Gun Safety & Injury Prevention In Las Vegas
Nevada is a unique state when it comes to guns and safety. There’s a fair amount of liberties a gun owner has in the state (ability to conceal carry with license & open carry without) but there’s also been some very disturbing instances with violence as well as pull away from those liberties at times (firearm registration in Clark County). When talking about safety, especially now, the scope could go beyond the typical common sense golden rules to keep yourself & others around you safe when handling firearms. Unfortunately, it’s looking like the when talking about gun safety these days, it’s going to start becoming a bigger conversation than the safe handling of guns & common sense injury prevention measures. It’s likely going to start becoming a discussion of those things plus a number of others. Such questions come up as, “if an active shooter is in this area, what’s my best course of action & path to safety? Should I carry a firearm to protect myself? Am I adequately trained with my firearm to protect myself and/or others around me safely?
A difficult question rises to the surface in light of these thoughts: if a situation comes up where my own life or others are in danger, and I do have a firearm, am I mentally prepared to take the associated risks to do something about it? Many people think that if they have a gun & they’re in a situation, they will walk away the hero. However, it’s not always that simple. There could be other bystanders in the line of fire which could prevent you from being able to take a shot along with a slew of other considerations. What if you miss & draw the attention directly to yourself making you the new target. What if you do take down the shooter but kill an innocent bystander also?
Without attempting to answer all the difficult moral, political & ethical questions, that are starting to be associated with this topic, let’s start with safety measures you can take TODAY to help prevent yourself or someone you love from being the victim of a gun injury or accident.
Gun Safety – Before The Basics:
If you’re going to own a firearm (let alone carry one) you should know how to use it safely. Real life is not the movies, you don’t pick up a gun having never shot one & expect to effectively use it to hunt, protect yourself or do anything safely with it.
Take A Class: Brain surgeons don’t go pick up a scalpel & start just start safely performing surgeries. They go through training (rigorous), they learn from experts & they get properly certified. A firearms safety course is likely one of the best ways to quickly get familiar with safe handling of guns. Especially for those who did not grow up hunting, target practicing or in an environment where you’re commonly around guns.
Be Willing To Practice: it makes perfect… or at least closer to it. Guns vary wildly in the way they operate & fire from one caliber & style to the next. If all you’ve ever shot is a 22 rifle & you pick up a 460 pistol, or a 10 gauge shotgun, you can rest assured that you are going to have a very different experience from the former. Some calibers will “kick” significantly while others will have little to no noticeable “kick” effect. Most will vary based on the size, weight & style of the gun they are fired from. The amount of noise from the shot will also change dramatically based on the length of the barrel which may be startling to new shooters.
The Basics: Safe Handling of Firearms:
- Always treat a firearm as if it’s loaded (even when you’re certain it is not)
why is this? because it should be muscle memory to never point a gun at someone, not something that requires a lot of thought after you become experienced.
- Always point a gun in a safe direction.
– obvious reasons: you don’t want to accidentally shoot someone
- Keep you finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot
- Never point a firearm at something or someone you don’t intend to shoot
– guns aren’t toys, they shouldn’t be pointed at someone or something you have no intention of shooting (& potentially killing )
- Don’t load a gun until you’re ready to shoot
– if you drop a gun on accident, it could discharge
- Know your target and what is behind it
– obviously you need to be sure of the main target but you also need to be mindful that you may miss or your bullet may pass through significantly beyond what you hit.
- Never rely on a guns safety mechanism to keep it from firing
– mechanical parts can fail
- Don’t carry a gun if you intend to consume alcohol
– even open carry becomes illegal at .1 BAC in Nevada
- Store your gun in a safe place. One of the worst things that can happen with a gun is for a child to get ahold of it and unintentionally hurt someone or for a criminal to get ahold of it & intentionally use it against you or someone else. One of the best bets is a safe but don’t overlook other gun safety rules if you do have one (like storing your gun unloaded). If you don’t have that, find or build a secure hiding place.
Beyond the basic universal safety rules, you should be familiar with gun laws in your state: https://www.ladahlaw.com/nevada/gun-laws-ownership-by-state. Adhering to safety rules won’t guarantee that you don’t land yourself a fine or in jail if you don’t know the laws in your state. This gun safe handling list is also a fairly basic list. There’s plenty of other considerations that can come into play with gun safety depending on the situation, many of which can be found here: http://www.magtechammunition.com/resources/safety-university/12-golden-rules/.
Slightly Beyond the Basics:
- Clean your gun.
– Obviously, before you do this make sure it’s not loaded. Dirty guns can lead to unsafe firing conditions, jams, etc. None of which are optimal for ensuring safety.
- Wear eye & ear protection.
– while these may not lead to death or necessarily life threatening injury, shooting will indeed damage your hearing over time. Eye injury my be less common but none less not a bad idea.
Avoid Being The Victim of A Gun Crime
- Be aware of your surroundings.
– Always know what’s going on around you & don’t allow yourself to get into the mindset of “that can’t happen to me”. It can, it has, hopefully it won’t but don’t rule it out. This doesn’t mean living in fear, it means living in awareness.
- Avoid bad areas of the city, especially at night.
– If you can’t avoid them, try to avoid being there alone.
- Be careful who you allow access into your living space.
– All to often intruders gain entry by initial invitation or simply answering the door to someone you don’t know. Ask individuals that come to your door to identify themselves & the purpose of their visit.
- Increase security measures.
– This could mean installing security cameras, chain locks, intercoms, etc. There’s a number of ways you can communicate with people who knock on your door without giving them potential access to come into your home by opening the door. Security cameras also can help you find out if someone is trying to gain entry through windows, garages, etc. and even monitor your home from your cell phone.
- Join or start a neighborhood watch program https://www.nnw.org.
– Neighbors watching out for each other can reduce the ability of criminals to carry out acts of ill intention.
- Break your routine.
– Criminals often look to take advantage of people’s regular schedules through observation so the more unpredictable your routine is, the more difficult it is for them to pinpoint a pattern to take advantage of.
You’re more likely to be a victim of a gun crime or accident in your own home than you are to become the victim of a mass shooting type event. However, all to real are these events when they hit close to home & make you realize that you could find yourself in that type of situation. If you do, think in terms of: flee, hide and fight (in that order). Be aware of your surroundings & try to always have an escape plan. This could be all the difference in a situation like this. Get out if you can, and find law enforcement. Hide if you can’t get out, barricade yourself in. Finally, if forced to fight to defend yourself.
The More Common Gun Injuries
When considering that around 37% of the population of Nevada owns a firearm, gun violence & accidents are not as common as you might expect from the amount of attention the media places on them. Not that people shouldn’t be aware of these type of events & prepared for them. It’s just smart to put it into perspective with more common types of injuries & accidents as it’s far more likely you will be injured in an auto accident than injured by a gun crime or accident. That being said, staying alert and aware of your surroundings is one of the best things that can be done to avoid any injury or dangerous situation. Trust your instinct, if you feel as though you’re approaching a dangerous scenario, stop & take a survey of this reaction before proceeding. Doing so will put you one step ahead & increase your ability to react in critical moments if something were to go wrong.