At TD, we are a safety-first kind of crew, and we know it’s always good to have a refresher on gun safety tips not taught in EDC class. Firearm instructors who teach concealed carry classes do a good job at covering the basics of Every Day Carrying (EDC), but they simply can't tell you everything they know. Take the classes you're able to and learn as much as you can, but remember that no class ever teaches you everything. Ask questions, do your research, and know that there is always something more to learn.

While self-protection and the protection of those we care about are of the utmost importance, it is every bit as important that we maintain a strict safety protocol while carrying firearms. Here are five gun safety tips that you need to know:

Tip #1: Always assume that a gun is loaded.
This one was likely covered in your instructor-led course, but it bears repeating: treating a gun like it is always loaded and lethal is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others while carrying.

Tip #2: Always keep your weapon clean.
Proper firearm maintenance is an essential part of safe and effective gun ownership. Ideally, you should always clean your weapons after firing them. This means sitting down and taking them apart for a good scrubbing and oiling after every visit to the gun range.
• The process of cleaning the internal mechanisms of your firearms to keep them free of gunpowder and residue is the best way to prevent misfires or other malfunctions.
• The process of disassembling, cleaning, then reassembling each part gives you a chance to inspect the components for wear and/or damage.

Part of proper maintenance is also making sure the gun is ready and safe to fire before pulling the trigger. Check the barrel for obstructions to ensure it is clean and not clogged by mud, dirt, or water. Keeping your weapon clean will help reduce the chance of a malfunction when you are in an emergency and need to defend yourself.

Tip #3: The clothing you wear matters.
Everyday Carry means just that; you will go through the motions of everyday life with your weapon on you. Where you keep your gun on your person, be it an open-carry or concealed carry holster or a pocket in your clothing, will have a major impact. Being able to safely access your weapon without it getting in the way of normal activities will contribute to your safety, the safety of those around you, and how effective you will be with your weapon if you need to use it.

Less tactical, more practical concerns matter too. Your clothes should allow you to carry comfortably and support the weight of the weapon and anything else you'll need for it, like ammo, along with the items of everyday life, things like your wallet, keys, or a cell phone.

Tip #4: Always be aware of the current gun laws of the state you're in.
Every state varies on when, where, and how you can carry a weapon. States often specify whether you can carry on school grounds, private property, or federal land. Other states restrict carrying based on your level of inebriation, and some states restrict concealed carrying altogether. You may be perfectly in keeping with the legal requirements for your home state, but a neighboring state could have drastically different requirements.

Always study the gun laws of any states you travel to while you're planning the trip. Even crossing a nearby state line with a weapon, concealed or not, can be tricky if you are unaware of the current regulations in place.

Tip #5: This is a weapon and a tool, not a toy, so carry responsibly.
While this is frequently touched on in early firearm courses, it also bears repeating. Firing off a few rounds at the range can be an enjoyable hobby and time well spent, but it is important remember that the weapon in your hands is not a toy, nor is it meant to be handled for anything other than its intended use.

Proper firearms training, including EDC and Concealed Weapon Carry classes, is extremely important to any weapon's safe and proper use. Aside from possible legal ramifications, waving a gun around or pointing it at someone in jest is inviting an accident, no matter how careful you are. This means staying away from weapons when you're under the effects of drugs or alcohol—even cold medicine can greatly impair your ability to handle a firearm safely. Be aware of this and ensure you only handle your weapon when you fully control yourself and your faculties.

Proper care and handling are the most critical aspects of gun safety.
• Keep firearms unloaded when not in use. Following use or carry of a weapon, remove the clip and clear any rounds already chambered.
• IMPORTANT: After removing the magazine from the firearm, some forget that there was still a round chambered. This, unfortunately, can lead to dire consequences for the handler, bystanders, or both.

Even after you take the steps necessary to unload your weapon safely and completely, always be very conscious of where you are pointing your weapon, know what you're aiming at, and be aware of what might be behind your target. If you are not 100% certain you are going to fire a shot at a target or an enemy, lower your weapon immediately. Combined, these two items can nearly eliminate the most common gun-related accidents, protecting you and those around you.

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