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What You Need to Know About Guns and Gun Safety

Guns are dangerous but only in the hands of evil people. Before you acquire a gun, you need to learn as much as you can about them, especially on gun safety.

Tens of millions of Americans possess guns. The constitution guarantees the right to own and carries guns, but that does not mean you can go around shooting whoever wrongs you. With knowledge on guns, you and those around you will be safe from burglars and safe from the accidental fires.

Read on to learn more.

Understand Basic Gun Safety Rules

You never know when you will be faced with a situation that requires you to use a gun. As such, you need to learn basic gun safety rules to keep yourself and those around you safe [1]. These basic rules are gospel to veteran gun owners. If you follow them, you significantly reduce the likelihood of shooting someone who did not pose any threat to you.

Here are the basic rules:

  1. Every gun should be handled as though it is loaded
  2. Never point a gun at anything you did not intend to shoot
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you have the target in your sights and you are ready to fire
  4. Confirm your target before you fire, as well as what is around the target
  5. Keep guns out of reach of children

If you forget the first rule, the second rule should help you avoid “accidental” fires or “stray” bullets. If you forget the first two, the rest of the rules will still help you stay safe. Whether you are at the range, out in the jungle hunting, carrying or not carrying, you should memorize and practice these basic rules.

People Kill People. Guns are Inanimate Objects

A loaded gun will never off by itself. An unloaded gun will never load a magazine by itself. Guns do not pull triggers. It is people that do all that – it is people who kill people. If there were no guns, people would still kill people using other weapons.  

If you understand that people kill people and not guns, then terms such as “accidental shooting” or “stray bullets” will not exist. These two terms point to a lack of accountability and responsibility. If the basic gun safety rules above are religiously followed, they will reduce negligent shooting significantly.

In instances where intentional shootings are involved, the criminal (and not the firearm) is to blame. This is why criminals are sent to prison, and guns are auctioned. The criminal who intends to shoot innocent civilians is far more dangerous than the weapon they yield.

Modern Guns Have Safety Features

For a gun to go off, a human being needs to load the magazine, chamber the round, and pull the trigger. Modern guns do not “accidentally” go off even when you have chambered the round. You still need to pull the trigger for the gun to go off. The correct statement would be; guns do not go off, people fire the guns – understanding this is enough to get you started.  

Today, guns are fitted with safety features like trigger protection to ensure they do not accidentally go off.

Learn the Difference between Automatic and Semi-Automatic

Automatic firearms discharge multiple rounds in one trigger pull. In the U.S., civilians are not allowed to possess or carry automatic firearms unless they obtain them illegally.

Semi-automatic firearms can only fire one round for every trigger pull. These firearms are referred to as semi-automatic as they chamber a round automatically after a round is fired. A semi-automatic pistol is different from a revolver. Although a revolved can chamber a round after firing, the user still needs to cock the hammer manually or via a double-action trigger.

Clip vs. Magazine

A clip is not the same as a magazine. In the news, these two terms are used interchangeably, but they are different.

Unlike a magazine, a clip just clips rounds together for easy feeding into the magazine or the weapon’s chamber. The clip has no moving parts. Magazines, on the other hand, have moving parts, such as springs. They are inserted into the firearm directly, and there they remain. The springs in the magazine push another round into position after shooting.

Gun Safeties and Smart Gun Technologies Fail

The only gun safety that does not fail is the one between your ears. No gun is foolproof. A gun is a mechanical device, and like any other device, a gun will fail. As such, you should not rely on the external safety of your gun but instead, follow the five basic rules outlined earlier. At times, firearm manufacturers such as Glock do not install mechanical safeties and expects you to follow gun safety rules strictly.

Smart guns are great for enhancing gun safety. A smart gun is inoperable unless wielded by its rightful owner. Some gun controllers want to make smart gun features mandatory for all guns [2]. Smart gun technology is still in its infancy stages – no smart gun has been sold in the U.S. thus far. It is therefore advisable not to rely on gun safeties or smart guns.


Having a gun does not make you a good shooter. Having a badge does not make you a shooter either. If you have a gun, you need to practice often to be a better shooter for the safety of innocent people around you.

[1] http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/12/gun-safety-not-gun-control/266318/

[2] http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/5/5683504/gun-control-the-nra-wants-to-take-smart-guns-away

By: Margaret Yeneza

Date:April 10, 2020

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