Duties of a Responsible Firearm Owner

Owning a gun is a responsibility, regardless of where you live in the United States. While each state may have specific laws with respect to owning, carrying, and using firearms, the responsibility ultimately falls with the gun owner to ensure their weapon does not fall into the wrong hands.

There are many steps that you can take to ensure that your firearms are safe and only accessible to you. For instance, investing in a long gun safe would allow you to keep all your firearms protected from intruders and out of the reach of children or anyone else in your home.

Whether you own a gun for protection or because you enjoy hunting, you must ensure you are taking specific steps as a gun owner. Below are the top five duties of a responsible firearms owner in the U.S.

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1. Store Guns and Ammo In Different Areas

There is a temptation to keep everything related to your firearms in one place. Perhaps you invested in a gun safe, or are thinking about doing so. You may be thinking that keeping everything in the safe is the best option, as you are the only person who knows the code or has the key.

While such a strategy is understandable, it does come with a downside. If someone were to get into your safe, or force you to open it up, they would have access to both your firearm(s) and the related ammunition. They would have everything they need to use those firearms.

If you keep them separate, with your ammo in one safe and the guns in another, then you are much better protected. Ideally, you would want to have them in different rooms, with the ammunition in a very small safe that is extremely easy to conceal from anyone else in the house or intruders.

2. Keep Stored Guns a Secret

Continuing from the previous tip on keeping your guns and ammo separate, you should make an effort to keep the location of both a secret. If you do have a larger gun safe where you are keeping rifles or other such firearms, keeping it a secret may be a little harder, but you can still make an effort to conceal its location.

Pick a spot in the house where no one else goes, or use a small room such as a tiny storage space or basement where you can keep one of the safes. Then you can lock up that room, ensuring no one else goes in there, or gets to see the larger gun safe.

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3. Assume a Gun Is Loaded

If you keep up with the news related to firearms, you have likely read at least one or two stories about accidental discharges of guns. People always assume that such incidents only happen to those who are gun novices, or a person who may be inebriated at the time. 

The truth is that even the most experienced gun owner, such as police officers or avid hunters, could end up in a nasty situation if they are not careful when handling a weapon. You must always assume that your gun is loaded, as any other strategy could result in accidentally discharging the weapon.

4. Maintain Your Firearms

Another possible cause of issues with firearms is when they are not properly maintained and cleaned. When you buy a gun, ensure you are reading all the material that comes with it. You should have a complete understanding of how to clean your gun, how often the weapon should be cleaned, and if any other maintenance steps are necessary.

Spending ten or fifteen minutes attending to your firearm every few months is not a significant undertaking. Such maintenance can genuinely save lives, as a gun that has not been cleaned for several years may not function properly if you have to use it in an emergency.

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5. Teach Your Partner or Spouse to Use a Gun

People who live alone do not have to teach anyone else how to use their firearm, as they are the only person who would have access to the weapon during an emergency. If you live with your partner or spouse, however, you may have to take a different approach.

Even if you are the one who owns the firearm and places it in the concealed gun safe, you can never be sure what will happen when there is an emergency. Say there is an intruder in your house, you go and get the weapon in a rush, and a situation unfolds that requires your partner or spouse to use the gun.

They should have spent some time at the gun range with you, which would ensure they are fully capable of loading and using the weapon safely, if necessary.

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