The Sheriff Speaks: Firearms in the Home

Sheriff Kevin Sproul

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

With all of the new gun laws, more people are purchasing firearms. Keeping a firearm in the house is an issue with many safety concerns.  Many people choose not to keep a firearm because they do not know how to keep one safely.  Others may keep a firearm even though they do not know how to do so safely – which is more dangerous.  I would like to offer what I consider the top three safety rules for keeping a firearm in the home:

1. Keep the weapon secured until it is needed.

2. Keep your finger off of the trigger until the decision has been made to shoot.

3. Do not shoot unless you are absolutely sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Keeping the weapon secured means keeping it unloaded and separated from the ammunition, or keeping it locked (or both).  The most secure option is to lock the empty gun, and keep the ammunition in a separate locked container.  While this is very safe, it is also very slow whenever a situation develops that required the use of the weapon.  You may want to consider putting a lock on your bedroom door.  This may slow down an intruder and buy you the time you need to get the weapon ready. 

Whenever the gun is in your hand, it is vitally important to keep your finger off of the trigger until you have made the decision to fire a shot.  Otherwise, anything that may startle you could cause an involuntary contraction of the muscles in your hand.  The result is an unexpected shot being fired.

Finally, if you do shoot, make sure of exactly what you are shooting.  Too many people have shot at a “shadowy figure” in the dark only to learn that it was a loved one.  Also, many have shot and missed the target, but the bullet didn’t stop there.  Bullets can and will penetrate walls, doors, and windows.  Could your children be on the other side of that wall?  Remember that once the bullet leaves the gun, you own it forever.  You can never reach out and bring it back.  Whatever it does – whatever damage it causes – is ultimately your responsibility. 

Protecting yourself is your basic right.  Keeping a firearm is a constitutional right.  Using a firearm to protect yourself is an option.  If you choose to consider this option, please do so with safety in mind.  The safety of your family is most imperative especially when children are present. If you ever have any questions about the safe handling of a firearm, feel free to call my office at (229) 430-6508 or (229) 431-3259.  Someone will be happy to assist you.

About Sheriff Kevin Sproul

Sheriff Kevin Sproul is a longtime resident of Dougherty County. He is a graduate of Albany High School, Darton College and LaGrange College of Albany. Sproul has been employed with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office since 1982 and can be reached at (229) 430-6508.