When Is a Handgun Considered Loaded?

In your firearms training, you’ll spend a great deal of time covering safety rules, such as the importance of storing your gun unloaded. However, people often wonder about what exactly defines a gun as being loaded. Understanding what constitutes a loaded handgun and how to handle one helps you be a responsible gun owner. The firearms safety education experts from Gun Safety Training Pros, a top-tier provider of gun safety training classes, explain when a handgun is considered loaded.

What’s the Legal Definition of a Loaded Handgun?

The definition of a loaded handgun can vary according to where you are and who you’re talking to at the time. For instance, the military tends to define a loaded handgun as one that’s ready to fire. You may also hear that a gun is loaded when it has an unexpended cartridge or projectile that’s in a position where manually operating the firearm could cause it to fire. A good rule of thumb to follow is to make sure there’s no ammunition in the handgun at all. Keep in mind that simply removing the magazine doesn’t always mean there isn’t ammo in the chamber. Performing a complete inspection of the gun is the only way to know for sure if it’s unloaded.

Can You Carry a Loaded Gun in a Car?

The simple answer is that you’re typically allowed to carry a loaded gun in your car. However, laws vary from one jurisdiction to another, which is why it’s important to always pay attention to the gun regulations any time you plan to cross state lines. For example, you may be required to have a permit to transport a handgun in the main cab of your vehicle. You may also be required to keep it concealed and away from anyone who’s under the age of 18. Some state even require the gun and ammunition to be stored and transported separately. 

Can You Trust Someone Who Says a Gun Is Unloaded?

Smart firearm owners always assume a gun is loaded. While you might trust your close friend or family member in many situations, it’s best for everyone to handle a gun for the first time with the assumption that someone might have made a mistake. By placing the responsibility for checking a gun’s safety on yourself, you reduce the potential for negligent discharge.

How Should You Handle a Loaded Gun?

No matter how the gun came into your possession, your first goal is to ensure the safety is on, if it has one. You’ll also want to pick up the gun carefully while keeping your hands off the trigger. Your finger should never go on the trigger or inside the trigger guard until you are ready to fire. The muzzle of the gun should also be pointed in a safe direction where it’s not capable of harming anyone. Once you have the gun in a safe position, you can then check to see if it’s loaded and proceed with your intended purpose for handling the firearm.

Every person who owns or carries a firearm should know how to handle and store a gun safely, and that begins with high-quality training. The experts at Gun Safety Training Pros are committed to providing exceptional training for both new and longtime gun owners. If you’re looking for a premier online gun safety course, you can rely on the experienced professionals at Gun Safety Training Pros. Contact us today at [email protected].

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