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Great Responsibility

"Owning a firearm is a great responsibility."

Lincoln County Sheriff's Office

According to the National Safety Council's website InjuryFacts, gun-related deaths from preventable, intentional, and undetermined causes totaled 39,740 in 2018, nearly flat from 39,773 deaths in 2017.

Suicides account for 61% of deaths related to firearms, while 35% were homicides, and about 1% were preventable/accidental. Please note that the term gun is used on this page to refer to firearms that can be carried by a person, not to the larger class of weapon.

Since 2014, gun-related assault deaths have increased 27%, but the most recent data show that the upward trend may be over, with less than a 1% increase in 2017 and a 4% decrease in 2018. Suicide deaths involving guns increased 2.4%, marking the 12th consecutive yearly increase.

Preventable or accidental gun-related deaths decreased for the second consecutive year. From 1999 to 2018, preventable gun-related deaths have decreased 44%, from 824 to 458 deaths.

Law enforcement agencies have mounted safety campaigns over the years to help prevent gun-related accidents. The following is the latest effort from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

Rules For Safely Handling Firearms

Before ever touching a firearm, you need to understand the Four Cardinal Rules of Safe Handling of a firearm. By following these rules, you can help keep yourself, and those around you, safe.

Owning a firearm is a great responsibility; but a firearm is merely a tool and can be dangerous without proper training. An official training course from an accredited and/or experienced instructor is a great option for firearm owners, but all training starts with an interest to gain knowledge of the basics which include knowing how to load and unload, safely store, and properly care for your firearm.

As always, be sure to read your owner’s manual completely before starting to use your firearm. The following is a brief overview of the Four Cardinal Rules of Safe Handling of a firearm.

Cardinal Rule Number 1: Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded

Before touching or even approaching a firearm, it is important to follow the rule that all firearms are always loaded. Regardless of who used it last, where it came from, or what you may believe, every firearm is loaded at all times until proven otherwise.

Until you physically and visually inspect the firearm personally, it should be treated as a live firearm. Physically and visually should include the magazine well and chamber of the firearm. Once it leaves your control, it should be considered a loaded firearm again.

Cardinal Rule Number 2: Only point a firearm at an intended target

If you aren’t willing to fire at something, you shouldn’t point a firearm at it. When using a handgun you have to be particularly careful. While shotguns and rifles usually require two hands to change the direction of the muzzle, handguns are prone to being accidentally pointed in the wrong direction.

Cardinal Rule Number Three: Be certain of your target, backstop and beyond

When you do decide to aim at something, you must be 100 percent positive of what you’re aiming at and always know what is in your line of fire, i.e., between and behind you and your target. Bullets can easily pass through a target and travel long distances. Don’t risk anything.

Cardinal Rule Number 4: Keep your finger off the trigger, out of the trigger guard until you are on target and ready to fire

Until you have made the decision to fire, you must keep your finger off of the trigger and outside the guard. Regardless of the type of firearm or situation, your finger never touches the trigger until you are on target and have made the decision to fire. Firearms are designed so they don’t discharge until such time the trigger is manually depressed.

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