Gun safety courses play a vital role in educating gun owners in all aspects of the safe handling and usage of firearms. Guns have been part of the American lifestyle since the days of the pioneers when they were used for protection and hunting. The same uses apply today, but with the addition of competitive and target shooting as leisure activities. But with all guns, there are inherent dangers if they are not used properly or are handled carelessly. It is a good idea for all gun owners to attend a gun safety course as soon as possible, preferably before buying their firearm.
Every year people are killed in gun accidents in the home or while out hunting. The vast majority of these incidents could have been avoided if basic rules of gun safety had been followed. For example, a gun should never be pointed at someone unless the intent is to shoot them – obviously only an option if your own life is threatened. And a gun should never be fired unless the shooter can clearly see the target and is sure that missing it will not injure anybody. Guns all have safety catches on them and these should be used at all times until the shooter is ready to pull the trigger – a gun should never be carried with the safety off.
In addition to the use of guns for leisure activities such as hunting, they are often acquired for personal protection either in the home or when traveling. When carrying a gun for protection it is necessary to have a concealed carry permit, also known as a CCDW permit – a concealed carry deadly weapon permit. This certifies that the bearer of arms has attended a gun safety class and has demonstrated the ability to handle a gun safely and is aware of the basic rules relating to handling and firing it. Courses are given by trained instructors who have been thoroughly checked for competence in the subject. Often they will be ex-military and familiar with the use of many different types of weapons.
A gun safety course will cover all aspects of owning and using a gun safely and will consist of two parts – the first is classroom instruction and the second is firing a gun on a suitable firing range. The classroom section will include understanding the different parts of the gun and how to look after it, as well as local regulations relating to gun ownership. The aim of this part of the course is to make sure that the owner appreciates the potential danger of owning a firearm and that it is kept in good working condition. The course will also stress the need to keep guns and ammunition safely locked away, preferably in a gun safe, and never to leave the gun loaded. It is also usually a good idea to keep guns and ammunition separate from each other in case an intruder finds them.