Owning a Gun: Am I Ready?
Before making the choice to own a gun, the responsible thing to do is ask yourself the following questions.
1. Can I safely store this firearm in my home?
2. Who should be allowed to access this firearm?
3. Do I know how to safely handle this firearm?
4. What is the purpose for me owning this firearm?
In order to properly answer these questions, we must first explore the details behind them, beginning with the first question. Ideally, a firearm should be stored in a gunsafe. This is especially true if there is a child in the home. If a safe is not available, a trigger lock or cable lock should be used to prevent unauthorized use of the gun. Both trigger and cable locks are inexpensive ways to safely secure a gun.
The owner of a gun bares sole responsibility for who can handle that gun at any time, as well as any liability that may come with the use, be it authorized or unauthorized, of that gun. Households with children, teenagers, or even other adults should have a specific set of rules authorizing who can and cannot handle the gun. This both ensures the safety of everyone in the household as well as limits any potential for loss or damage to the firearm or surrounding property due to the unauthorized handling of the gun.
Knowledge of proper gun handling is necessary before even considering owning a firearm. There are four rules that anyone who even handles a firearm should know. The first rule is to treat every firearm as if it is loaded, even if you know for a fact that it is not. This basically means that if a firearm is picked up by anyone, it should always be checked to make sure it is not loaded.
The second rule is to keep your finger off the trigger unless you are about to actually fire the weapon. This greatly reduces the chances of the weapon firing unintentionally. The third rule is to always know your target and what is beyond it. If you fire the weapon at a target, it is necessary to know what is beyond that target in the event the bullet passes through it or misses it.
Many of the unintentional shooting deaths that have occurred, happened because shooters neglected to think about what was beyond what they were shooting. The fourth rule is to never point your firearm at anything you do not intend to destroy. This one basically says that you should always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.
Finally, your purpose for owning a gun dictates how you should handle it. If your gun is for self-defense, you have different factors to consider than you would if you own a gun strictly for hunting or target shooting. For instance, guns used for target shooting or hunting can be stored in a central location such as a large gun safe, while guns meant for self-defense may be stored in smaller safes designed to hold a single gun and located in a bedroom or home office.
The final question you must ask yourself is whether or not you have the discipline to follow all of the gun safety rules to the best of your ability. Though it may seem harsh, there is a saying: “Complacency kills”. All it takes is one time to forget the rules or to make an assumption for someone to get hurt or worse, so until you can answer all of the questions stated here, the first question you should ask yourself is, “Am I ready to own a gun?”