11 Important Tips for First-Time Gun Owners
There’s a reason why 42% of households in the United States own a gun. Thanks to the 2nd amendment, guns are inextricably linked to United States culture. If you’re considering buying a gun, then your head is probably swimming with all of the possibilities.
For example, what type should you get? What do you need to get? And how do you use it safely?
First-time gun owners are typically overwhelmed by a lot of these questions. That’s why we made this article. In it, we’ll go over eleven tips that every new gun owner should consider before they finally decide to make a purchase.
1. Think About What You Will Use the Gun For
The first thing you should do is think about what you will be using the gun for. This will play a big factor in what type of weapon is right for you. For example, if you plan on hunting with the weapon, then you will likely want a rifle — small caliber for small game, and large-caliber for larger animals.
If you plan on using the weapon for home defense, then your best option is a small-caliber handgun. That way, you don’t unintentionally hurt any neighbors or family members who live nearby.
If you want to shoot for practice, fun, or competition, then a handgun or a semi-automatic rifle are good choices. Think carefully about how you will use the weapon. This will go a long way in determining the right one for you.
2. Research the Different Types of Guns
Now that you know what you will use the gun for, it’s time to research the right type for you. Generally, guns can be broken down into four categories. They include:
- Handguns and pistols
- Semi-automatic rifles
When you decide on a category, then you can start researching the specific weapons. There are plenty to choose from, so make sure to do your research. If you don’t know where to begin, then try going into a gun shop.
The owners will likely be more than willing to educate you on the right type for you.
3. Research the Laws in Your State
Gun laws can get pretty confusing. This is because some laws fall under Federal jurisdiction and others fall under local state laws. As such, what might be legal in some states could be illegal in another.
Gun-related offenses can be quite serious, so you’ll want to research the laws to make sure that you’re following them correctly. We recommend starting with the laws around how you can carry a gun.
For example, if you decide to carry your gun out in the open, then you may require a permit. Or, you might not have to carry a permit at all to bring it out in the open. Similarly, some states don’t allow open carry at all, regardless of permits. The same goes for concealed carry.
Some states, like Texas, allow for concealed carrying without a permit. Other states, like Arizona, allow concealed carrying with a permit, but there are restrictions on whether or not you can get one.
Finally, some states don’t allow them at all. Make sure to check out this helpful guide for concealed carry reciprocity map.
4. Find Out Whether or Not You Can Purchase a Gun
Sadly, not all citizens can legally purchase guns. Most of the time a background check is required to get a buying license. And, if certain things are revealed in your background check, then a seller cannot sell you a gun. These things include:
- Past felony and misdemeanor convictions
- Dishonorable discharge from the military
- Fugitive status
- Indicted for a serious crime
- Drug and alcohol abuse (in certain states)
- Restraining order committed against you
- Involuntary commitment to a mental institution
5. Decide Where to Buy the Gun
Next, it’s time to find a good place to purchase your firearm. We recommend your local gun shop for this. Just make sure that they’re friendly and willing to answer any questions that you might have.
Otherwise, you can take your business elsewhere. You can also purchase from gun shows or private sales. However, we don’t recommend this for first-time gun owners.
Instead, wait until you have a little experience under your belt before engaging in these types of sales.
6. Gather What You’ll Need to Purchase a Gun
There are some things that you will need to buy a gun. First, you will need a photo ID of some sort. Most states will also require you to fill out an ATF Form 4473 Firearms Transaction Form.
This is a form that allows a gun dealer to review your information and perform a background check on you. As such, make sure that you have these two items before you come into the store.
7. Research Gun Safety Before You Ever Handle a Firearm
Before you even pick up a handgun you should make sure that you’re properly educated in gun safety. The best way to do this is to take a gun safety course. However, these courses can usually be condensed into three simple rules.
First, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. You should treat every gun like it’s loaded, even when it’s not. As such, you should never point it in the direction that you’re not willing to shoot.
Next, always keep your gun unloaded until you’re ready to use it. And, the third rule, never put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to fire. This is one of the quickest ways to cause a tragic misfire. Also, make sure that the safety is on.
8. Learn How to Use Your New Gun
Every gun is different. As such, once you decide on a weapon you should learn the intricacies of how to use it. This includes things like how to load it properly, how to clean it, and the location of the safety and other features.
Ideally, you can get someone else to show you exactly how the gun works. But, if this isn’t available, then you can turn to the internet. There are likely lots of Youtube tutorials on how to use the weapon.
Make sure you’re extremely careful with the firearm while you’re learning the ins and outs of it.
9. Practice With Your New Gun
Remember that practice makes perfect. Once you have a basic understanding of your firearm, then it’s time to shoot it. The best place to do this is a safe, controlled environment like a firing range.
This allows you to get a feel for how the weapon performs. Remember that whether you’re using the gun for hunting or home defense, in the heat of the moment you will need to rely purely on instinct.
As such, the more familiar you are with your weapon, then the better odds you have of hitting your target.
10. Educate Those in Your Household About the Gun
Odds are you’ve heard tragic stories about children getting their hands on loaded firearms and accidentally shooting themselves. More often than not, this is because the owners did not teach their children about proper gun safety.
As such, the children just thought the gun was a toy. To avoid this, you should make sure to sit your kids down and tell them about the firearm. Explain that it’s not a toy and they should never touch it unless they’re old enough and with you.
A little education can go a long way toward ensuring that an incident like this never happens.
11. Get a Safe Place to Store It
Safely storing your gun is one of the most important things you can do. This is especially true if you live with others. It’s not enough to teach your kids about gun safety.
You also need to make sure that they never have access to the gun without your supervision. The best way to do this is to invest in a gun safe. Make sure that you secure it with a combination or lock code.
And, never share this combination with your children. That way, you can avoid an incident from ever happening in the first place.
Enjoy Learning These Tips for Buying a Gun? Keep Reading
We hope this article helped you learn about some things to keep in mind when buying a gun for the first time. Your first gun is always an exciting experience. But, it’s still important to take things slow.
Do your research, and take your time planning everything. That way, when you get your gun, you can make sure that you’re using it in a safe way.
Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep exploring to find more topics that you’re sure to love.