Handgun Safety

Safe and secure storage of your firearm is one of your most important responsibilities. You must always secure your firearm and ammunition so that they are not accessible to children or other unauthorized persons.

Basic Safety Rules

Before handling any firearm, understand how it operates.
Not all firearms are the same. Familiarize yourself with the mechanical features of any firearm you intend to use.

Always safely store and secure your firearm
Safe and secure storage of your firearm is one of the most important responsibilities of firearms ownership.

Always lock and store bullets in separate location.
Secure your firearm and ammunition separately so that they are not accessible to children or other unauthorized persons.

Make sure children do not have access to the gun safe/cabinet keys

Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded
Do not take anyone's word that the firearm is unloaded - always check for yourself.

Always keep you firearm pointed in a safe direction
This is particularly important when loading, unloading, or field stripping the gun.

Never place your finger inside the trigger guard unless you intend to fire.
Your firearm cannot fire unless the trigger is pulled. Ensure that other objects do not touch the trigger.

Never use alcohol or drugs before or while shooting.
Do not use your firearm if you are on any medication which impairs, even slightly, your mental or physical ability.

Safety Training

All gun owners should understand how a firearm operates before handling it.

In Tennessee, all applicants are required to submit proof of the successful completion of a department approved Handgun Safety Course within the past six (6) months. Call toll free 1-866-849-3548 to find out more information on handgun schools, locations and contact information.

Department of Safety Approved Handgun Safety Program

Handguns and Children

There are about 200 million firearms in the U.S., so even if you do not own a gun, there's a good chance that your children will encounter one someday. Your children's friends might live in homes with guns, or your children might find one that a criminal has discarded.

In 2005, there were 77 firearm deaths of children and teens in Tennessee, including 22 suicides and 7 accidents.

If You Do Not Own A Gun:

  • Talk with your children about the risk of gun injury outside the home in places where they may visit and play.
  • Tell your children to stay away from guns when they are in the homes of their friends.
  • Speak with the parents of your children’s friend to determine whether they have a gun in the home.
  • If they do, urge them to empty it out and lock it up.

Teach your children these steps to follow if they encounter a gun:

  1. Stop!
  2. Don't touch.
  3. Leave the area.
  4. Tell an adult.

On average every day, 14 American children under the age of 20 are killed and many more are wounded by guns. In 1992, firearms surpassed motor vehicles as the number one cause of brain injury fatalities in the United States.

Hiding your gun is a good idea, but not good enough. Kids have a tendency to like to explore. Putting the gun out of reach only works until your kid learns to climb or use a ladder or stepping-stool. Don't make the mistake of thinking your child is too weak to use the gun.

According to Safe Kids USA:

  • Nearly two-thirds of firearm-owning parents with school-age children believe they keep their firearm safely away from their children. However, one study found that when a gun was in the home, 75 percent to 80 percent of first- and second-graders knew where it was kept.
  • Few children under age 8 can reliably distinguish between real and toy guns or fully understand the consequences of their actions. Yet children as young as age 3 are strong enough to pull the trigger of many handguns.