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Firearm safety starts at home

From the Canada
Safety Council

The majority of Canadian firearm owners have long guns, which they use for hunting, sport and wildlife control. About three-quarters have a rifle, and two-thirds a shotgun, according to the RCMP. Almost always, they keep these firearms at home when not in use.
“Most gun-related deaths and injuries happen in and around the home,” says Canada Safety Council president Jack Smith.
“If you have firearms in your home, the best way to protect your family and visitors is to keep them unloaded and securely locked up,” he added.
A child playing with a loaded gun and inadvertently shooting a playmate is one of the most preventable tragedies.
A depressed or violent person could take an unsecured gun to harm self or someone else; about 80 percent of gun-related deaths are suicides.
The availability of firearms is especially dangerous when there is domestic violence.
Statistics Canada reports that twenty-one percent of intimate partner homicides are committed with a gun, usually a rifle.
Long guns are involved in most firearm mishaps and self-harm. By and large, the deaths and injuries happen simply because a gun is accessible and not securely stored.
For every person killed with a firearm, an estimated 2.6 are injured, many of them very seriously; the average length of hospital stay for firearm injuries is well over two weeks, much longer than for most other injuries.
Dr. Alan Drummond of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians said long guns are a major concern for doctors in rural areas.
“As an emergency physician and coroner, I have seen my share of injuries and deaths inflicted by rifles and shotguns,” he said.
In his rural community, he finds that most firearm deaths and injuries are due to an impulsive act in a home where an unsafely stored gun is readily available.
When the gun is not easily accessible, the effort required to find and load it acts as a deterrent.
Hunting season
Safe transport is as important as safe storage, especially for hunters who carry long guns in their vehicles.
The Canada Safety Council offers these tips:
•Unload your guns when you leave the field or the forest, and place a trigger lock on the unloaded weapon before bringing it home after a hunt.
Muzzleloaders can be kept loaded when being transported between hunting sites, but the firing cap or flint must be removed.
•Lock all guns in a sturdy container that doesn’t let anyone see what is inside.
If you must leave your vehicle unattended while there are guns in it, lock them up in the trunk or in a similar lockable compartment.
If the vehicle has no trunk or lockable compartment, put the firearms (in their containers) out of sight inside the vehicle and lock it up.

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