Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
One of the most important rules of gun safety is to always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction – that is, pointed in such a way that even if it were to go off, it would not cause injury or damage. Always have control of where the front end of the barrel is pointed, and note that the safest direction is not constant, but rather is dependent on the circumstances.
Keep your finger off of the trigger until ready to shoot.
When you hold a gun, rest your finger on the side of the gun or on the trigger guard – keep your finger off of the trigger to avoid accidents. Only place your finger on the trigger when you are ready to fire the gun.
Keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
Store guns unloaded, and when you pick up a gun, engage the safety and remove the gun’s magazine (if it has one). If you are unsure how to check if a gun is loaded, seek advice from a professional. Always treat guns as though they are loaded until you are sure they are not.
Never use alcohol or drugs—over-the-counter, prescription, or otherwise—when handling a gun.
Alcohol and other substances can impair mental and physical bodily functions, including reaction time and judgment, and should not be used before or during the handling of firearms.