by Ryan McCann


There are a lot of first time gun owners and gun carriers these days. I have the pleasure to encounter quite a few of them at work. One of the first things I tell new shooters are the Four Rules of Firearm Safety. Everyone who spends a fair amount of time around guns knows these. It’s one of the first things you’re taught as a new shooter. I learned them in my Hunter Safety course that everyone in my sixth grade class took part in.

  1. Every gun is loaded.
  2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
  3. Do not point the gun at anything you are not willing to shoot.
  4. Always be aware of what is beyond your target.

Following these rules prevents ninety-nine percent of accidents. It’s why they’re drilled into a new shooters head (or at least they should be). Each one of them has their own explanations and reasoning behind them but they’re not what I’m talking about today.

Years ago I saw a fifth rule posted on a Shoot House wall and its been stuck in my mind ever since.

Everything is Your Responsibility. This rule that I saw written on a cardboard sign in black marker gets at a very important concept for gun owners. By owning a gun you are taking responsibility for your gun, the bullets, the consequences, and your own safety. This is a good thing. The reality is that, as an adult, no one is really responsible for your safety but you. There are services and people that can get there to help after the fact but the hard truth is that the main responsibility falls on you. Not your parents, not the police, not the government, you. This mindset should be taken into every aspect of owning a firearm. It doesn’t just apply in self defense situations. It applies in almost very aspect of your life as a gun owner. No one else is responsible for making sure your firearm is cleaned and maintained. No one else is responsible for your safety on the range. No one else is responsible for your knowledge of local and state laws regarding firearms. No one else will be held responsible if you have to use your gun to defend yourself. Everything is Your Responsibility.

I think it is incredibly important for every first time gun owner to be aware of this. Its especially important for people who didn’t necessarily grow up in a situation where gun ownership and responsible handling of them were common. Yes, guns are fun. I love shooting. It is hands down one of my favorite activities. I like getting better. I like pushing myself to excel but I’m aware of what it means. I’m aware that anything that goes right, and also anything that goes wrong, will fall solely on my shoulders. That’s just the way the world works. All the responsibility falls on you. Realizing this is accepting reality the way it is and not the way we wish it was. Thanks for your time guys. Stay safe.

At On Target, we don’t just sell firearms, we provide gun safety, maintenance and shooting training for all of our customers.