How to store firearms with safety and care

Before buying a sporting gun, contact your state conservation agency or a local gun club for instruction in its safe handling and use. Check with the police to make sure you are in compliance with ownership laws. Read your gun’s instruction manual carefully.

Teach your children that a gun isn’t a toy. Explain to them how it works and its potential dangers. Enforce a “hands off” rule until they are old enough to learn safe gun handling.

Guns in the home, car, or camp should be unloaded, but treated as if they were loaded. When handling a gun, open the action and make sure the gun is empty. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Don’t engage in or tolerate horseplay with guns. Never mix guns and alcohol.

Store firearms out of reach of children, in a locked cabinet, rack, or drawer; or equip your guns with trigger locks. Ammunition should be stored in a locked drawer, separate from firearms and away from heat or electrical sources. Keep keys to storage areas away from children.

Handling a gun

Never aim a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. Load it only when you’re ready to use it, and keep the safety on until just before firing. Don’t fire until you have identified your target and know there is nothing endangered behind it. Know your gun’s range, make sure its barrel is unobstructed, and use only ammunition intended for it. Wear eye and ear protection when shooting.

Unload your gun when crossing a fence, climbing a tree, or waiting on a shooting line. Carry a gun so that you can control the muzzle’s direction even if you trip. Don’t leave a loaded gun unattended or rely on the safety as a substitute for safe handling. Gun care

Inspect your gun after each use and wipe it free of dirt and moisture. Periodically clean the bore with commercial solvent applied with a cleaning rod and patches. Lubricate the working parts and exterior surfaces with a thin coat of light gun oil. Always make sure the gun is unloaded before you start cleaning it.