Basic Rules for Gun Safety and Proper Handling of Firearms

March 18, 2016

With all the debate on whether or not individuals are allowed to own firearms, many forget to enforce basic firearm safety when handling and operating a firearm. It is surprising how often people are unaware of the most basic firearm safety procedures even if they have been shooting for years.

This article is not only for those who own a firearm, but for everyone whether you own a gun or not. This is because you may come across a firearm some time in your life and its always better to be knowledgeable and safe than ignorant and unsafe. If you own a gun, know someone with a gun, or just always want to be prepared, these rules will lay the proper foundation and help keep everyone safe.

1. ALWAYS act as if the gun is loaded. 

People often overlook this rule or even brush it off as they become more comfortable with handling a firearm. However, there is a reason that this is rule number 1. If you treat every gun as if it were loaded, the likelihood of any negligent discharge drops tremendously.

Even if you have checked and cleared the gun, it is to be treated as if it was loaded at all times. Most negligent discharges happen when a person is cleaning their firearm or taking it in or out of storage, because they assume that it was put away empty. Do not make this mistake.

2. NEVER place your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Again, this is a simple rule, but it is broken almost every time I see someone handle a firearm. When holding a gun, your fingers naturally wrap around the grip. Thus, your trigger finger naturally falls on the trigger. This is a habit that needs to be broken. They only way to break this habit is constant reinforcement. Therefore, the only time it is acceptable to place your finger on the trigger is when you have a target in front of you and are about to fire the gun. 

3. ALWAYS know what you are shooting at AND also know what is behind your intended target.

When partaking in the sport of shooting, or even if you are shooting in self-defense, you must know what you are shooting at and what is behind your target. You do not want to hit something dangerous, or even someone you didn’t intend to shoot. If you know your target and what is behind it, it will be dramatically safer.  Remember, the best shooters in the world miss. Everyone misses, there is no exception.  Therefore, if you are going to shoot at a target, you better be sure of what is beyond the target. 


If you truly follow all of these rules, the likelihood of an accident that results in the injury of yourself or another is very slim. These rules work together to ensure that even if one is broken, as long as the other two are followed, there is still a strong chance that no one will get hurt. These rules are for everyone, both veteran shooters and beginners. Every time you handle a gun, you should consciously remember and apply these rules.