Handle all firearms as if they were loaded.
Never forget that a gun has the potential to produce serious injury or death in a single instant of carelessness. Make safe gun handling a habit to be followed at all times. After you determine that a gun is unloaded, continue to handle it as though it were loaded.
Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction.
In selecting safe directions, you must also take into consideration that a bullet can ricochet or glance off any object it strikes and that bullets can penetrate walls, ceilings, floors, and windows.
Keep your finger out of a gun’s trigger guard and off the trigger until you have aligned the gun’s sights on a safe target and you have made the decision to fire.
By keeping your finger completely outside the trigger guard until you have aimed at the target, you guarantee that any shots you will fire will go safely in the direction of your intended target.
Always be certain that your target and the surrounding area are safe before firing.
You should always keep in mind that there is the possibility that you might miss, or the bullet might go all the way through your target and into something else. You should always keep these factors in mind.
Make sure your gun is in proper working order.
If it jams on occasion, and especially if it fires when it shouldn’t, you should immediately either fix the gun or get rid of it. A malfunctioning gun can end up useless when you need it, and it can be dangerous when you are using it for more recreational purposes like hunting or a shooting range.
When hunting or firing at a shooting range, always wear eye and ear protection.
It is understandable that you might not take the time to find and wear eye and ear protection in an emergency like a break-in, but whenever it is not an emergency; you should be taking advantage of this extra protection.
Only use the ammo that the gun is designed to fire.
Using the incorrect ammo can make the gun inoperable or outright dangerous. Always double check your ammo to make sure it’s the right ammo.
Teach your child about gun safety.
If your child knows how to handle guns, or at the very least what they should do if they find one, your child becomes significantly less likely to hurt themselves or others when they discover a gun.