly decorated arms, working the mechanism to check the loaded status runs the risk of marring the finish and significantly reducing the dollar value assigned to new in the box, unfired, unturned condition. This makes adherence to basic rules #1 (treat every gun as if loaded), #2 (muzzle control), and #4 (finger off trigger) even more vital. A quality show will require all guns brought into the show by the public to be load checked at the door.
6. Most quality gun shows prohibit loaded firearms, including legal concealed carry. This is not an anti-CCW stance by the promoter, but practical recognition of the fact that negligent discharges have occurred when concealed carry guns have been pulled out at shows to get an appraisal, try a holster, fit grips, show a friend, etc., etc., etc. IF you are at a rare show that permits CCW, DO NOT under any circumstances remove your CCW firearm from it's holster inside the show.
A Word About Semi-automatics
Most semi-automatic firearms can still be loaded and will fire EVEN AFTER THE MAGAZINE HAS BEEN REMOVED. Although there are a minority of semi-auto pistols that have "magazine disconnect safeties", the vast majority of semi-autos may have a round in the chamber which can be fired by pulling the trigger after the magazine has been removed. On semi-autos, you must REMOVE THE MAGAZINE FIRST, and then CHECK & CLEAR THE CHAMBER to confirm that the gun is unloaded.
Safety and Older Guns
There are additional safety concerns in dealing with older guns.
* It is important to remember that a lot can happen to a gun over decades of use and abuse, and its always a good idea to have a competent professional gunsmith check out an older gun for safe functioning before even thinking about shooting it.
* Always be certain that you are using the correct ammunition for a gun, and that the gun hasnít been converted to another caliber without being properly marked (uncommon, but it does happen). Never shoot modern high-pressure smokeless powder ammunition in a gun that was originally designed and manufactured for lower pressure black powder cartridges.
* On older revolvers, the gun should never be carried with a live cartridge under the hammer. They can fire accidentally if dropped or struck on the hammer spur with the firing pin over the primer of a live cartridge.
KIDS & GUN SAFETY
There are several different approaches to kids & guns safety. One approach that WILL NOT work is to ignore gun safety education for children. Even if your household has not guns, your kids will be visiting friends houses where there are guns.
A simple and proven effective gun safety program for even the youngest kids is the NRA Eddie Eagle program. This acclaimed "GunSafe" program is available to elementary schools and other groups. It uses the kid-friendly Eddie Eagle character to get across a simple and memorable message to kids on what to do if they find a gun:
LEAVE THE AREA.
TELL AN ADULT.
This a a basic level of firearms safety training that every child should have beginning in the pre-school years.
Beyond that, the decisions on kid gun safety can be quite personal, and there are pluses and minuses to various approaches. Here's the approach I have chosen, and that Eve & I have used in raising our three sons.
* Keep firearms in adult-only accessible containers. Some programs suggest that all firearms always be stored unloaded in a locked container, or with keyed trigger locks installed, and that ammunition be stored in a separate locked container. This obviously is safe storage, but presents a problem for households that wish to keep a firearm quickly available as a personal and family defense tool. Our approach has been that whenever a personal defense handgun is not kept directly on the person (i.e. in a holster or pocket), the gun is stored in a child-proof container. When the children were very young, we used plastic boxes designed for this purpose that had a secret opening catch that could only be operated by an adult-length finger. As they grew, we began using the push-button steel lock boxes that are available from a number of sources. They can be accessed very quickly even under stress. I prefer the mechanical locks to the electronic ones, but that's purely a personal preference.
* Demystify guns. Kids, especially boys, are fascinated by guns. Even the best behaved kids will be sorely tempted to look at dad's & mom's guns even if forbidden in strictest terms. Also, it's nearly impossible to hide guns from kids. Our agreement with our kids is that they could look at & handle our guns whenever they wanted to simply by asking. Here's specifics on how we worked it:
They could look at the guns whenever they wanted so long as they could recite by heart the Eddy Eagle rules for what to do if you find a gun with no adult around.
They could handle the guns whenever they wanted so long as they could explain the 5 basic safety rules listed at the top of this page. When handling the guns, the first thing we would do would be to load-check the guns, teaching the kids how to do it.
We'd schedule shooting at the range trips when they were old enough to want to do them. Before going, we'd again require them to explain basic safety, and be able to show how to load, unload, use the safety, and fire the guns they wanted to shoot (NOT using live ammunition). At the range, one kid shoots at a time with a parent standing immediately behind, ready to help and enforce safety rules. Any minor violation of any safety or range rule ends the shooting session for the day. We started them shooting single shot firearms, and they had to show good proficiency before moving on to repeaters. Muzzle control is easier to remember with a long gun than with a hand gun. A .22 single shot rifle or a .410 single shot shotgun can be a good starting gun. We would try to demonstrate the destructive power of a bullet by shooting a reactive target such as an apple or sealed plastic bottle of water. We were also careful not to push them to shoot guns that would have uncomfortable muzzle blast or recoil.
LINK TO MORE GUN SAFETY INFORMATION:
NRA Gun Safety
Stay Safe - New safety video website, includes videos showing how to unload guns
Excellent more detailed safety info - including hunting, range, and CCW safety
Remington's "10 Commandments of Gun Safety"
Muzzleloading safety - special concerns!
Sales made only on TERMS listed on this website. Call to order or check availability 913-492-3000, 9-4 Central weekdays (sorry, we cannot provide general info on gun i.d. or values at this phone number.)
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