The topic of firearms seems to be a "third rail" issue for most folks these days. Merely mention the subject and many conversations turn awkward, at best.
There are roughly 310 million firearms which are privately owned in the US. Guns can be found just about everywhere, in homes, businesses, parks, places of worship, and on people. Given that reality, why aren't we more comfortable talking about gun safety? Why don't we, at the very least, talk about safe firearm handling?Guns are a necessary and important law enforcement tool. The company that produces our primary handgun, Smith and Wesson, has published some basic gun handling safety guidelines, which include, but are not limited to the following:
- Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction.
- Treat ALL firearms as if they were loaded.
- Keep your trigger finger outside the trigger guard and off of the trigger until you are ready to fire.
- Be certain of your target, your line of fire, and what lies beyond your target.
- Always wear appropriate eye and ear protection when shooting and maintaining your firearm.
- Never handle a firearm if you are drinking alcohol or using drugs.
I know there are many other gun safety guidelines, which address issues such as accessories, maintenance and storage, but I wanted to focus strictly on some key handling guidelines here. If you are interested in more information, a simple web search will provide you with some interesting articles and videos. By the way, when your kids encounter a gun, make sure they know to stop, do not touch it and tell an adult.
So, with the sheer number of firearms out there, we need to set aside our philosophical or political differences on the subject and be staunch supporters of firearms safety. With firearms, handle with care. As always, let's be careful out there.