Living with firearms in a home can be dangerous if you don’t know how to be responsible with them.

In Kansas, laws have been passed that allow a person to carry concealed in many places, including public buildings, churches and college campuses.

Clearly, gun ownership is popular in Kansas, which ranks 10th in the nation for hunting and No. 3 for deer hunting.

Hunting safety is one thing, but being responsible with a gun can come down to life or death when it is in a home.

Accidents involving firearms in the home have decreased significantly during the last 20 years, according to the National Safety Council. By following some standard rules and knowing how to stay safe in the home, gun owners can keep this trend going downward.

To be a firearms owner, you are responsible for knowing how to handle and secure your firearms properly and in a safe manner, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

NSSF has put out rules for safe storage of firearms in the home, including how to store them properly by unloading the barrels, cleaning and making sure they are secured:

  • After a hunting trip, you always want to ensure the gun is unloaded completely before taking the gun back into your home, and remember to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, even if it is unloaded.
  • When it comes to loading firearms, always wait until reaching your destination — never load them at home.
  • Always make sure firearms are stored securely and out of reach, especially if young children are in the home. You can secure firearms in many ways, including by firearms lock, firearms case, or locking them in a cabinet, safe or vault.
  • Always store ammunition in a locked location, separate from the firearm and out of the reach of children. It is a good idea to clean and properly store firearms after returning from a hunting trip — this keeps everyone in the home safe.

Although hunting is one of the biggest reasons to own a gun, some own them for self protection. The decision to own firearms and have them in the home is a personal matter, according to NSSF.

But any added safety benefit gained from owning a firearm depends largely on the owner’s having proper training, as well as a clear understanding of safe handling and storage rules.

If you think you need quick access to a loaded firearm in your home, you must take special safety measures, for your safety and the safety of others in the home. Keeping a firearm in your home to defend yourself makes no sense if that same firearm puts other family members or visitors at risk, according to NSSF.

Gun owners are fully responsible for loaded firearms at all times in their homes, which also means that if they have to leave the premises, they should unload any firearms and put them into secure storage before leaving.

To make sure your home is firearms-safe, follow this checklist from NSSF:

  1. Firearms kept for security reasons must be fully controlled at all times.
  2. Firearms are securely stored in a location inaccessible to children and other unauthorized people.
  3. Sporting firearms are unloaded before they are brought into the home and never loaded while in the home.
  4. Sporting firearms are immediately cleaned and placed in secure storage when they are returned from hunting or target shooting.
  5. When firearms are removed from storage, they are always checked carefully to confirm they are unloaded.
  6. Ammunition is stored under lock and key, separately from firearms.
  7. The owner’s manuals that came with any firearm must be read and understood.

If you follow these seven simple rules, there should be no problems in your home with safety due to firearms!

This story was written by Ark City Daily Bytes intern Amelia Doyle.

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