A trained professional conducting a course on the basic rules of gun safety

7 Gun Safety Rules Every Gun Owner Should Abide By

When you visit a MAC Shows event, you’ll see vendors and attendees alike following the basic gun safety rules that help keep our events friendly, safe, and welcoming. That doesn’t mean firearms safety has to end at the door when you leave. We love to see old friends and new at our local gun shows, and that means knowing and understanding how to own, use, and store your weapons safely. The Second Amendment gives you the right to keep and bear arms, and one of the best ways gun owners can protect those rights is by being responsible citizens when it comes to gun safety. 

Gun Safety Rules are Active Guidelines

Whether you own a gun for hunting, self-defense, or your love of shooting sports, there’s a good chance you’re not the type who likes to sit around and wait for things to work out on their own. That’s good because firearms safety is an active process. From ensuring safe handling to practicing the skills you need for better shooting and storing your firearms when they’re not in use, safety requires intent and effort. 

It’s also important to know that there is a gun rule out there for just about every situation. Far more gun safety rules than we could cover in any blog, so we’re going to focus on the top gun safety rules you need to know to stay safe and keep out of trouble at home, in the field, or when using a range.

Top Gun Safety Rules

  1. The Gun is ALWAYS Loaded Until YOU Make Sure It Is Empty and Made Safe.

The first rule of gun safety for not just gun owners but also friends and family members of all ages is to treat every gun like it is loaded. That means you handle every firearm you encounter like it is ready to go off, with a round chambered and a hair trigger. Once you’ve verified a gun is unloaded and visually inspected the empty chamber, only then can you be sure the weapon is truly safe. Even then, care should be taken to follow the other gun safety rules as if the weapon is loaded to prevent miscommunications with others. If you leave the immediate area of the weapon or hand it to someone else, re-check it before assuming it’s unloaded when it’s back in your custody. At MAC Shows events, all guns are checked, inspected, and tied before being allowed in, making it easier to tell at a glance the gun is unloaded and made safe.

  1. NEVER Point a Gun in the Direction of ANYTHING You Don’t Intend to Shoot.

Loaded, unloaded, or somewhere in between, avoid pointing the gun at anything or anyone you don’t want to shoot. Accidents can happen, and many of the basic gun safety rules are designed to not only prevent accidents but also keep them from becoming tragedies. From accidental injuries suffered while cleaning an “unloaded” gun to deaths resulting from treating a firearm like a toy, pointing the weapon in a safe direction is a basic tenet of firearms safety. When you visit our shows, you’ll see vendors and attendees carefully keeping the barrels away from others while inspecting weapons on the exhibit floor.

  1. ALWAYS Keep Your Gun Properly SECURED.

Your firearm is your responsibility, so you need to do everything in your power to keep it out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have it, access it, or use it. This includes choosing the right equipment if you plan on carrying a weapon in the field, the right transport containers to keep it safe while traveling, and the proper storage system for your home, whether you need long-term security and protection or need to keep your gun accessible for self-defense. That’s why we inspect and tie guns brought in for sale or trade at a show, and vendors frequently employ trigger locks or cable locks on the weapons they sell. 

Holsters should be appropriately sized and designed to both protect the weapon from wear and prevent accidental firing. Cases should be lockable, with enough space to hold the weapon and any accessories safely. Finally, choose a strong and spacious gun safe for the majority of your firearms to fit into unloaded, and ensure you get an accessible safe, such as a biometric lockbox, if you want to keep a gun ready for rapid threat response. 

Man in a red shirt wearing an outside the waistband holster with a firearm safely stored
  1. Know What’s BEHIND and AROUND Your Target.

When shooting, you’re responsible for every bullet fired, which means positively identifying your target, ensuring there’s nothing behind it to be hit by a tray round, and making sure the immediate area is clear. While this can be easy at a range where everyone is following proper gun safety rules, in dynamic situations where every shot counts, situations become more complicated. When hunting, this may mean ensuring you don’t see another orange vest anywhere in your sight picture, while in home defense, this can include being cognizant of which room the wall behind a threat leads to. When inspecting weapons at our show, many attendees will find a clear corner to sight down the barrel, preventing accidents and maintaining a focus on firearms safety.

  1. Use Ammunition Appropriate for Your Firearm and Use Case.

Make sure you’re loading your weapon with new, commercially produced rounds or reloads from a trusted hand-loader in the right caliber and pressure for your weapon. Shooting the wrong ammunition can block your gun barrel, fail to cycle the weapon, or turn it into a bomb in your hands. Make sure you know what your gun’s manufacturer specifies as recommended ammo, and practice with it in a safe space before trusting your and others’ lives to it. Target rounds have different characteristics from both hunting and self-defense rounds, so it’s important you learn how your ammunition works with your gun and your training while shooting. Many of our vendors are also a great resource for help identifying the rounds best suited for your gun and shooting needs.

  1. Have the GUN SAFETY Talk with Your Kids.
Man discussing gun safety with his wife and children

Make sure your kids understand the basics of gun safety, including both treating every gun as loaded and getting an adult immediately if they happen to find a gun lying around or a friend is playing with one. Guns are powerful tools when used properly, but they aren’t meant for kids except under tightly controlled adult supervision when being taught or trained.

It’s also a good chance to talk about situational awareness, protecting private information, and making good decisions. Protecting our kids is everyone’s responsibility, and many of our vendors are more than happy to talk with polite attendees of any age about their merchandise and gun safety rules.

  1. Responsibly Learn, Practice, and Repeat.

Finally, if you’re going to own such a powerful tool that can have life-changing implications every time you pull the trigger, you need to do more than just read a few gun safety rules. You need to learn how to use the weapon properly, become proficient, and maintain that skill level. It not only keeps you ready if called upon to use your gun for hunting or defense but also will help make your shooting hobby a more enriching experience. Your local gun show is a great place to get in touch with local trainers, ranges, and shooting groups to help you hone your skills.

Find Your Next Firearm at Your Local Gun Show

Firearms safety is front and center at our local gun shows, where you can find vendors from across the country, local small businesses, and your neighbors gathered together to buy, sell, and trade firearms in a comfortable event space. If you have any questions about gun safety rules, bring them with you. With so many experienced firearms professionals under one roof, you’ll find plenty of people ready to share knowledge. Make your plans to come to the next MAC Shows event near you today.

Like This Article?