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It benefits all of us to stop for a minute and reflect on the 10 Commandments of Gun Safety. If you visibly practice safe gun handling, youíll be amazed at how it rubs off on those around you.

1) Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Know where that muzzle is at all times. Sometimes muzzle up may not be a good thing.

2) Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot? The trigger is designed to fire the gun, so stay away from it until the gun is pointed at an appropriate target.

3) Always keep the gun unloaded until it is ready to use. Never assume anything when it comes to safety. Always check the magazine and chamber before handing over a firearm or handling it yourself.

4) Be sure the gun is safe to operate. If in doubt, donít use it. Have it professionally checked.

5) Know how to use the gun safely. Take a few minutes to understand how the safeties work and how to safely load and unload the firearm. If youíve lost your instruction manual, write the manufacturer for another one. Itís free!

6) Use only the correct ammunition for your gun.

7) Know your target and what is beyond. Never shoot at a skyline animal or target. Never shoot over water or ice, as bullets can ricochet.

8) Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate. Good eye wear is worth its weight in gold, as you cannot replace your eyes. Youíll want to wear ear protection as well. Sine every time you are exposed to noise levels above 90 decibels or so - and virtually every gunshot far exceeds that - you lose a little more hearing.

9) Never use alcohol or drugs before or while shooting.

10) Store guns unloaded and not accessible to unauthorized persons. Especially keep guns away from little ones. Children and those unfamiliar with guns are often quite curious about them. Always let them know that they may only handle a firearm with your supervision. Take them shooting, and show them how you practice good gun safety habits. But make sure that your guns are locked away when not in use.

These 10 items are a pretty good start at making sure you and your loved ones are safe from accidents with a firearm. But they are not all of the safety measures necessary. Certain types of guns and many shooting activities require additional safety precautions. If it doesnít seem safe, it probably isnít. Think it through first, rather that being sorry.

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