Another key firearm safety principle requires that you load your weapons only when they are being used at a time that you are ready to shoot. If you are at a target range, shooting area or loading your weapon for self-defense, these are the only times that your weapon should be loaded. When your firearm is not being used, ammunition and the weapon should be placed in separate locations from each other. This principle ensures that other adults and children will not have access to your firearms and ammunition, preventing unnecessary accidents in the process.
The moment you are finished with your firearm, unload it. Too many firearm owners keep a loaded weapon in their vehicles and homes, enhancing the odds that an unfortunate accident might occur. Regarding how to handle a weapon to make sure it is unloaded, always open the action immediately so that you visually inspect the chamber, receiver and magazine. This allows you to be absolutely sure that there is no ammunition in your weapon since you should never assume that a firearm is unloaded. This is a key distinction between wise gun owners and those making key safety mistakes.
Additionally, never perform unsafe actions when you are carrying a loaded gun. Do not perform activities like crossing fences or performing other unsafe actions with a loaded weapon. This may require you to unload your weapon at certain points while you are in the field, and this advice is particularly helpful for staying safe in tricky terrain while hunting. Also, avoid pulling or pushing a loaded weapon towards you or another person. In short, if there is any doubt that a loaded gun will compromise your safety, make the smart choice and unload your firearm.