In owning a firearm, you must undertake full responsibility for your firearm’s safety and security. You must protect yourself and all others against potential injury from the firearm. In particular, you must secure firearms away from children or those who act like children. Many people have firearms for various reasons, whether it is for hunting, or as a collector’s item, or for marksmanship. However, each year in Canada many children are killed as a result of unintentional firearm injuries, particularly during recreational activities or while exploring in the home environment. Unintentional shootings are constantly being linked to easily accessible loaded handguns in the home, or to careless handling and lack of respect for the capability of weapons.

Firearms incorporate many safety features, however for your safety and the safety of others, never rely on mechanical features alone. Firearms alone do not pose a danger, but the experience of someone handling the firearm does. Only your safe gun-handling habits will ensure the safety of your firearm. Mistakes do not just happen; mistakes are the result of violating the rules of safe gun handling and common sense.

The following are essential safety instructions:

•  NEVER point a firearm at anyone.
•  NEVER point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.
•  Treat every firearm as though it were loaded
•  Before handling a firearm, understand its operation
•  Keep your firearm unloaded when not in use.
•  Never pass your firearm to another person until the cylinder or action is open and you have visually checked that it is unloaded
•  Place your finger inside the trigger guard only when you are ready to fire
•  If you must carry a loaded firearm always carry it with the muzzle pointing in a safe direction
•  Never carry or store a firearm with the hammer in a cocked position
•  Never allow a firearm to be used by an individual who does not understand its safe operation and the rules of safe gun handling
•  Always store your unloaded firearm and ammunition separately and in a place inaccessible to children or unauthorized persons. Always store your firearms utilizing a trigger lock or a locked cabinet. This is the law.

Everyone should have some sort of knowledge about firearms, especially parents of young children. Even if you do not have guns in your home, your children may come into contact with guns at someone else’s house, and should be fully aware of the inherent dangers involved in storage and handling of weapons. Remember – If you choose to have firearms in your home, it is your responsibility to educate your family and to properly store all firearms.

If you or your child should ever find ammunition, guns or any other type of weapon, do not touch it, but call police immediately.

If you have any questions about firearms safety, please call Deena Shaw, Brockville Police Service’s Firearms Officer, at 342-0127 Extension 4242