The Road to Responsible Gun Ownership


The Road to Responsible Gun Ownership

Owning a firearm, whether for target shooting, hunting or personal protection, is a right every law-abiding American enjoys.

It comes with an ongoing commitment to safety and responsibility — something that should be fully understood before buying your first firearm. This is at the heart of our message: “Own it? Respect it. Secure it.”

To help, we’ve provided a “road map” of the milestones toward responsible gun ownership that should be considered. Following these guidelines can help you be a responsible firearms owner, including following the many laws regarding purchasing, ownership, storage and use. By doing so, you will be contributing to a culture of firearms safety that has produced a dramatic decline in firearms accidents.

Let’s Get Started

Make an informed purchasing decision.

Buying a firearm involves understanding what type, model, caliber and more are suitable and the best fit for your intended use. You have many ways to conduct research, including reading reviews and handling and testing products yourself. Many organizations that support Project ChildSafe can offer advice and guidance, and you can speak with experts at a local firearms retailer or shooting facility near you. If possible, try various models at a local range. Click here to see a list of ranges by state, and learn more about safety with this Range Safety and Etiquette video.

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You’ve decided which firearm is right for you, but do you know how you’re going to store it safely?

Securely storing firearms when not in use is a key element of responsible gun ownership and the #1 way to help prevent firearm accidents, thefts and misuse.

As a firearms owner, you have lots of options for storage devices to fit your lifestyle and home circumstances. The Safe Storage Options infographic, Gun Lock Safety brochure, and 10 Tips for Firearm Safety in Your Home fact sheet are packed with helpful resources to help you explore storage options and determine what will work best for you. Experts at your local range or firearms retailer can also help answer questions.

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Taking a firearms safety training class at your local range or firearms retailer is a great idea for new gun owners and a good refresher even if you’ve been a gun owner for years.

Classes usually cover safe handling and use, proper maintenance, storage and other helpful information for getting the most out of your firearm and being a safe and responsible firearm owner.

Find a safety training course close to home with this list of ranges by state. Additionally, the firearms dealer from whom you purchased your gun can point you in the right direction for a class or possibly provide one on-site. Think you already know all the gun safety rules? Double-check with this list of tips for safe gun handling.

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Strike up a conversation with your family about safe firearms handling, your household rules for firearms and your firearm storage plan.

To help you get started, shooting champion Julie Golob and Project ChildSafe teamed up to make the video “How to Talk to Kids About Firearm Safety.” Our Firearms Responsibility in the Home brochure also provides tips for discussing firearm safety with kids. You can encourage them to sign the Child’s Pledge to make safety a mutual responsibility.

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Part of being a responsible firearm owner includes keeping your skills sharp.

It’s important to be sure you understand the mechanical characteristics and safe operation of the firearm you’ve chosen. Be sure to read and understand the instructions, warnings and safety devices the manufacturer includes with your firearms. If you have any questions, contact them or seek the advice of a firearms safety instructor or licensed retailer in your area. Also, practice and periodically reassess your training and skills.

Find safety classes and other training opportunities through the NRA’s list of safety courses, a Project ChildSafe supporter organization in your area or the firearms dealer from whom you purchased your gun.

Treat your storage plan as evolving and ongoing to stay on top of your safety needs and those of your family. There are numerous storage options out there. A good place to start researching is the Safe Storage Options infographic which outlines a range of storage options for many lifestyles and budgets, ranging from gun locks to gun cases, lock boxes and gun safes. You can also refer to these safe storage tips and download the brochure from the Project ChildSafe storage kit for more information.

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Families change and evolve, and so does your conversation with your family about firearms safety.

New family dynamics — like new family members, teenagers exploring their boundaries or loved ones experiencing a difficult time — can pose questions about firearms storage and uncover new or additional needs. Revisit the conversation of firearm safety with “How to Talk to Kids About Firearm Safety,” a video with shooting champion Julie Golob. It is a helpful resource to break the ice or get tips for having a conversation with kids. Our Firearms Responsibility in the Home brochure also discusses how you can deter access available to children and at-risk persons. Sign the Child’s Pledge with your child to make safety a mutual responsibility.

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As you know, responsible firearms ownership is a lifelong journey.

An important part of that journey is sharing what you know with others. As a responsible gun owner, you can be a powerful voice in building a culture of firearms safety within your house, your neighborhood and your community. We urge you to share the firearm safety message with our easy-to-use web and social media badges, by taking the Project ChildSafe pledge and by sharing this information with friends and family.

Thank you for making the commitment to be a responsible gun owner. We hope you and your family will safely enjoy the shooting sports for many years. Along the way, you can always find all of our Project ChildSafe tools and resources here.

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Be Informed






The Journey…