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Firearms Safety Instructions

All firearms have the potential to produce serious injury or death in a single instant, and safe gun handling procedures should be followed at all times. It is the responsibility of the purchaser or user of any firearm to become educated on the maintenance and use of the firearm and to use the firearm in a safe, law-abiding manner so as not to injure or kill anyone, including themselves. Any user not familiar with a firearm or the use thereof should request information from a licensed dealer or gunsmith. In addition, all users should review the instructions and warnings provided by the firearm's manufacturer. The instructions contained below are helpful, but nothing can take the place of experience and hands on instruction. All purchasers or users of firearms are encouraged to attend firearm safety classes staffed with licensed instructors.

1. CONSIDER ALL GUNS TO BE LOADED AT ALL TIMES - Each and every time you pick-up or are handed a firearm or pass it along to another person, check immediately (with finger off trigger) to make sure that it is not loaded. Learn how to look into the chamber(s) and magazine, if any, which may be fixed, detachable, or tubular for the presence of live ammunition. Remove any magazine and unload all weapons before handling, dry firing, or cleaning, etc. If you don't know how to check the chamber(s), seek help from either the gun-manufacturer's instructions, the dealer, or an authorized salesperson.

2. NEVER POINT A GUN AT ANYTHING THAT YOU DO NOT INTEND TO IMMEDIATELY SHOOT - Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction. In selecting a safe direction, you must also take into consideration that a bullet can ricochet or glance off any object it strikes, and that bullets can penetrate walls, ceilings, floors, and windows. Always be certain that your target and the surrounding area are safe before firing. Remember that a bullet can travel as much as several miles, so you should be certain of what your bullet could strike before you pull the trigger. Never fire at a movement, a noise, a flash of color, or a rustling bush without positively identifying your target.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL READY TO SHOOT - Keep your finger out of the gun's trigger guard and off the trigger until you have aligned the gun's sights on a safe target and you have made the decision to fire. By keeping your finger completely outside the trigger guard until you have aimed at the target, you guarantee that any shots you fire will go safely in the direction of your intended target.

4. LEARN HOW THE WEAPON FUNCTIONS (OPERATION OF THE SAFETY, ETC.) - Read all instructions supplied by the gun manufacturer. If you are still not sure how the weapon works, ask the dealer or authorized salesperson. If you are generally unfamiliar with weapons, seek further training and advice from safe-handling courses offered by a local gun club or NRA-approved instructors.

5. THE SAFETY - The safety is designed to prevent the accidental firing of the weapons. A manual safety, usually a lever or button, when engaged, mechanically-blocks the sear, hammer, firing pin, or any combination thereof. The automatic safety, such as a separate grip safety usually found on a semi-automatic handgun, prevents firing until depressed when the hand firmly-grasps the grip or stock. Test the safety frequently with the gun unloaded, if it "fires" with the safety engaged, the gun is unsafe. See a competent gunsmith immediately before further use of the firearm.

6. NEVER LEAVE A FIREARM (LOADED OR UNLOADED) WITHIN EASY REACH OR ACCESS OF A CHILD - If a child gains access to, or improperly-uses your firearm, you may be fined or imprisoned, or both, if convicted of this reckless child-endangerment. All children should be taught gun safety at an early age or when they show curiosity. Impress upon them how deadly a weapon can be and that they are not toys. If a child's curiosity is satisfied with education and supervision, they are far less likely to seek-out a weapon and handle it without an adult being present.

7. LOADING THE WEAPON WITH PROPER AMMUNITION - Lean how to properly load the weapons and its magazine, if any, with clean high quality, commercially-manufactured ammunition designed for that particular firearm. Using the wrong ammunition could destroy the gun and cause great bodily harm. Reloaded ammunition could be outside safe pressure limits and its use may void a factory warranty. Refer to instruction #11. Again, after reading all supplied instruction, if you're unsure how to load the weapon, ask the dealer or authorized salesperson to demonstrate.

8. WHERE TO LEGALLY AND SAFELY SHOOT - Be sure to shoot only in authorized areas. If you are unsure, ask the dealer or check with local law-enforcement. For the first few times shooting, go with someone who knows the sport. Learn proper conduct when shooting with others from a rangemaster or other knowledgeable person. To avoid an accidental discharge, never place your finger on the trigger until the firearm is aimed at the target and you intend to fire.

9. BEFORE SHOOTING, MAKE SURE THAT THE BARREL AND CHAMBER ARE CLEAN, DRY, AND FREE OF ANY OBSTRUCTIONS.

10. ALWAYS WEAR HEARING AND EYE PROTECTION WHEN SHOOTING OR OBSERVING.

11. MALFUNCTIONS - Cease firing, aim the weapon in a safe direction, wait 30 seconds, unload, and see a gunsmith, rangemaster, or other qualified person if the gun (a) fails to fire (misfire), (b) fires slightly after the trigger pull (hangfire), (c) fires but produces a very slight or peculiar recoil (possibly a "squib load" that may lodge the bullet in the barrel causing a serious obstruction), (d) fails to feed ammunition from the magazine, (e) fails to extract or eject rounds, or (f) does anything that you don't understand. Never fire a weapon that fails to function properly.

12. DANGER SIGNS OF EXCESSIVE PRESSURE - This potentially-serious shooting condition, with many possible causes, may result in injury to the shooter and/or damage to the weapon. Inspect some of the first few fired cartridge cases out of each lot of ammunition used. Excessive pressure generally shows-up around the base area of the case. Watch-out for (a) primers that are flattened, blown out, heavily cratered or extruded, (b) shiny objector marks or general flattening on the base, (c) a black, sooty gas leakage around the primer, or (d) head expansion or bulging. Most reloading manuals show good pictures of these conditions. Difficulty opening the action or ejecting the cases may also be signs of excessive chamber pressure. If danger signs exist, stop using that lot and dispose of such ammunition as per manufacturer's instructions. Continue shooting only when the firearm is functioning properly with ammunition showing no signs of excessive chamber pressure.

13. FIELD STRIPPING, CLEANING AND LUBRICATION - Learn these basically simple but very important operations to properly maintain your weapon. Wear eye protection to avoid injury from flying parts, cleaning agents, or aerosol solvents. Do not over lubricate - especially in the barrel where too much lubricant could obstruct the bullet's path and dangerously-raise gas pressure.

14. TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS - It is generally acceptable for law-abiding persons, who are not prohibited by any law, to transport firearms to-and-from shooting ranges in any state, or to-and-from any other legal areas to shoot, hunt, or possess such weapons unless prohibited by Federal, State, or local law. Be sure all weapons are unloaded and locked in the trunk. Store all ammunition in a different part of the vehicle.


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