Gun Safety: Proper usage and storage is essential

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Alfredo H. Benavides
  • 5th Bomb Wing Ground Safety Technician
In our daily lives, firearms of all types are featured in television shows, movies, video games, and in a large majority of our homes. Since firearms have become such a large part of today's society, "Firearm Safety" cannot be overlooked. The purpose of Firearm Safety is to eliminate or minimize the risks of unintentional death, injury or damage caused by improper handling and storage of firearms. If you choose to maintain firearms, you must become fully aware of the risks exposed to not only you, but friends and family. Although studies show firearm related injuries peak in adolescent groups; adults are just as likely to have a firearm mishap.

Unfortunately, tragedies occur on a daily basis involving unlocked firearms, which make them easily accessible. The first rule of firearm safety is simple and important: Know why you have a weapon in the house, and act accordingly. Keep your weapons secure where no one can access them and cause accidental harm to themselves or others. After all, how often are you going to hunt deer or shoot targets in your home? In the event of a fire or natural disaster, would you want the loaded, unlocked firearm to wound or kill the emergency response personnel who are there to rescue you?

Here are a few basic guide lines to help keep firearms safe and away from unauthorized access.

· Always remove ammunition from firearms.

· Assure no unauthorized persons have access to your firearm.

· Place ammunition in a locked location, separate from firearms. When deciding where to store ammunition, remember to select a secure place that is out of sight and reach of children.

· Secure unloaded firearms with a gunlock, gun alarm or other type of tamper-proof device, these might render the gun inoperable.

· Store unloaded firearms, in lockable gun cabinet, safe, or locked vault. Remember to place a locked storage case where children cannot find it.

· Keep firearms storage unit keys away from the "every day" keys.

Remember that proper storage or firearms and ammunition can significantly decrease injuries; the consequences of an accidental discard can be devastating.