The NRA has 3 basic safety rules. When these rules are followed, the margin for gun error are drastically reduced. When I'm teaching a safety class and I go over these rules I often see my students have a light bulb moment. I think this moment of enlightenment is due in part because the rules are so simple and make sense.
1. ALWAYS keep the gun in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction mean that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. I often play devil’s advocate and ask my class what is a safe direction. Usually I get multiple answers. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the frame. Until you are actually ready to fire your finger should not touch the trigger.
3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
Whenever your gun is not in use, you should check it to make sure it is empty. Open the cylinder, check the chamber, and remove the magazine. Check it, then check it again and then check it to make sure. I repeat this many times when I'm teaching. You can never be too sure or too safe when it comes to handling firearms.
Remember, guns are neither safe nor unsafe. The person handling the gun is the determining factor. Gun ownership isn't for everyone. If you don’t have the necessary attitude and maturity, gun ownership is not for you.