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If you are going to be living in the country, there are going to be predators and varmints. Occasionally, you may even have trespassers. Knowing how to safely handle, shoot, clean and store a gun is a necessity.
Some states, like CA, have online gun safety courses available. Here, you take your certificate to a gun shop, take a short quiz, present your ID and a small fee and they issue you a card which allows you to make purchases of long guns like shotguns or rifles, provided you pass a background check. Purchasing handguns is a different process.
Each state is different. Some more relaxed, others more controlled, according to its laws. You should look up the laws of your state and determine what is necessary for gun ownership in your region. Even if the law doesn’t require it, I would still recommend an online course in gun safety. Many are available free of charge and it doesn’t hurt to take a refresher occasionally.
If you’ve never shot a rifle before, the experience might be a little overwhelming. Your local range may have a class for beginners. If not, a friend or family member may be able to lend a hand. Your first rifle or shotgun should be one that is a good weight and length for your frame. It should be comfortable for you to hold and the trigger should not be too difficult for you to squeeze nor should it be so soft that it should go off too easily. Remember to always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
Cleaning your weapon after every use is an absolute must. If you don’t you increase the likelihood that the weapon will misfire. Purchase a good quality gun cleaning kit and clean your rifle or shotgun according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you purchased it used, look up the instructions online for that model. Most weapons are cleaned in a similar fashion.
Firearms should be stored with a trigger lock and they should themselves be locked inside a case, safe, or gun cabinet. The ammunition should be stored separately, and the weapon should never be stored loaded.
What is your favorite firearm for the modern homestead? Why?