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10 Top Gun Safety Rules Upheld by the NRA

By    |   Wednesday, 17 January 2018 08:59 AM

The National Rifle Association is one of America’s oldest civil rights organizations and while it’s widely recognized for its political influence, it was initially started to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis."

Today, a fair deal of the organization’s funds and resources go towards firearms education and safety. Founded in 1990, the NRA Foundation provided a means for the NRA to raise funds needed to run educational programs informing the general public about safe gun practices.

The NRA has a list of 10 fundamental rules for gun safety. The first three are essential for handling a firearm, while the rest of the list pertains to using and storing your gun.

1. Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction — This is the NRA’s No. 1 gun safety rule, and with good reason.

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The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) explains that you should only ever point your firearm in the direction of something you intend to shoot to avoid possible accidents.

This rule counts for unloaded firearms as well as loaded ones, and the NSSF suggests making a habit of always knowing which direction you gun is pointing. The foundation adds: “If everyone handled a firearm so carefully that the muzzle never pointed at something they didn’t intend to shoot, there would be virtually no firearms accidents.”

2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot — The NRA suggests resting your finger on the frame of your firearm, outside the trigger guard, until you are ready to shoot.

In an article for Guns and Ammo, Dan Johnson points out that while this might feel unnatural, it’s essential for safety.

Johnson explains that older guns, like those from the early 20th century, had external hammer designs that made them safer, but bolt-action designs with hair triggers make it easier to accidently fire your firearm. The same can be said for more modern models like Glocks and XDs.

3. Keep your gun unloaded until ready to use— According to the NRA, if you don’t know how to check if your firearm is loaded, you should probably not be using it.

As with the above mentioned points, keeping your gun unloaded helps prevent accidents.

Survivopedia takes this rule even further by suggesting that gun owners keep their firearms and ammunition separate. That way, if someone gets a hold of your firearm who shouldn't, they won’t be able to do much with it.

4. Know your target and what’s behind it — Before firing your gun, the NRA says you need to be absolutely sure that you’ve identified your target, but you also need to know where your ammunition will go after.

This means you’ll need to take some time to survey your environment before you fire to make sure there are no people or other unintended targets nearby.

Hunter-ed.com adds that everything in front of you and beyond your target is your responsibility.

The site suggests making sure you have a proper backstop for target practice and making sure you never fire at a flat, hard surface or a body of water.

5. Know how to use your gun safely — A firearm is a dangerous weapon and should be treated as such. Do not handle a firearm if you don’t understand how it operates.

Not all firearms work the same way and the NSSF suggests familiarizing yourself with the instruction manual before using your gun.

The NRA says you should at least know how to safely open and close the action and remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine.

It’s also important to remember that a mechanical safety device is never foolproof.

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6. Be sure your gun is safe to operate — Like any other tool, your gun needs to be maintained to ensure it works optimally.

The NRA suggests taking it to a gunsmith if you have any doubts about your firearm’s safety whatsoever. The same goes for guns that are old, haven’t been fired in a while, or those showing visible damage or rust.

7. Only use the correct ammunition for your gun — All firearms are designed to work with a specific kind of ammunition. The NRA says only cartridges designed for your specific gun can be fired safely.

If you’re not sure which ammunition to use, you can check your owner’s manual or look for a stamp on your cartridge box.

The NRA warns that using the incorrect bullets could cause damage to your gun, or even the person holding it.

8. Wear ear and eye protection, where appropriate — If you’ve ever been near a gun when it’s been fired you’ll know that most firearms are loud. So loud, in fact, that the NRA says they could potentially harm your hearing.

Your best defense is a set of ear plugs or muffs, but in an article for the United States Concealed Carry Association, Beth Alcazar writes that she prefers to use ear plugs over muffs.

Alcazar suggests going for an ergonomic shape that fits your ears tightly. She says they’re comfortable and inexpensive.

Similarly, firearms emit gas and debris when fired, which can damage your eyes. A pair of safety glasses that covers the sides of your eyes as well will keep them safe.

The NSSF suggests wearing eye protection while cleaning your gun too. This will guard against springs or cleaning solvents.

9. Never shoot under the influence of alcohol, over-the-counter drugs, or prescription medication — The NRA is very clear when it comes to anything that might impair your mental or physical capabilities: Don’t mix it with firearms. 

The organization points out that even legal medication can have an effect, so it’s best to read labels and talk to your pharmacist about possible side effects.

10. Store guns safely — There are dozens of ways to store your firearms, but whichever method you choose, it’s imperative that no unauthorized person can access it.

This means that only you and those you trust should know where your gun is and how to access it.

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The National Rifle Association is one of America’s oldest civil rights organizations and while it’s widely recognized for its political influence, it was initially started to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis."
gun, safety, tips, nra
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 08:59 AM
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