If you own a shotgun, then you likely understand the critical importance of safety procedures at home or while hunting. However, new owners may benefit from specific guidelines or reminders that can ensure safe usage and storage of their shotguns. The following five safety tips might help to prevent misuse or accidents.
Inform the Family
Unless there are reasons to keep the shotgun purchase a secret, tell family members who live in the house and explain the gun’s purpose. Depending on the age of any children, demonstrate how shotguns should be operated, including the safety features when the gun is not being used. Set specific rules for who can handle the gun or operate it, and under what conditions. Ensure that everyone realizes the gun’s purpose as well as the potential for danger; hence, the absolute need for safety practices.
Store It Responsibly
Don’t leave your shotgun sitting in the corner of the living room or by the door for quick access. Even if you use it frequently or want it handy to scare off an intruder, shotguns should be locked away when they are not being used. Gun owners store the gun and bullets separately to guard against impulsive usage that could cause an accidental shooting.
Clean It Regularly
Clean your shotgun after every use. This helps to maintain its appearance and safeguards the function. Guns that collect greasy fingerprints, mud, or other types of outdoor debris could lock up if those substances jam the inner workings or corrode key parts. Clean guns will maintain their value longer as well.
Use It Legally
Each state has its own laws and rules regarding the use of firearms. Find out which codes apply to your shotgun use and follow them stringently. Failure to use the gun as intended by law could rack up legal fees and could even result in law enforcement seizing the shotgun if you are caught. Obtain any licensure that is required, along with a rule book for using the gun.
Supervise It Consistently
If you decide to teach other family members or friends how to use the shotgun, explain in detail how it operates and monitor their use of the shotgun to prevent property damage or injuries. Be especially careful with children who are allowed to use the gun, as it is more unwieldy and heavier than other types of firearms, and kids sometimes become adventurous or reckless with a weapon in their hands.
Shotgun safety is paramount if you keep one in your home. Follow these simple but important steps to protect everyone in your household.
About the Author: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.