Well I guess everybody knows all this perfectly but it is always good to review these things even if it looks like the first pages of every gun instruction manual. Please remember that nothing here should be seen as legal advice. Everything is disclaimed.
Before buying or even handling a gun, one has to realize that it is something different than any other object in the sense that a gun can cause serious injury or death. Handling a gun makes you responsible for what happens with it at that time. If you own a gun, you are undertaking full responsibility for safety and security at all times. This means that you have to ensure that you or other people using your gun with your consent handle it properly. You have to make sure that nobody can steal or use your firearm without your consent.
THE ACTUAL RULES FOLLOW:
Always treat a gun as if it were loaded until you visually check it out.
Never point your firearm in any direction you do not intend to shoot. In particular, never point your gun in the direction of other people.
Always have your gun pointed in a safe direction.
Before handling a firearm, understand how it works.
Do not assume that a gun is secure, i.e. some guns have excellent security systems to prevent accidental firing (e.g. when dropped), others don't.
Do not put your finger on the trigger unless you are ready to shoot.
Keep your firearm unloaded when you are not using it.
Never pass your firearm to anybody until you have checked that it is unloaded.
If you have to carry your gun loaded, always point it in a safe direction (e.g. the ground). Never carry your gun with the hammer cocked.
You should store your firearm and ammunition in separate locked places. Pay particular attention that no child has access to the gun.
Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
If you own a gun for home defense, most of these safety rules will be violated. However in some countries, home defense can be important. You will then probably store your gun loaded in a place that you can quickly reach if you feel you are threatened. In this case, be really sure that it is unaccessible to children. Buy then the safest possible gun for this purpose.
When choosing a handgun for home defense, revolvers are a good choice as there is no safety mechanism to play with, which might be confusing in a stress situation. This is particularly true if you are not very familiar with handguns or do not practice a lot. Their drawback is a lower capacity. Among semi autos, Glock are good defense guns due to their safety mechanism, making them easier to operate and more "fault-tolerant" than most other self-loaders.
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