Whether you are a new shooter, novice shooter, experienced shooter or have no desire to be a part of the shooting sports, you need to learn and understand the firearms safety rules.
The message here is simple, it is the Four Rules of Basic Firearms Safety.
Treat every firearm as though it is loaded
If we treat every firearm as though it is loaded then we are respecting the remaining firearm safety rules. Please note, even if someone hands you or gives you access to a firearm and tells you that it is unloaded, you still need to check it and treat it as though it is loaded!
Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction
What is a safe direction? A “safe direction” means you should not point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy—living or not.
The muzzle is the end of the firearm that the bullet comes out of. Wherever the gun pointed shows the direction the bullet could travel. You need to be responsible for where you point a gun if you are in control and be aware and vocal if someone else is in control and they do not have it pointed in a “safe” direction.
Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
Ready to shoot means that you have identified your target and you have aligned your sights. It is a very natural position for our finger to rest on the trigger.
Many things in life have triggers. Window cleaner, granite counter top cleaner, even the fuel pump is a form of a trigger. Keep your finger high on the slide and away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
Be aware of your target and what is around or beyond it
Bullets do not stop on impact. They travel until all their energy has dissipated.
The type of ammunition you shoot and the target will determine how quickly a bullet stops. If you are on a target range and are not using a proper berm (a hay bale is NOT a proper berm) the bullet, aka projectile, will pass through and impact whatever is in its path a tree.
These four rules are just the foundation of Firearm Safety, there are more that compliment them. You will need proper hearing and eye protection, gun cleaning skills and safe storage, just to name a few.
Remember these rules are for everyone, shooters, non-shooters, young and old. It is our responsibility to know them and watch for proper use of them when a firearm is present!