I am writing this as a concerned parent and grandparent. I was raised in a home in which loaded firearms were a fact of life and was taught from an early age that firearms were not toys, but tools used to obtain food and to protect the family. When my oldest son was 4 years old or so came out of our house in Missouri while I was skinning squirrels that I had just shot on the back side of our farm. As he watched me skin them he looked at me and asked if I had shot them with the rifle (marlin .22 cal) and I assured him that I had, he then asked if they were dead? I told him that if they weren't they were going to be real mad, then he asked "If I got shot would I be dead too?" There are times when your life comes to a dead stop! I looked at my 4 year old son and told him the truth, that if he were to get shot he could die. We went on to talk about how the people on tv that got shot, weren't really being shot, they were just playing. And that is how my son began learning of firearms safety. Let me be clear I am not an NRA firearms instructor! However I spent 14 years 6 months in the US Army as an Infantry Soldier. I've spent a lot of time with weapons of all types and have taught firearms use and safety to everything from 5 man fireteams to classes of 200.
The best rules I have ever come across for firearms safety are from Col. Jeff Cooper. Those rules are:
1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges
4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.
I do have a rule that I used to stress with my soldiers and with my sons that is to know the weapon that you are handling. If you are going to have a firearm or a weapon of any type whether its for hunting self defense or just as a collectible you should know how that weapon operates, its range, its caliber and its mechanisms. I hope that you enjoy this small beginning I will try to enlarge upon this topic and go into different weapons there uses and capabilties. Thank you for checking this out.