By Holly Kline
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office issued 450 gun permits during the last two years. As a result, Deputy Mark Bowen wants gun owners to know about firearm safety. Residents are invited to a free Firearms Safety public education forum from 7 to 8 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds.
“The Sheriff’s Office has received numerous requests for information on gun safety,” said Deputy Bryant Orem. “In response to the recent increase in firearms purchases and given the recent tragic loss of two Hamilton County residents through misuse of firearms, Sheriff Bowen decided it was important to take the lead in educating the public on gun safety issues.”
The Firearms Safety forum is open to all residents and is designed for junior high-age kids through adults.
“This is the first time we have had an event focused solely on firearms safety,” Orem said. “All firearms owners, regardless of age or level of experience, should come away from the meeting with information and an appreciation for the importance of properly handling and securing a weapon.”
According to Deputy Orem, there are four cardinal rules that gun owners can follow that will help prevent unintended firearm discharges. The rules are:
- Treat every gun as if it is always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle of a gun cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Always be sure of your target and what is beyond the target.
Deputy Orem also stressed that guns should be stored unloaded and out of reach of children. “Teach kids not to handle firearms without permission, never to play with firearms, not to go looking for firearms, and if they find a firearm not to touch it but to tell an adult,” he said.
There is no charge to attend the Firearms Safety forum and no registration is required. Free childcare will be provided for pre-school and elementary-school age children. Free gun locks will be available while supplies last and gun safety vendors will be on-site. Firearms should not be brought to the meeting.