The 3 Basic Rules of Firearm Safety
As you learn these rules, keep in mind that they encompass a number of safe handling practices.
1. Treat Every Firearm as if it Were Loaded
This is the cardinal rule of firearm safety. Many firearm incidents occur when a person assumes the firearm they are holding is not loaded. Every single time you pick up a firearm treat it as if it were loaded. Open the action and check to see whether ammunition is present. When another hunter hands you a firearm, do not accept it unless the firearm is unloaded and the action is open and visible.
2. Keep the Muzzle Pointed in a Safe Direction
It is your responsibility to always control the muzzle of your firearm and ensure it is pointed in a safe direction. This rule should be followed at ALL times, even if the firearm is unloaded or in a protective case. If you remember and obey this rule, you will not have to worry about hurting any person or damaging property.
3. Be Sure of Your Target, In Front and Beyond
Making good decisions is part of being a safe hunter. Always identify the target and ensure it is legal and ethical to shoot before your finger goes into the trigger guard and onto the trigger. Take care not to mistake another hunter for a game animal. Always remember that once the trigger is pulled, you cannot call back that bullet. Be sure there is no one in front of or behind the animal that the bullet might hit. Always have a good backstop, such as a dirt mound to stop the bullet. NEVER shoot toward the top of a hill. You cannot be certain about what's on the other side.