Campsite Firearms Safety and Concerns Checklist

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Whether for hunting or target shooting firearms can certainly add an element of excitement and thrill to a camping trip. That being said, responsible gun care and use are essential to keeping fun from turning into tragedy. Every year, roughly 500 to 700 deaths occur in the U.S. due to firearms misuse. It’s a statistic which can be reduced by simply adhering to a series of safety guidelines.

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It’s additionally imperative for gun-carrying campers to be mindful of the impact their weapons can have on the environment. Before heading out on a weekend adventure outdoors, go over the following firearms safety and concerns checklist for campers:

Education and Awareness

If firearms are being brought on a camping trip then everyone involved should be aware of their existence prior to departure. Many people have strong opinions about guns and wouldn’t want to be surprised to see them once the trip is already underway.

Those planning on using the guns need to know how to operate them and more importantly how to safely handle them. If everyone has a potential to want to shoot at some point, then everyone needs to be taught the basics. Prepare for eye rolls, but a five-minute lecture repeated five times could save a life.

Firearm Maintenance

Dusting off dad’s double-barrel to shoot a few beer cans on your trip is fine, but make sure it’s well oiled and clear of any debris. If the firearms being brought haven’t been used in over three-months then inspections are critical to ensuring safety.

Cleanliness is only one aspect of proper gun maintenance. Seemingly-functional handguns, shotguns, and rifles can be hiding their potential for causing unnecessary damage and destruction. For example, most AR 15 sights need to be professionally fitted to prevent mishandled operation. Millimeters of difference equate to yards of potential inaccuracy when long-range weapons are at play.

The Surroundings

Most people unfamiliar with firearms can be shocked at how far a bullet can travel from a rifle – easily over a mile with enough open space. Needless to say a campsite is only one part of a great big piece of land likely used by more than just one group. Know where you’re aiming a rifle for as far as it can send bullets.

Clean-Up Crew

We have a tendency to not perceive small bits of trash as litter. But bullets and bullet casings collect quickly when recreational shooting is occurring. This adds up to many pounds of spent metal laying on the ground. Make an effort to limit where you and others are standing when shooting, to keep the casings close together. Once you’re done or out of ammo, have everyone go around with trash bags picking up every piece of metal they find, plus whatever other trash under their feet. You won’t get everything, but you’ll greatly reduce the amount of litter left behind.

Bringing guns with you on a camping trip is perfectly fine so long as consideration is taken for safety and the preservation of the land around the campsite.  Going over a series of basic points to keep in mind and practice can keep the fun going without increasing the level of danger.

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