As a new gun owner, you'll need to learn how to safely operate your firearm. If you don’t, you put yourself, your family, and anyone around you at risk for injury or death. You need to invest some time to ensure you know how to safely operate your firearm.
Ask for Help at the Gun Shop
Before you buy your gun and leave the shop, have the seller go over the gun with you. In some states, like California, you are required to perform a safe-handling demonstration with your new firearm in front of a DOJ-certified instructor to obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC).
Make sure you know:
- How to load your gun safely
- How to safely store your firearm when not in use
- How to disassemble your gun to clean it, and then reassemble it
- How to safely unload your firearm
- How to use your trigger lock
- How to ensure your gun is not loaded
- How your gun’s safety works
- What type of ammo you should use
Take a Class in Gun Safety
Unless you have someone who can teach you how to use your firearm, it's a good idea to take a class in gun safety. This can help you avoid injury or damage to your firearm (or yourself!).
Practice Makes Perfect
Remember, it will take a little time to get used to your gun safety routine and feel comfortable handling a firearm. That’s okay. The more you handle your gun and practice your safety steps, the better you will remember what needs to be done. If you need to, make a checklist of everything you have to do to put your gun away; safety on, make sure it’s not loaded, etc.
Safely Store Your Gun
Before you return home with your new firearm, you should already have a plan in place for storing it. Most states don’t require you to put your gun into a locked safe, but you could be held liable if it falls into the wrong hands and someone is injured, killed, or commits a crime with it. Check your state's gun storage laws (the gun shop you purchase from should know this) and make sure you're prepared before you bring your firearm home.