These are the ten Cardinal rules of firearm safety, you break any one of these and you or someone else could die, many have. Firearms are very unforgiving of mistakes or foolishness. The first mistake you make could be someone else’s last breath on earth. Red signifies Extreme DANGER, especially in uneducated hands.
1. Treat EVERY gun as if it were loaded AT ALL TIMES! (crucial mindset, there is no such thing as an unloaded gun!)
2. MAKE SURE ANY gun you handle is pointed in a safe direction. (because it is loaded!) Never ‘assume’ otherwise!
3. NEVER point a gun that is loaded at anything/anyone you do not intend to destroy. (Proper mindset, remember, they are ALL loaded!)
4. Be aware that a round as small as a .22 LR bullet can travel up to a mile or more. (you must know where the bullet will end up or DO NOT take the shot!)
5. When target practicing ENSURE there is a backstop high enough and with no hard objects, to avoid ricochets.
6. ALWAYS ensure your firearm is UNLOADED and the action OPEN before ever handing the gun to anyone! Check it TWICE. (that person must then handle it exactly as if it were loaded!) People are killed by ‘unloaded’ firearms every year!
7. While hunting, ALWAYS unload your gun before climbing up or over anything, jumping ditches, or negotiating any obstacle in your way. (use good sense to avoid any accidental discharge)
8. While hunting ALWAYS be able to IDENTIFY your game first, OR DO NOT TAKE A SHOT!! (also, look beyond your game before shooting , if you see blaze orange DO NOT SHOOT, the deer/whatever is NEVER that important!)
9. NEVER shoot at or over open water with ANYTHING other than a shotgun loaded with bird-shot. Bullets from rifles and handguns will ‘glance’ off water causing them to fly wildly. (you can/will be held accountable for any negligence with a firearm)
10. Alcohol, Drugs, and firearms are a deadly combination, NEVER consume ANYTHING that will even mildly impair your judgement or physical coordination when you are about to use a firearm!!
A mechanical ‘safety’ on a firearm does NOT give you license to carelessly handle the firearm, anything man makes can break. YOU are the overriding ‘master‘ safety on ANY firearm that you handle!
Remember, Firearm Education will save lives, Firearm Ignorance can take lives. Please, pass these life saving rules on.
Sincerely, Mark Shean
Former NRA Law Enforcement Instructor
Below, answers to the firearm TEST: from Gun Sense #29, Firearm Safety Test with relevance to Ma.
1. T, With the exception of ‘black powder’ firearms, if there is no percussion cap on the ‘nipple’ or flint in the ‘jaws’ of the hammer, they are considered unloaded. Read Gun Sense # 2
2. T, There is nothing in the law that states this, but there is a common misconception among law enforcement that this is so. You can be arrested on a misconception with all the associated legal/financial hassles, so take a proactive stance and keep them separated.
5. ‘Stored or Kept’ condition. Read Gun Sense # 22
6. Unloaded and secured in a locked container or fitted with a mechanical device that would render it useless. Read Gun Sense # 22
7. If it is a hand gun under your direct control Yes, if it is a rifle or shotgun No, they must always be in the ‘stored condition’ in your vehicle .
8. Y, Please read Gun Sense #3, 16, & 17
10. Y, You must have the ‘mind set’ that they are always loaded. Read Gun Sense # 4
12. Y, They all can kill you.
13. N, Read Gun Sense # 5
14. N, Never trust anyone on this issue. You will handle it just as if it were loaded! Read Gun Sense # 4
15. Ten seconds. Read Gun Sense # 5
16. T, People say that this is just common sense, I say if it is such ‘common sense’ why are there shooting accidents every year? A deer/etc. is not important enough to endanger a human, you must be absolutely sure. Be an ethical hunter, only hunt for what you have set out to hunt, do not shoot at anything that walks, crawls, flies or slithers just because your in the woods with a gun.
17. A bullet that was not loaded with enough gun powder, or no gun powder. Read Gun Sense # 6
18. N, Anything man makes can break, you are the ‘master’ safety on any firearm you handle. Read Gun Sense # 10
19. T, Under Ma. law. When you fill out your application, they already know your record if you have one, they expect you to tell them what they already know about you, be honest.
20. Y. We all do, every one of us, ’nuff’ said.
21. As of 8-13-2014, this is True
22. Y. ALWAYS keep copies of anything you turn in to the police, especially relating to firearms.
23. Y. Ammo is to be locked and secure in original containers when not in use. (see 527, Board of Fire Prevention Regulations under MGL chapter 148 s 13) State Fire Marshall.
Thank you for taking this test, please pass it on so those you know will be more aware around firearms. Remember, they are ALL loaded, ALL the time. Read Gun Sense # 4
Mark Shean About Me
Your comments/insight are welcomed.