The Right to Bear Arms
December 1, 2011
• Get Safety Training. Do not assume you are an expert with all weapons because you carried an M4 or M9 during a deployment. Different weapons have different handling characteristics and safety mechanisms. Read your owner's manual and sign up for a class.
• Know Appropriate Laws and Policies. Laws, regulations and procedures for the transport, storage and registration of weapons vary between different states and military installations. In accordance with Army Regulation 190-11, Physical Security of Arms, Ammunition, and Explosives, senior commanders are responsible for regulating privately owned weapons on Army installations. Policies will cover information such as registration, prohibited weapons and legal compliance requirements. Take time to familiarize yourself with local policies and adhere to them.
• THINK Weapons Safety:
- Treat every weapon as if it is loaded.
- Handle every weapon with care.
- Identify the target before you fire.
- Never point the muzzle at anything you do not intend to shoot.
- Keep the weapon on safe and your finger off the trigger until you intend to fire.
• Handle Weapons Under the Influence. Weapons and alcohol never mix. Never use alcohol before or while handling a weapon. Also, be aware that other substances such as prescription medications can alter your perceptions and influence your coordination.
• Point a Weapon at Anything or Anyone You Don't Intend to Shoot. This applies even if you "know" a weapon is unloaded. Many Soldiers have lost their lives to "unloaded" weapons.
• Leave an Unsecured Weapon Unattended. Secure your weapons unloaded so children or others unfamiliar with weapons handling do not have access to them.
For more information, check out the Range & Weapons Safety Toolbox at https://safety.army.mil/rangeweaponssafety. The toolbox includes a section dedicated to privately owned weapons, which contains safety messages, presentations, videos, posters and links to other tools and resources.
Don't take your rights or responsibilities for granted. Whether you are simply a collector, an avid hunter or enjoy target shooting, the safe handling of weapons will allow you to enjoy your activities while preventing someone from being injured or killed.