Many Americans have at least one or more firearms in their home. For some the firearm represents a means to protect themselves and family or they may use it for hunting or other sporting activities, while others have the firearm because it was passed on to them from a deceased relative. Whatever the reason you have a firearm in the house, you must exercise extreme caution with the weapon.
The first step in safety is…
ALWAYS HANDLE THE GUN AS IF IT WERE LOADED.
Even if you personally took every bullet out of the gun, assume it is still loaded. In many instances where a person is accidentally shot, the person handling the gun thought it was unloaded.
Know how to handle any firearm in your possession.
Individuals will sometimes purchase a weapon (either long gun or handgun) without ever knowing how to properly handle the gun. Take a course on gun safety, and don’t purchase any gun you are not competent in handling. Often time accidental discharge occurs when the person handling the weapon does not know how to properly load and unload the weapon.
If you purchased the weapon for protection.
Be sure you understand the laws in your community governing the carrying a weapon and the use of deadly force. If you pull a gun on an intruder and don’t know how or are unwilling to use the weapon, the intruder could take the weapon away and use it on you or your loved ones.
Keep firearms secured.
Guns of any type should be stored unloaded and locked. This is especially true if there are children who live or visit your home. It is a good idea to not only lock your weapon(s) but also partially disassemble the weapon (i.e. remove the bolt from a rifle and store in separate location. This way if the weapon is discovered by a child or intruder the gun is not only locked but also inoperable.
Handle ammunition just as securely as the weapon.
Loose ammunition can be discharged by accident even without a weapon. Every bullet must be handled with care and stored/secured properly. Do not keep old ammunition in your possession. If ammunition becomes loose, dispose of it in a safe and proper way. DO NOT THROW IT AWAY IN THE TRASH!