The Cardinal Rules: 5 Things You Should Never Do as a Responsible Gun Owner

Holding a firearm safely

In the realm of gun ownership, responsibility and awareness are paramount. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or new to the world of firearms, understanding what not to do is just as critical as knowing the right steps to take. For responsible gun owners and safety enthusiasts keen on preserving the integrity and safety of their passion, some actions are unequivocally off-limits.

Here are the five cardinal rules that stand at the forefront of responsible gun ownership:

1. Neglecting Firearm Safety Basics

Many seasoned gun owners become complacent over time and begin to ignore the basic firearm safety rules. Maintaining firearm safety is an ongoing process in order to keep your habits and understanding up-to-date. Just like any learned skill, training is perishable and must be continually refreshed.

Even if you’ve owned a gun for years, refreshing your knowledge on the fundamentals can shine a light on bad habits you may have developed. Do not make the mistake of neglecting the basics and ignore the essential safety rules:

  1. Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
  2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  3. Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy
  4. Always know your target, what is beyond the target, and what is between you and the target.

2. Failing to Secure Your Firearm

Responsible gun ownership means ensuring that your firearm is stored safely and securely, out of the reach of unauthorized users. An unsecured gun poses a significant risk, particularly in households with children. To prevent accidents:

  • Use gun safes or locks: Invest in a quality gun safe or locking mechanism. This simple step can be the difference between safety and tragedy.
  • Consider quick-access safes for defensive weapons: For those who keep a firearm for home defense, quick-access safes offer a secure, yet accessible, storage solution.

3. Carrying Without Proper Licensing

Carrying a firearm, whether openly or concealed, typically requires a permit or license. Bypassing this legal requirement jeopardizes not just your safety but also has legal ramifications that could include fines or jail time. Even for states with permitless carry or constitutional carry, maintaining a carry license can provide many legal protections and the ability to carry in more locations. Ensure that you:

  • Understand your state’s laws: Gun laws vary significantly from state to state. Familiarize yourself with the requirements in your area and adhere strictly to them.
  • Renew your licenses on time: Keep track of renewal dates for your permits to avoid unintentional lapses in legality.

4. Ignoring Gun Maintenance

A well-maintained firearm is a safer firearm. Regular cleaning and maintenance ensure that your gun operates as intended, reducing the risk of malfunctions that could lead to accidents. Points to remember include:

  • Clean your firearm: In general, it is usually a good idea to clean your firearm after going to the range. Even if not used frequently, a gun can accumulate dust and rust that might impair its functionality while sitting in a gun safe.
  • Inspect your firearm before use: Always check your gun for signs of wear and tear or potential issues before heading to the range or carrying it for self-defense. If you have battery powered optics on your firearm, be sure to check when they need to be replaced.

5. Being Complacent About Training

Gun ownership is an ongoing commitment to safety, responsibility, and training. Becoming complacent or lax in your duties as a responsible gun owner can have severe consequences. Do not become an incompetent gun owner that thinks they are experienced but have no real training. This involves:

  • Professional In-Person Training: Every gun owner should pursue professional in-person firearms training. Seek out vetted and professional firearm instructors in your area.
  • Staying informed: Laws, regulations, and best practices evolve. Keeping abreast of changes ensures you remain an informed member of the gun ownership community.

In Conclusion

Adhering to these guidelines not only marks you as a responsible gun owner but also contributes to the safety and well-being of those around you. Firearms are powerful tools, and with great power comes the utmost responsibility. By avoiding these five cardinal mistakes, you reinforce the bedrock of safe and responsible gun ownership.

Remember, the goal is not only to protect oneself but to ensure the safety and security of all. Through diligent practice, ongoing education, and a deep-seated commitment to responsibility, we can uphold the values that define the conscientious gun ownership community.

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