November brings many exciting and fun activities. Two things that always come to people’s minds is Thanksgiving and high power rifle deer season. Like with any fun activity, safety needs to be addressed when making hunting plans. Public Health is focused on the safety of all individuals. The following is a condensed list of gun handling safety tips for the protection of the hunters and others:
Basic General Rules of Safe Gun Handling
Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Never point at anyone or anything you do not intend to shoot.
Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
Keep the action open and the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
Treat all firearms as if they are loaded.
Never pass a firearm to another person or accept a firearm from another person until the cylinder or action is open and you’ve checked that the weapon is unloaded.
Be alert at all times. Never shoot if you are tired, cold, or impaired in anyway. Never mix alcohol or drugs with shooting.
It is your responsibility to insure that your firearm is always either about your person, under your personal control, or positively secured from access by children or unauthorized parties.
Always wear ear and eye protection.
Receive competent instruction from a qualified person before beginning to shoot.
Make sure your firearm is in good mechanical condition before firing it. Periodically have you firearm checked for signs of erosion, cracking, or wear by the factory, by a qualified armorer or by a factory certified gunsmith.
Insure that any modification made to a firearm are made by a qualified individual and that those modification do not interfere with you firearm’s safety features.
Positively identify you target before firing at it.
What’s behind you target? Always make sure that a stray shot, or bullet which penetrates its intended target through and through, will be safety stopped.
Never shoot a rifle or handgun directly upward or at a high angle of elevation.
Never shoot across a highway or roadway.
Never poach a game animal out of season or shoot any game animal you don’t intend to eat.
Be sure your gun and ammunition are compatible. Use only ammunition recommended by your firearm by its manufacturer. Be aware that many firearm manufacturers specifically forbid the use of reloaded ammunition in their products and will void their products warranty if you elect to use reloaded ammunition in in contravention of their instructions.
Carry only one caliber of ammunition when shooting. Accidentally grabbing the wrong ammunition can cause injury to the shooter or damage the firearm.
Always use a holster which is designed for your handgun.
Keep your fingers and other parts of your body away from the muzzle, the rear of the slide, and the ejection area of a semiautomatic pistol.
In the event of a misfire, keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction, remove your finger from the trigger, wait ten seconds, then eject the cartridge and dispose of it properly.
If you hear an unusual sound upon squeezing the trigger or feel an unusual recoil, stop shooting and investigate. You may have experienced a “squib” load (under-powdered cartridge) and it may have caused a bore obstruction. Keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction, remove your finger from the trigger, wait ten seconds, then unload the firearm and safely examine the barrel, checking carefully for any possible obstruction before reloading and resuming shooting.
Climb a tree with a loaded firearm.
Cross a fence with a loaded firearm.
Jump a ditch or ford a stream with a loaded firearm.
Scale or descend a steep incline or hill with a loaded firearm.
Prop or lean a loaded firearm against a tree or other surface which may allow it to slide.
Transport a caused loaded firearm.
Always wear a thousand square inches or more of blaze orange while in the field during hunting season.
When you are not using you firearm, you should insure that is it store safely. Firearms should be stored unloaded and separate from ammunition when the firearm isn’t needed for ready-access defensive use.
“Hiding” a firearm doesn’t secure it from discovery and possible misuse by curious children or intruders.
Explore “gun-proofing” your child by proper training and by controlled and closely supervised access to firearms to reduce your child’s natural unsatisfied curiosity about firearms.
Clay County Health Department wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and best of luck this hunting season. Please enjoy the sport and holidays while keeping safety first.
Gun handling safety information obtained from: http://pages.uoregon.edu/joe/firearms-safety.html