When you visit your local gun store and especially if you carry a weapon, always remember to practice proper gun safety. Gun stores can be intimidating, especially for a ‘newbie’ (new gun owner). So every time you walk into a gun shop, or into a gun show, just like at the gun range, you should be on your best behavior. Gun store clerks have been subjected to all kinds of bad behavior—handed loaded guns, muzzles pointed at them repeatedly, etc… . You do not want to upset these people by breaking these unspoken “rules” while shopping in a gun store. Remember, gun store employees are usually armed and so it’s always best to not act like a schmuck, or a ‘know-it-all’ while in the store.
Like everywhere, even at home, there are a few Golden Rules of firearm safety:
- Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
- Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Never point it at something you are not ready to kill.
- Know your target and what is behind it.
- Always check to make sure the gun is unloaded. Never hand a loaded gun to a gun store clerk and never let a gun store clerk hand you a loaded gun.
- Do not dry fire the weapon. Dry firing is pulling the trigger when the gun has no ammunition or a snap cap in it. It is damaging to some guns, especially rimfire guns, if they are dry fired. It is understandable that you want to feel the trigger when considering a new gun. Ask the clerk before dry firing.
- Do not disassemble the gun. If you want to see its guts, ask the clerk to disassemble it for you.
- Do not flick the cylinder of a revolver back in place.
- Do not release the slide of a semi-automatic.
- Do not “force” the gun to operate. I have had times when I have pushed the magazine release and nothing happened. I always ask for help.
- Do not be afraid to admit you are a newbie. It is best not to act like a know-it-all when you aren’t.