Updated: Sep 29, 2021
If you’re either planning on purchasing a firearm or already have one, we hope you already know the cardinal rules of handling a gun. If you don’t, then you’ve come to the right place. However, we’re not just going to tell you what they are and send you on your way. We’re also going to go into depth on why these rules are essential and how to better enforce them in this guide to understanding the cardinal rules of safe gun handling. Hopefully, reading through this will help you to better keep others safe while around your firearm.
What the Rules Are
For those of you who haven’t seen them before, here are the four cardinal rules for handling a gun in the safest way possible:
Always treat your firearm as if it’s loaded.
Never point the barrel of your firearm at anything or anyone that you’re not willing to shoot at.
Don’t put your finger on or near the trigger until you’re ready to fire. Don’t rely on the safety.
Make sure your target is clear in front as well as behind it.
As long as you follow these rules to a T, you shouldn’t ever have to worry about firing the gun accidentally and hitting something or someone that you didn’t intend to.
Why They Are Important
It should go without saying that these rules are so vital to avoid needless pain or even death. While the number of deaths each year from accidents is relatively low, the number of injuries is not. Over a third of gunshot wounds happen by accident, and honestly, that number is way too high. It’s up to responsible gun owners like yourself to keep those numbers low—and maybe one day, close to nonexistent.
How You Can Enforce Them
Now that you have a better understanding of the cardinal rules of safe gun handling, it’s time to find ways to make sure accidental shootings don’t happen. You should start by buying a safe. Leaving guns in the open or on display is a recipe for disaster. Gun safes will keep them safe and secure until you’re ready to pull them out. If you insist on displaying your firearm in some fashion, we’d recommend checking out our AR-15 wall lock. It will show off parts of your gun while simultaneously keeping it locked up.
Once it’s secure, you need to find ways to enforce the cardinal rules. Printing them out onto a poster and putting them next to your safe is a great way to do this. Of course, it won’t take long for you to memorize them, but they’ll always be there for others to see when you pull the gun out to show them.
If you don’t want to hang them up somewhere, just make sure you go through them with someone before letting them handle your firearm. This should help significantly cut down on the number of accidents. Also, be sure to remove any bullets if you’re not currently at a range with the intention of using them.