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Basic Gun Safety Tips

My husband is a gun collector. He doesn't hunt or even shoot all that often, but his collection of old military rifles is pretty impressive. I admit that I found the fact that he has no fewer than twenty rifles and handguns in the house at any given time to be a bit unsettling, but that was before I realized that he wasn't some trigger-happy freak you've seen in the movies. He mostly keeps them because he loves history and each model has a story behind it, but it is also a way to bond with his father. I've shot his guns off a few times and it's a lot more fun than I thought it would be! Most of my female friends here either shoot themselves or are married to someone who does. Even if you don't intend on hunting or target-shooting, thought, it's still a good idea to know how to handle a gun if there is one in the house. Whether it's there for show or for home defense, guns can be dangerous if handled incorrectly. Here are are a few quick safety tips.
  • Always treat a gun as if it is loaded. If you do not know for certain that there are no bullets left in the gun, handle the gun as though it is loaded. This means to make sure it is pointed in such a direction that, were it to go off accidentally, no one would be hurt. This sounds obvious, but you would be surprised.
  • Keep the safety on and your finger away from the trigger until right before you are ready to shoot the gun. You should also keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it. Keep the bullets and the gun in two separate places and, if you have kids in the house, lock them both where the kids can't get to them.
  • Follow all applicable laws. The laws and safety regulations are there for a reason. You may have to take a class to get a license to own or carry a gun; do it!
  • Know what you're doing. If you've never shot a gun before, do so only in the presence of an experienced shooter. Whether it's your dad, your husband or a firearms instructor, be sure the person you are with teaches you how to handle the gun and can correct you if you are doing something wrong. Unlike other sports, shooting isn't something you want to 'wing it' on. If you are shooting a rifle, stand in a steady, wide stance and hold it squarely against your shoulder. If you are shooting a handgun, use both hands. It might look cool in the movies when someone shoots a handgun with just one hand, but that's not practical in real life.
  • Know the mechanical and handling traits of the gun you are using. Whatever the make or model, each gun is different. One thing a lot of people don't consider when they think of shooting is the kickback that a gun might have. I once shot one of my husband's rifles and, while I'm strong for my size, the kickback nearly knocked me down! Even 'smaller' guns can have a strong kickback that, if you aren't prepared for it, can hurt you. Make sure your gun has been cleaned and maintained properly.
  • Don't take stupid risks. This means not playing with guns when you've been drinking or shooting without knowing your target and what's behind it. Again, this sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised.
There are plenty of other safety tips I'm leaving out, but these are some of the basic ones. For more information, check out I know a lot of people are scared of guns or think they are inherently bad. I'm not trying to change your views about that, but give you a basic guideline of how to handle a gun should you need to.

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