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Pre Easter Hunter Safety Roar

Pre Easter Hunter Safety Roar Release

Load your firearm only when ready to fire is the message of Mr Joe Green, Chairman of the Firearms Safety Council Aotearoa New Zealand as hunters’ head for the hills this Easter.

Around half of all incidents, where there is an accidental shooting ending in injury or death, are caused by a firearm being loaded when it should not be loaded.

Load a firearm only when ready to fire is one of the seven basic rules of safe firearms handling. Tragically there are incidents where individuals have been accidentally shot when crossing fences, cleaning firearms or transporting firearms in vehicles. At all these times the firearm should not have been loaded says Mr Green.

The magazine of the firearm should only be loaded when a hunter reaches their hunting area. The chamber of the firearm should only be loaded when the hunter is ready to fire, and after the target has been positively identified say Mr Green.

Hunters should use a half open bolt in a state of semi-readiness when game has been sighted or they expect to flush game at any time. A state of semi-readiness means a round is half chambered, but the firearm cannot be fired until the round is fully chambered, locked and the hunter is ready to fire. Also remember that the safety catch is mechanical and if not maintained could fail so should be used as a supplement to safe handling practices.

Both the firearm and its magazine must be unloaded when the hunter leaves their hunting area and the magazine and chamber of the firearm carefully checked that they are no longer loaded. Mr Green advises that it is a good idea for hunting mates to double check each other’s firearms are completely unloaded. This can be reassuring for all members of the hunting party says Mr Green.

The Firearms Safety Council urges all users to refresh their knowledge and comply with all seven basic rules of firearms safety this Easter period and make sure your firearm is only loaded when you are ready to fire and at no other time.

The Seven Basic Rules of Safe Firearms Handling

1. TREAT EVERY FIREARM AS LOADED
- Check every firearm yourself.
- Pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm.
2. ALWAYS POINT FIREARMS IN A SAFE DIRECTION
- Loaded or unloaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
3. LOAD A FIREARM ONLY WHEN READY TO FIRE
- Load only the magazine after you reach your shooting area.
- Load the chamber only when ready to shoot.
- Completely unload before leaving the shooting area.
4. IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET BEYOND ALL DOUBT
- Movement, colour, sound and shape can all deceive you.
- Assume colour, shape, sound, and shape to be human until proven otherwise
5. CHECK YOUR FIRING ZONE
- THINK! What may happen if you miss your target? What might you hit between you and the target or beyond?
- Do not fire know others are in your firing zone
6. STORE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION SAFELY
- When not in use, lock away the bolt, firearm and ammunition separately.
- Never leave firearms in a vehicle that is unattended
7. AVOID ALCOHOL AND DRUGS WHEN HANDLING FIREARMS
- Good judgement is the key to safe use of firearms.

Ends

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