When dealing with any type of firearm these are some basic rules to always follow:
Rule #1 – Treat EVERY Gun as if it is Loaded – ALWAYS. Whenever you come in contact with a firearm always treat it as if it is loaded. Always verify that the firearm is unloaded and never rely on the word of another. When handling a firearm you are responsible for anything that happens when it is in your possession. If you are unfamiliar with firearms then do NOT handle them.
Rule #2 – ALWAYS point the firearm in a safe direction. NEVER point a firearm at anything that you do not intent to shoot.
Rule #3 – Index your trigger finger until you are on target. ALWAYS keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until your sights are on target and you are ready to shoot. This simple procedure will prevent accidentally discharging the firearm.
Rule #4 – Be certain of your target and what is beyond. When you discharge the firearm you are responsible for where the bullet travels and what it hits. You must know where your shot will go and what it might hit if you miss your intended target. You must be aware of areas surrounding and in back of the target. Be sure that the bullet will not inflict damage or injury in it penetrate the backdrop or ricochets.
Rule #5 – Always lock your firearm. Always secure and lock firearms using a trigger lock, handgun safe, or cabinet safe, Responsible gun owners treat the weapons as if they are always loaded (Rule #1) but others might not be aware of these rules (especially children).
Remember that owning any firearm comes with a high degree of responsibility. Always treat firearms with extreme respect.