One of the fundamental components to safe and responsible firearm ownership is education. Be educated about how your firearm operates so that you can use it with confidence. Add training, cleaning, and safe storage, and you’re well on your way to being a responsible firearm owner.

Know How Your Firearm Operates

Take the time to learn everything you can about your new firearm. If you know what your firearm can and can’t do, you will be better prepared to make sure it’s safe while in your home.

To understand how it operates, spend some time reading through your owner’s manual and watching videos online. There are thousands of quality videos of people operating just about every firearm.

You should also learn how to thoroughly clean your firearm. Cleaning firearms is similar across most styles, but there may be some special things worth learning about for your specific firearm that don’t apply to other firearms.

Get Proper Safety Training

We always recommend new and experienced firearm owners get professional training on how to safely handle and securely store your firearm.

Talk to Members of Your Family

Every member of your family has the responsibility to know how to properly act–and react–to the firearm in the home. Help them to understand that a firearm is harmless when it’s just sitting around; it’s only when someone picks it up that it can become dangerous.

Therefore, every member of your household should know that you have a firearm in the home, where it is, and what steps you’ve taken to ensure that everyone is safer because of it. Eventually, everyone should learn how to handle the firearm (when age appropriate), and what to do if they come across an unattended firearm.

Older members of your household should be trained on how to check if a firearm is loaded, how to properly load and unload it, how to clean it and to lock it up and put it into storage–while young children should learn that if they come upon a firearm that’s left out in the open, they should leave it alone and immediately get an adult.

Key members of your family should also be aware of what locks and combinations are in use so they can access the firearm(s) in case of emergency.

When appropriate, take your family on outings to the range to learn how to shoot and practice with your firearms. Education is a primary step in becoming a responsible firearm owner, especially as it relates to your household. Please watch for Part 4 of the series and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.