NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Children across the country will start their summer vacations this month and, as a result, spend more time at home -- some of it unsupervised. With that in mind, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reminds gun owners to review their procedures for safely storing firearms in the home -- a reminder in keeping with June being National Safety Month. A few simple steps -- such as storing firearms unloaded with ammunition stored separately under lock and key -- can help prevent an accident.
"The goal for firearm owners is to prevent a child or unauthorized person from accessing a loaded firearm," said Steve Sanetti, president of NSSF, the trade association of the firearms and shooting sports industry. "Accidental firearm fatalities are at historic low levels thanks to the precautions taken by responsible firearms owners and because of safety programs promoted by NSSF and other concerned groups."
Target shooting activity peaks during warm-weather months, too, making it an appropriate time to review and teach the rules of firearm safety so that everyone in your shooting group practices safe gun handling.
The four basic rules are . . .
* Always keep the gun's muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
* Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
* Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
* Know your target and what lies beyond it.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides a number of educational materials that help gun owners and non-owners make informed decisions when it comes to firearms safety.
These include . . .
* The safety brochures "Firearms Safety Depends on You," "Firearms Responsibility in the Home," "A Parents Guide to Recreational Shooting For Youngsters" and the Project ChildSafe safety booklet. View the brochures at nssf.org/lit and projectchildsafe.org
* NSSF's Firearm Safety DVD, which includes three videos: "McGruff the Crime Dog on Gun Safety" for youngsters in grades K-6, "It's Your Call: Playing it Safe Around Guns" for grades 6-9 and "Firearms Safety Depends on You" for general audiences. The youth videos teach youngsters how to make fast, correct decisions if they should encounter a firearm in an unsupervised situation at home, at a friend's home or at school. Learn more at nssf.org/safety/video.
* Through its Project ChildSafe program, NSSF makes firearm safety kits that include a gun locking device and safety brochure available to law enforcement departments, which in turn make the kits available to gun owners free of charge. Check to see if your local law enforcement department has kits available at http://www.projectchildsafe.org/ . Only law enforcement departments can request shipments of the safety kits.
"It is a priority of the National Shooting Sports Foundation to see that its members' products are used safely and responsibly. We encourage all gun owners to make use of these firearm safety resources," said Bill Brassard Jr., NSSF's director of communications, who oversees the Project ChildSafe program.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 5,500 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to http://www.nssf.org/ .