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A cardinal rule amongst gun owners and shooters everywhere is that safety practices should be followed at all times. The careless handling of firearms can result in serious injury and even death, therefore it is imperative that gun owners and users should maintain appropriate handling procedures in every situation where a firearm is present. Beginning shooters should be introduced to safety guidelines and even advanced shooters should brush up on them from time to time to keep the shooting community safe from harm and free from the ridicule that often comes with mistakes made.

We've all seen the stories in the news about gun handling gone bad. A recent incident involved famous baseball player Jose Canseco who shot off his finger while cleaning his gun. While much of the world got a laugh at his expense, the danger associated with his mistake was very real. Surprisingly, mistakes such as this are fairly commonplace and can be found in the news on a regular basis.

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Photo: Truth About Guns

Some gun accidents are reckless and others are careless, but they all have one thing in common: they are avoidable. Whether it was a woman shooting herself with a weapon she intended to use for self-defense or a man who shot himself in the hand with the bullet passing through and going on to kill his dog, all of these incidents could be avoided by establishing and following safety protocols at all times. If some of this sounds far-fetched or you have any doubts about the types of gun accidents that occur, have a closer look at these 13 incidents.

Gun manufacturers are proponents of gun safety, and Ruger is no exception. In addition to caring about the performance of their firearms and the wellbeing of consumers, no manufacturer wants to see their weapons as part of the aftermath of an accidental discharge. To encourage safety all around, Ruger has dedicated a page on their website to gun safety, which features the cardinal rules below:

  1. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.
  2. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and keep your finger off the trigger, until you are ready to shoot.
  3. Firearms should be unloaded and securely stored when not in use.
  4. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before using.
  5. Be sure of your target before you shoot.
  6. Wear shooting glasses and ear protection when you shoot.
  7. Never climb a tree or fence, or do anything awkward with a loaded firearm.
  8. Don't shoot at a hard surface or at water.
  9. Never transport a loaded firearm.
  10. Avoid alcoholic beverages or drugs when shooting or handling a gun.
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Ruger's tips for safe firearm handling are an excellent jumping off point for consumers to follow. Additionally, you can view safety videos here and download a free safety guide here. The NRA also provides its own list of safety rules and guidelines here.

While it may be tempting to shrug off the gun accident of another, it is still of the utmost importance that you ensure you yourself never have one. In addition to protecting yourself, you need to keep in mind the safety and wellbeing of others around you. No one ever wants to find themselves in the position of having accidentally caused permanent injury, or worse yet taken a life, so be sure to take the initiative to learn proper weapons handling if you have not already done so. If you are a new gun owner, contact your local shooting range for assistance in firearms training. Should they not provide such a service, they can likely point you toward a certified, reputable person who does.

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Photo: Truth About Guns

Are there any safety guidelines you wish to add to the list above? Is there any rule in particular that you feel needs to be reinforced? Let us know in the comments.
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