Whether you own guns for hunting, sport shooting, or protection, these simple steps can help you store them safely.
: Firearms are extremely dangerous. Handle them with caution, keep them away from children, and know the gun laws in your area.
Step 1: Obey the rules Follow the basic rules of gun safety: Treat every gun as if it's loaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction, keep your finger straight and off the trigger until a target is in your sights, and be sure of your target and what's behind it.
TIP: Each gun is unique -- make sure you know how the specifics of operating any firearm you own.
Step 2: Educate yourself Attend a gun safety course to educate yourself on how to handle firearms. Go online or head to your local shooting range to find gun safety classes in your area.
Step 3: Educate children Educate children on the dangers of firearms and what they should do if they ever encounter one. If a child sees a gun they should: Stop, not touch it, leave the area, and tell an adult.
Step 4: Check the weapon Unload all firearms before bringing them into the home and make sure they're unloaded every time you handle them.
Step 5: Lock them up Use trigger or cable locks, and always store guns in locked cabinets, drawers, or in a gun safe.
TIP: Check with your local police department to find out if your community has a free trigger lock program.
Step 6: Store ammunition separately Lock up ammunition separately from the guns. This makes it far more difficult for children to use the weapon if they ever find it, and helps keep your household safe.
FACT: The percentage of American homes that own guns dropped from 54 percent in 1977 to 34.5 percent in 2006.