Basic rules of firearms safety
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
- Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep the action open and unloaded. Keep the safety “on” and your finger off the trigger.
- Be sure the barrel of the firearm is clear of obstructions. Check the chamber and magazine every time you pick it up. Only carry and use ammunition appropriate for your firearm.
- Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot. Agree to safe fields of fire for yourself and hunting companions and never swing beyond your area.
- Positively identify your target and what lies beyond. Make sure there is an adequate backstop when hunting or target practicing
- Unload your firearm when climbing a tree, crossing a fence, jumping a ditch or traversing slippery or steep terrain. Never pull a firearm toward you by the muzzle.
- Be aware of the potential for ricochet. Never shoot at a hard, flat surface or water.
- Unload firearms when not in use, leaving the action open. Transport and carry firearms unloaded and cased when traveling to and from the field or target practice
- Store firearms and ammunition separately in locked compartments and beyond the reach of children.
- Never use alcohol or drugs that can impair your judgment before or while shooting.
Take a firearms safety course
- Certified Firearms Safety Courses are taught by independent instructors certified by the Massachusetts Department of State Police and are usually a 1-day course.
- Basic Hunter Education Courses are administered by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and are taught throughout the state by certified volunteer instructors and agency staff.