4 Gun Safety Rules To Know & Follow

Posted on August 18 2017


It is important to know and follow the four gun safety rules


Consider if a gun is pointed at you, if you find a gun, or if someone is handing you a gun to look at or shoot. Your assumption should always be that all guns are loaded until you have checked for yourself that it is not. It does not matter if it is a range instructor, a gun store clerk, or a best friend; until you have visually and manually inspected that gun for yourself, you should assume that the gun is loaded and act accordingly.

To check for yourself you are going to do the following:

  • Keep your finger off the trigger and the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Look to see if there is a magazine. Even if there is no magazine you will still want to check the chamber.
  • To check the chamber: Locate the slide lock, still keeping your finger off the trigger. Lock the slide to the rear.
  • Inspect the chamber to show that the gun is clear.

It is that simple to then know without a doubt if the gun is loaded or not. If you are not comfortable performing those steps yourself, simply ask the person to lock the slide for you so that you can then inspect the chamber for yourself.

This is an important rule to also teach your children. My children understand gun safety and know the rules, but I practice it often with them. When they ask to see or hold a gun I always say, “Here you go. It is unloaded.” They know that they need to stop me and say, “Please show me that it is unloaded.” I then show them that it is unloaded, only then can they know it really is unloaded.


This rule is important to practice, practice, practice. The more you train and practice this rule, the more muscle memory you build. The muscle memory is important for when you are in a self-defense situation and you experience an adrenaline rush. The only way for your gun to go off is if you put your finger inside the trigger well and press the trigger. An adrenaline rush could cause you to react without thinking which could lead to a negligent discharge.  But if you have practiced, practiced, practiced this rule your muscle memory in that adrenaline rush will automatically perform what you have practiced.

Choosing to own a gun for home or personal defense is a big responsibility and you are responsible for every bullet that leaves your gun whether intentional or unintentional. By keeping your finger off the trigger, you can avoid most accidents.

I am shocked how often I see improper gun handling in movies and on television shows. These movies and shows can be a great teaching opportunity with your children. When you see improper gun handling, point it out to your children and teach them what is proper.


This rule is where preparation, situational awareness, and mental exercises come into play to help you think fast in a self-defense scenario. For this rule we are going to use your home as an example of questions to consider so that if a self-defense situation did occur you would be prepared.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What are the safe directions in my home?
  • Am I in an apartment or duplex?
  • Do I have neighbors?
  • How close are my neighbor’s homes to my house? How tall are their homes?
  • Where are the streets and sidewalks located?
  • Where are the concrete or brick walls in my home?
  • When I holster or unholster my gun, clean my gun, practice dry firing, or whatever do I know where my safe directions are?

No matter what you have your gun out for, it is important that you get in the habit of always keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction knowing what is beyond it. Knowing the answers to these questions in advance will help you prepare and practice for a worse-case scenario so that you are never left with collateral damage.

For example, I used to live in a duplex with all three bedrooms upstairs. I know that if someone was going to come up the stairs I had to stop them before they got up them because the bedrooms were dispersed in three different corners. There was only one spot on the stairs that would have been a safe direction. That would be for me to look over the top of the staircase and to shoot straight down through the top of the intruder’s head. At this angle, if the bullet had over penetrated, it would have gone straight through their body, through the stairwell and to the basement concrete floor. If they passed the threshold and I shot them, the bullet could potentially go through them, the wall and into my neighbor’s home. I do not know what is beyond that. 

It is not being paranoid to know the safe directions and to think through them. It is being prepared. It is never enough to know what your target is, you must know what is beyond it as well.


This is arguably one of the most important of the safety rules but I can guarantee that if you conceal carry on a regular basis it is a rule you violate every time you carry.

  • How do you holster your gun? Abdomen carry? Six o’clock carry? Appendix carry? Purse carry?
  • When you have your gun holstered where is that muzzle pointed when you walk, bend over, sit down, or cross your legs?
  • If you do carry in your purse, where is that muzzle pointed when the purse is hanging on your shoulder and you are walking? Or when you sit it down?

These are all important questions to ask yourself for each of the ways you might holster. They are the very same questions I asked myself when I created the Dene Adams® conceal carry holsters.

No matter the activity there are certain features one should look for in a holster.

  • Your holstered gun should not shift or move throughout the day.
  • Your holstered gun should have retention to keep the gun from falling out.
  • Your holstered gun should not have the grip protruding out, like most holsters do. This leaves easy access for any unauthorized person to access your gun.
  • Your holstered gun should have the trigger guard protected. This trigger protection keeps fingers from accidentally pulling the trigger.
  • Your holstered gun should be in a place that is free from debris and other objects that could accidentally trip the trigger.

Each of these features can be found in any of the Dene Adams® conceal carry holsters.

These rules are essential to know if you are going to own a gun. They are rules that need to be applied to our everyday circumstances and environment because when it comes to gun safety there are no second chances.


Anna Taylor


The blog was taken from Anna Taylor’s four part video series on The Rule of Gun Safety found on her Facebook page. Rule #1 was aired August, 23, 2016. Rule #2 was aired August 30, 2016. Rule #3 was aired September 6, 2016. Rule #4 was aired September 13, 2016.

Revised blog by Andrea Shelton



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