About the Study Guide

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Firearm incidents don't "just happen." Most incidents are caused by:

  • Carelessness, or
  • Ignorance of safety rules.

This manual and your instructors will give you all the information you need to prevent firearm incidents. After class, it is up to YOU to apply the information you learn. Make firearm safety a habit you follow whenever handling firearms.

There are four simple rules to follow each and every time you are around firearms.

Muzzle control:  always point your muzzle in a safe direction
  1. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and under control.
    What is a safe direction? Only you can decide what is safe. For example, if you have a hunter on your left, you should not have the muzzle pointing in that direction. The safest direction may change, depending on what happens around you. Think! Be alert at all times!
  2. Treat all guns as if they were loaded.
    This means no horseplay—ever! Always be careful when handling firearms. It is surprising how careless some people can be when they think a firearm is unloaded! Always inspect the chamber and magazine to prove to yourself that the firearm is not loaded. Make this a habit to live by!
  3. Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it.
    Never point a firearm at something you do not wish to shoot. While hunting, you must be able to identify your target clearly before shooting. You know that bullets and pellets can travel a long way. Be sure that you know where the bullets or pellets will hit if you miss your target! Is it a safe shot? Is it a legal shot? Is it an ethical shot?
  4. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire!
    Most people want to put their finger on the trigger immediately after picking up a firearm. Never put your finger near the trigger until you are ready to fire.

Some people think these rules only apply to rifles, shotguns, and handguns. Wrong! Safety rules apply to everything, including BB guns and pellet guns. BB guns and pellet guns have injured many people over the years. Be just as careful with air guns as you are with firearms.