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Gun Safety Basics.

Guns can be used for a variety of activities besides self-defense, such as hunting, riflery, or skeet shooting. Whether you're new to guns or an old pro, it's important to know some basic safety rules before using your weapon. This goes beyond storing rifles in a safe or keeping your handguns in blackhawk holsters. Although these are both good practices, there are a few principles everyone with a firearm should follow at all times to keep both themselves and others safe.

Song Joong Ki in Descendants of the Sun, 2016.

Be Aware of Your Direction
Especially when someone is comfortable holding their firearm, it can be easy to feel safe with it pointed in any direction. This can be incredibly dangerous though in case the gun goes off or misfires; it could seriously injure someone. That's why the first and possibly most important rule of handling a gun is to always point the barrel down and away from others. This ensures any accidents or malfunctions won't harm anyone nearby.

Jo Jung Suk in Two Cops, 2017.

Don't Keep It Loaded
You shouldn't have your gun loaded unless you're using it. That means when you get home from a hunting trip or day at the range, you should make sure to remove all ammunition—including anything that may be in the chamber of your gun—to prevent accidents. It's much safer to show people your guns or handle them in the house when they aren't loaded and there's no risk of it accidentally firing.

Lee Joon Gi in Gunman in Joseon, 2014.

Treat Every Gun Like It's Loaded
Some people rely on their gun's safety features to tell them when it's safe to handle the weapon in a perhaps hazardous manner. This isn't good practice. You should always treat every gun as if it could go off at any moment, whether it's loaded or not and even if the safety is on. This mechanism is a fail-safe feature to help make handling easier, but should not be treated as a perfect safety solution. Along with this rule of thumb, it's wise to stay away from the trigger of a gun unless you intend to shoot it. Even if you think you've removed all the bullets and the safety is on, there is always a chance something could go wrong, so staying away from the trigger is best practice.

These are just a few of many gun safety rules, but they'll help novices learn good behaviors around firearms and remind experts accidents can still happen.

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