Sweeny Police | Gun Safety

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Gun Safety

Checklist for Talking About Gun Safety with a Child

  • Talk about guns with your child so that he or she wonít play with them out of curiosity.

  • Explain that guns are dangerous weapons, not toys. Tell you child that the guns used in movie and TV shows are not real and do not really hurt anyone.

  • Insist that your child follow safety rules when touching or handling guns.

  • Tell your child that playing with guns is forbidden. Your child should leave immediately if he or she sees someone else playing with a gun.

  • Make sure that all weapons, not only guns, are stored securely where children canít get at them. Guns should be stored unloaded. Keep the bullets in a separate place. Lock them up as well.

Teach Your Child What to Do if He or She Sees a GUN

  1. Stop
  2. Donít touch the gun
  3. Leave the area
  4. Tell a trusted adult about the gun

It has been estimated that there are guns in about half of the homes in the United States. Even if you donít have a gun at home, your child may visit a friend who does. Teach your child about gun safety to prevent a tragic accident.

Quick Safety Tips:

  • Always treat a gun as if it was loaded
  • Check for yourself to make sure a gun isn't loaded; never take another person's word for it
  • Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use
  • Always keep your finger outside the trigger guard until youíve acquired your target and you are ready to shoot
  • Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, and never point a gun at another person
  • Never look down the barrel of a gun until after you have checked to make sure that the gun is not loaded and the action is open
  • Never let an intoxicated person handle a gun
  • ALWAYS wear eye and ear protection
  • Do not let children handle guns without adult supervision

The Golden Rules of Safe Gun Handling

1. ALWAYS point the barrel of the gun in a safe direction. A safe direction is defined as a direction where if the gun discharged, nobody would get hurt. The best direction to point a gun is generally at the ground and to the side.

2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. Condition yourself to place your shooting hand index finger along the side of the frame.

3. ALWAYS Keep the action open and the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it. The action is the moving parts of the gun that allow loading, unloading, firing and extraction of the empty case or shell.

Ten Commandments of Shooting Safety

1. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.

Do not point a firearm or bow at anything you do not intend to shoot. Control the direction of the muzzle at all times. Never rest a muzzle on your toe or foot. Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until the instant you are ready to fire. Always keep the safety on until ready to fire; however, the safety should never be a substitute for safe firearm handling.

2. Trust every firearm with the same respect you would show a loaded gun.

Every time you pick up a firearm, the first thing you do is check to see if it is loaded. Be sure the chamber and magazine are empty and that the action is open until ready to be fired. If you do not understand how to determine if it is loaded, do not accept the firearm until someone has safely shown you that it is unloaded. Read your instruction manual carefully before you handle new or unfamiliar firearms.

3. Be sure of your target and what is in front of and beyond your target.

Before you pull the trigger you must properly identify your targetówhether that target is paper or an animal. Until your target is fully visible and in good light, do not even raise your scope to see it. Use binoculars! Know what is in front of and behind your target. Determine that you have a safe backstop or background. Since you do not know what is on the other side, never take a shot at any animals on top of ridges or hillsides. Know how far bullets can travel. Never shoot at flat, hard surfaces, such as water, rocks or steel because of ricochets.

4. Unload firearms when not in use.

Leave actions open, and store sporting arms in cases when traveling to and from shooting areas. Take bolts out or break down shotguns, if necessary. Know how your equipment operates. Store and transport firearms and ammunition separately and under lock and key. Store firearms in cool, dry places. Use gun or trigger locks and guards when not in use.

5. Handle the firearms and ammunition carefully.

Avoid horseplay with firearms. Never climb a fence, a tree or a ladder with a loaded firearm. Never jump a ditch or cross difficult terrain with a loaded firearm. Never face or look down the barrel from the muzzle end. Be sure the only ammunition you carry correctly matches the gauge or caliber you are shooting. Learn the proper carries. Try to use the two-hand carry whenever possible because it affords you the best muzzle control. Always carry handguns with hammers over an empty chamber or cylinder. If you fall, be sure to disassemble the gun and check the barrel from the breech end for obstructions. Carry a field cleaning kit.

6. Know your safe zone-of-fire and stick to it.

Your safe zone-of-fire is that area or direction in which you can safely fire a shot. It is "down range" at a shooting facility. In the field, it is that mental image you draw in your mind with every step you take. Be sure you know where your companions are at all times. Never swing your gun out of your safe zone-of-fire. Know the safe carries when there are persons to your sides, in front of, or behind you. If in doubt, never take a shot. When hunting, wear daylight fluorescent orange so you can be seen from a distance or in heavy cover.

7. Control your emotions when it comes to safety.

If you lose control of your emotions you may do something carelessly. If you have just shot a target or animal you probably will be excited. At that moment you may turn with a loaded firearm back towards your friends or you might run with a loaded firearm towards a downed animal with the gun safety off. You or someone else may be in danger once you lose control of your emotions. Show discipline. Rehearse in your mind what the safe actions will be. Do not allow your daydreams to preface good judgment. Show restraint and pass up shots which have the slightest chance of being unsafe.

8. Wear eye and ear protection.

While shooting at the range, you must wear hearing and eye protection at all times. Firearms are loud and can create noises which are damaging to a person's hearing. It can be a gradual loss of hearing due to outbursts of noise over many years. The damage could also be immediate, especially if your ears are next to a muzzle blast. Vibrations from the blast are enough to create loss of hearing. Wear glasses to protect your eyes from escaping gases, burnt powder, and other debris.

9. Don't drink alcohol or take drugs before or while handling firearms.

Alcohol and drugs impair normal physical and mental body functions and mustn't be used before or while handling firearms. These substances affect emotions, making it easier to lose control.

10. Be aware of additional circumstances which require added caution or safety awareness.

Just because something isn't listed under these "ten commandments of shooting safety" doesn't mean you can ignore it if it is dangerous. There may be additional rules posted at a shooting range or other area which should also be followed. Also, practice reloading safety by following and reading all specific instructions. Practice all commandments of shooting safety. Ensure a safe future for you, your companions, and others!

It is against Texas State Law to allow a child to have access to a firearm. See the statute below.

Texas Penal Code, Section 46.13

Making a Firearm Accessible to a Child

(a) In this section:

(1) "Child" means a person younger than 17 years of age.

(2) "Readily dischargeable firearm" means a firearm that is loaded with ammunition, whether or not a round is in the chamber.

(3) "Secure" means to take steps that a reasonable person would take to prevent the access to a readily dischargeable firearm by a child, including but not limited to placing a firearm in a locked container or temporarily rendering the firearm inoperable by a trigger lock or other means.

(b) A person commits an offense if a child gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm and the person with criminal negligence:

(1) failed to secure the firearm; or

(2) left the firearm in a place to which the person knew or should have known the child would gain access.

(c) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the child's access to the firearm:

(1) was supervised by a person older than 18 years of age and was for hunting, sporting, or other lawful purposes;

(2) consisted of lawful defense by the child of people or property;

(3) was gained by entering property in violation of this code; or

(4) occurred during a time when the actor was engaged in an agricultural enterprise.

(d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

(e) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor if the child discharges the firearm and causes death or serious bodily injury to himself or another person.

(f) A peace officer or other person may not arrest the actor before the seventh day after the date on which the offense is committed if:

(1) the actor is a member of the family, as defined by Section 71.003, Family Code, of the child who discharged the firearm; and

(2) the child in discharging the firearm caused the death of or serious injury to the child.

(g) A dealer of firearms shall post in a conspicuous position on the premises where the dealer conducts business a sign that contains the following warning in block letters not less than one inch in height:


Effective Sept. 1, 1999.

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Gun Safety Links
For more information about gun safety, visit these informative Web sites:


NRA Gun Safety Rules
Americans For Gun Safety

Texans For Gun Safety

Keep Kids Healthy

Kids and Guns

Project ChildSafe

Gun Safety Education