As of 2015, 31.6% of Georgia owns a gun. This statistic is unsurprising given an entire Georgia city, Kennesaw, passed a law in 1982 requiring heads of households to maintain a firearm and ammunition. According to one study, people of all ages are significantly more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries when they live in states with more guns, compared to states with fewer guns. While the 2nd Amendment protects the right to own a gun, many firearm owners have never taken a basic firearm safety course. The following are a few precautions to take for gun safety.
Always Treat the Gun as If It Is Loaded
Even if the gun-store owner hands you the gun and promises it’s unloaded, deal with it as if it were. Many accidents happen every year because people mistakenly believe the gun is unloaded before pointing it at someone else or themselves. Children who are aware their parents keep guns but unaware that those guns are kept loaded in case of an emergency might accidently shoot themselves. It may be helpful to teach your children this simple rule in case they come across a gun at a neighbor’s house.
Never Point the Muzzle at a Non-target
Unless you intend to kill or injure someone, always regard pointing a gun at another person as a threat. If you treat even unloaded guns as a potentially loaded weapon, you’re less likely to accidentally point a gun at an innocent person in the future. Always keep your weapon pointed at the ground until you intend to use it.
Keep Your Finger off the Trigger Until Shooting
Many people have been injured in an accidental shooting where the gun holder’s finger was too close to the trigger. This part of the gun is designed to respond to pressure. People who keep their finger on the trigger when they don’t intend to shoot might be startled by something and clench their hands as a reaction. As a general rule, keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you’re ready to discharge your weapon.
Don’t Shoot Your Gun in the Air
Some individuals love to use guns as a type of noisemaker during celebrations. However, unlike firecrackers, guns are designed to kill. The bullets launched into the air will come down somewhere. While gravity doesn’t have as much force behind it as the initial gunshot, the bullet will fall with enough force to pierce the skin and even bone. Several people are killed every year as a result of celebratory gunfire. Children are particularly vulnerable, as their skulls and skin are softer than the average adult’s. At least two anti-celebratory gunfire laws have been passed in different states named after children who were killed by falling bullets.
Lock Them Up When You’re Not Using Them
If you have children in the house, you want to ensure they don’t play with any firearms. Last year, almost 90 3-year-olds were killed or injured in accidental shootings. Most of the wounds were self-inflicted injuries. Kids are naturally curious. Telling them no or warning them against danger will not be enough of a deterrent to prevent them from examining something they find interesting, even forbidden. Keep your guns in a locked cabinet. Hidden firearms can be found, and locked boxes can be opened by persistent minors. Make sure your children are protected.
Responsible gun ownership saves lives. Accidents do happen, however. If you’ve been injured by a gun or a gun malfunction, contact one of our Georgia gunshot injury lawyers at 404-566-9460 or fill out our online form for a free case review.