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Shooting for firearm safety

Weapons are stored in the security forces armory in Building 500 June 14, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. All personally owned firearms brought onto base or stored on base must be registered at the visitor control center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Weapons are stored in the security forces armory in Building 500 June 14, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. All personally owned firearms brought onto base or stored on base must be registered at the visitor control center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, inspects weapons June 14, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Individuals may store their firearms in the security forces armory located in Building 500. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, inspects weapons June 14, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Individuals may store their firearms in the security forces armory located in Building 500. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, demonstrates the proper holding of a weapon June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Fingers should be kept outside the trigger guard or along the side of the weapon until ready to shoot. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, demonstrates the proper holding of a weapon June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Fingers should be kept outside the trigger guard or along the side of the weapon until ready to shoot. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, shows an empty chamber June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Firearms should be unloaded when not in use. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, shows an empty chamber June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Firearms should be unloaded when not in use. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, demonstrates an unloaded weapon June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Whenever a weapon is picked up, always point it in a safe direction and make sure it is unloaded. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, demonstrates an unloaded weapon June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Whenever a weapon is picked up, always point it in a safe direction and make sure it is unloaded. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, shows an empty chamber June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Firearms will always be unloaded during transportation and placed in the trunk or the rear most compartment of a vehicle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, shows an empty chamber June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Firearms will always be unloaded during transportation and placed in the trunk or the rear most compartment of a vehicle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, demonstrates pointing a weapon in a safe direction June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. A safe direction means the weapon is pointed so that even if an accidental discharge did occur, it would not result in injury. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, demonstrates pointing a weapon in a safe direction June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. A safe direction means the weapon is pointed so that even if an accidental discharge did occur, it would not result in injury. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, shows an empty weapon June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Before using a weapon, read the manual on the weapon, know how to safely open and close the action of the firearm and know how to safely remove any ammunition from the weapon and its magazine. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, shows an empty weapon June 9, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Before using a weapon, read the manual on the weapon, know how to safely open and close the action of the firearm and know how to safely remove any ammunition from the weapon and its magazine. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, holds a firearm June 14, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Storage or introduction of firearms in dormitories and billeting is prohibited. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, holds a firearm June 14, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Storage or introduction of firearms in dormitories and billeting is prohibited. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- It is important as a firearm owner to be responsible and safe in the storage, transportation, and use of personally owned firearms.

There are many variables that affect the safety needs of gun owners such as lifestyle, environment, legal requirements, financial limitations and personal preference, however, Senior Airman Tyler Merrill, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron armorer, said firearm safety should always be the number one priority.

“Safe weapon handling and storage is important because without it, you could end up misfiring, shooting someone or potentially ending their life,” Merrill said. “Weapons are not something to be joked around with.”

Safety tips

Below are several tips Merrill offers for handling and storing all firearms:

Always keep the firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction so that if an accidental discharge occurs, it will not result in injury.

Always keep fingers off the trigger until ready to shoot. When handling a weapon, rest the fingers outside the trigger guard or along the side of the weapon.

Firearms should be unloaded when not in use. Whenever a weapon is picked up, always point it in a safe direction and make sure it is unloaded.

Know how the weapon operates before use. Read the manual on the weapon, know how to safely open and close the action of the firearm and know how to safely remove any ammunition from the weapon and its magazine.

Store ammunition in a locked location separate from the weapon.

Ensure any children present in the home are aware of and understand the safety guidelines concerning firearms.

Merrill said individuals storing personally owned weapons on base must also follow additional guidelines.

“All personally owned firearms brought onto base or stored on base must be registered at the visitor control center,” Merrill said.

Weapons should not be brought into the VCC, but only pertinent information such as type of weapon and serial number.

Storage and transportation of firearms on base

Storage or introduction of firearms in dormitories and billeting is prohibited. Individuals may store their firearms in the security forces armory located in Building 500.

Residents of military family housing must ensure all firearms are secured in an appropriately constructed locked container, like a safe, or equipped with a temper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device.

Transporting firearms on the installation is prohibited except transportation to and from authorized storage facilities such as base housing and the armory, for off-base activities, purchase or sale, collector display events or gun shows.

Firearms must be unloaded during such transportation and placed in the trunk or the rearmost compartment of a vehicle. Firearms will not be transported on motorcycles, bicycles or any other two or three-wheeled vehicles.

Firearms must be cleared and on safe while transported. They will not be stowed in any such manner as to appear to be concealed such as under vehicle seats or partially hidden. Ammunition must be stored separately.

Under no circumstances will a firearm be stored in a motor vehicle for an extended period of time.

Prohibited firearms

The following firearms shall not be possessed, transported or maintained within the confines of the base:

Zip guns or any homemade device capable of discharging firearm ammunition.

Shotguns having a barrel length of less than 18 inches and/or overall length less than 26 inches or a rifle having a barrel length of less than 16 inches and/or overall length less than 26 inches without a proper federal firearms permit to possess such a weapon.

Any firearm that is capable of firing in a fully automatic mode. Weapon collectors with proper federal permits may store or register automatic weapons as prescribed for personally owned firearms. All appropriate permits must accompany such weapons whenever they are transported, possessed or stored on base.

Any firearm that violates any federal, state or local law.

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Breaux, 341st SSPTS NCO in charge of the armory, said it’s important for these regulations to be in place to keep everyone safe.

“It’s a safety concern for military members and their families,” Breaux said. “It’s in our best interest to mitigate extra unnecessary handling and mishaps of firearms for everyone’s safety.”