Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas --
As the ever-changing debate on firearms continues, one concept stays relatively the same: firearms must be properly stored, cleaned and handled in a manner that will keep the owner and those around him or her safe.
Those who lack this knowledge, but have an interest in firearms, have to start the learning process somewhere. One place to begin is with a conversation with the 47th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructors at Laughlin.
“All aspects of weapon safety are important because of the serious harm people can inflict with one little trigger pull,” explained Staff Sgt. Lacey Ruiz, 47th SFS NCO in charge of the armory. “Although you may be extremely cautious when handling weapons, it’s equally important for you to conduct routine maintenance and properly store weapons.”
Before learning how to maintain, store and shoot a weapon, there are a few factors to consider, explained Ruiz.
“You need to identify the reason why you’re purchasing a weapon-whether it’s for hunting, recreational use, self-defense, etc,” said Ruiz. “Then you should think about what size [weapon] you can handle depending on your stature, what your target will be and what you will be comfortable with shooting.”
Once people have done their research, made an educated decision and purchased a firearm, the next step is to get familiar with that particular firearm. As the old saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’.
“It’s important to practice with your firearm because, just like anything, to become good and proficient at something, it takes practice,” said Ruiz. “Practicing with your firearm helps you develop muscle memory and allows you to operate that firearm in a manner that is effective and safe.”
Whether at the shooting range, practicing or during everyday duty, there are a few rules that security forces always abides by:
Never point your weapon at anything you don’t intend to shoot, kill or destroy.
Know what is behind your target at all times when firing.
Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
No horseplay when operating a weapon.
“Always assume all guns are loaded when you are handling them,” said Staff Sgt. Shaun Jackson, 47th SFS NCO in charge of combat arms. “When handling a gun, even if the person handing it to you says it is clear, treat it as if it hasn’t been cleared and is still loaded.”
With these rules in mind, think of the possible consequences of gun ownership. For those who have children, let that serve as one more reminder of why gun safety is so important. Remember, everything can change in an instant with a pull of the trigger.