Throughout the country, police response times range from five to eleven minutes. If there’s an intruder in your house or someone who attempts to rob you, that’s just not enough time to get the protection you need.

That’s why many American’s choose to take advantage of their second amendment rights. The second amendment exists so good citizens can defend themselves in a worst-case scenario. This is why 40 percent of Americans have guns in the household.

But gun owners are only safe if they know how to use guns. This article will walk you through a couple of gun safety tips, to make sure you act as a responsible gun owner when protecting yourself.

1. Never Point Your Gun Unless You Intend To Fire It

Later, we’ll talk about making sure your safety is on, making sure guns are loaded only when you need them loaded, and making sure that you don’t injure yourself when firing. But for now, it’s important to understand that the golden rule of ownership is to never point your gun unless you intend to fire it.

Considering the devastating effects a gun injury can have, it’s always better safe than sorry. Close to 30,000 people a year are admitted to the hospital with gun injuries.

Treat every gun as though it’s loaded. If you’ve made sure that the safety is on — assume that it’s somehow been clicked off. If you’ve made sure that it isn’t loaded — assume that a bullet accidentally loaded into the chamber.

Any number of things can happen to make a seemingly danger-free gun deadly.

Treating every gun as if it’s loaded also helps you build up respect around guns. If you’re constantly joking around unloaded guns — pretending to shoot yourself and pretending to stick up friends — you’ll develop the kind of confidence around guns that isn’t beneficial.

Of course, it’s important to be confident in your ability to maintain, reload, and fire your weapon. However, the confidence to walk in front of the barrel of a gun crosses the border to stupidity.

2. Keep Your Gun Unloaded When It’s Not In Use

We understand the desire to keep your gun loaded and ready to go. You want to be able to defend yourself and your family at a moment’s notice. However, storing your gun loaded around the house is an accident waiting to happen.

If you have children, it’s hard for them to understand the severity of a gun. You don’t want them getting in touch with a loaded weapon.

You also have to consider that when guns get a little older, they don’t necessarily need to have their triggers pulled to set them off. Dropping your gun — or banging into it — can cause it to go off and cause property damage or injury.

You should also keep your gun unloaded when you’re going to the firing range or going hunting.

Don’t rely too much on your gun’s safety. Your gun’s safety is just a mechanical device, there’s no assurance it’s going to work. There’s nothing mechanical about unloading your gun — with no bullets in the chamber, your gun isn’t going to fire.

As mentioned earlier, a gun can go off of it’s dropped, or if it’s hit by a strong enough blow. This can happen regardless of the position of your safety.

This is why it’s important to unload your gun as soon as you leave the shooting range or hunting site. You don’t want to accidentally injure yourself or your friends.

3. Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until You’re Ready to Shoot

As you can see by now, the first few items on this list are going to focus on making sure that you don’t accidentally fire a weapon and hurt someone.

Provided that you always know when your gun is loaded, keep the safety on when your gun isn’t in use, and treat every gun as if it’s loaded, a gun is pretty safe to operate. However, that safety only extends as far as you’re willing to respect the weapon.

The trigger is designed for one thing — firing. When you intend to fire, you should squeeze the trigger with authority. When you don’t intend to fire — no part of your body should go anywhere near the trigger.

If you don’t respect the sensitivity of the trigger, all of the rest of your safety precautions can be for naught. You might shoot yourself in the foot right before you intend to fire.

4. Identify Your Target and Identify What Lies Beyond It

What you need to understand philosophically about guns is that they are weapons designed for destruction. Unlike knives, which can be used for a plethora of things, guns were designed to injure and end lives.

When you’ve fired a gun — that’s it. There’s no calling for safety. Bullets travel faster than the speed of sound and you’re not going to save anything or anyone in your way after you’ve pulled the trigger.

This is a huge responsibility for gun owners.

Make sure you always identify your target before your fire. If you’re hunting, don’t shoot at anything that you’re not 100 percent sure of. The adrenaline of the hunt can make your eyes play tricks on you, and you can wind up hurting someone.

You should also make sure what lies past your target.

Unlike what you see in video games and movies, bullets don’t stop after they’ve hit something. They may well pass directly through you’re intended target and hit something behind it.

Keep this in mind especially when you’re hunting, or if — God forbid — you end up in a firefight. You cannot simply fire at a deer that has a hunter behind it because you think the deer’s body will absorb the bullet. You also don’t want to injure your family while you’re protecting them.

5. Keep Your Gun Well Maintained

A gun is a piece of technology. It’s a tool just as advanced as your car. Like your car, it needs proper maintenance if you want it to work right.

Guns, just like everything else, are subject to wear and tear. Clean your gun regularly, make sure there’s nothing obstructing any of its cartridges or its barrel, and take it to a professional for regular maintenance.

While it may save you money to do your maintenance yourself, you should always defer to a professional on the more serious issues. If your gun doesn’t work correctly for even a second, there can be disastrous consequences.

It should also go without saying that you should never modify your gun. Modded safety, triggers, or barrels might seem cool and trendy, but keep in mind that your gun was made by professionals. Every part of your gun is necessary in order for it to work correctly.

6. Protect Your Eyes and Ears

Bullets aren’t the only parts of guns that can hurt you. Decibel ranges for gunshots can range from 140 to 165 decibels. This is at the range where even single exposure can cause immediate hearing loss.

This doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to go deaf the first time you hear a gun fired without protection. Hearing in some cases comes back. However, with repeated exposure to sounds this loud, you will suffer from hearing loss.

Make sure that you always use headphones or earplugs when you’re firing your gun. There’s nothing masculine or dignified about hearing loss and ear pain. Keeping your ears safe means that you’ll better be able to identify targets, and keep firing guns for your whole life.

Guns were meant to destroy, and when certain objects are destroyed, debris flies. The debris coming off of wood, dirt, and rock can cause serious damage to your eyes. This is why it’s important to wear eye protection when firing a gun.

Gun safety goes beyond making sure you don’t shoot anyone by mistake. You also need to keep your eyes and ears protected.

7. Know Your Gun

Picking the right gun for you is a personal choice. It’s important to know your gun so that you can tell when something is wrong with it, and so you can know how to use it when the time is right.

You should be able to disassemble, clean, and reassemble your gun. Make sure you know all of the proper ways to handle and fire the gun. Understand which parts you can add to and which parts you cannot.

If your gun of choice is a AR 15, check out this link for all your AR 15 stock needs. Having a site you can trust for replacement parts is key to gun ownership.

Understand These Gun Safety Tips

Every gun owner should know these gun safety tips to make sure that they keep themselves, their loved ones, and strangers safe.

At the end of the day, gun safety comes down to knowing your gun, understanding gun culture, accepting responsibility for your gun, acting maturely around your gun, and taking precautions to make sure that your eyes and ears are safe.

For more articles like this, check out our “technology” section.