Firearms Safety Course
We may issue you FSC if you pass your FSC test.
What is the Firearm Safety Certificate Program?
- Pursuant to Senate Bill 683 (Stats 2013, ch. 761), effective January 1, 2015, the existing Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) program will be expanded and renamed the Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) program. Under the FSC program, requirements that currently apply to handguns only, will apply to all firearms (handguns and long guns).
THE SIX BASIC GUN SAFETY RULES
There are six basic gun safety rules for gun owners to understand and practice at all times:
- Treat all guns as if they are loaded. Always assume that a gun is loaded even if you think it is unloaded. Every time a gun is handled for any reason, check to see that it is unloaded. If you are unable to check a gun to see if it is unloaded, leave it alone and seek help from someone more knowledgeable about guns.
- Keep the gun pointed in the safest possible direction. Always be aware of where a gun is pointing. A "safe direction" is one where an accidental discharge of the gun will not cause injury or damage. Only point a gun at an object you intend to shoot. Never point a gun toward yourself or another person.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Always keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot. Even though it may be comfortable to rest your finger on the trigger, it also is unsafe. If you are moving around with your finger on the trigger and stumble or fall, you could inadvertently pull the trigger. Sudden loud noises or movements can result in an accidental discharge because there is a natural tendency to tighten the muscles when startled. The trigger is for firing and the handle is for handling.
- Know your target, its surroundings and beyond. Check that the areas in front of and behind your target are safe before shooting. Be aware that if the bullet misses or completely passes through the target, it could strike a person or object. Identify the target and make sure it is what you intend to shoot. If you are in doubt, DON'T SHOOT! Never fire at a target that is only a movement, color, sound or unidentifiable shape. Be aware of all the people around you before you shoot.
- Know how to properly operate your gun. It is important to become thoroughly familiar with your gun. You should know its mechanical characteristics including how to properly load, unload and clear a malfunction from your gun. Obviously, not all guns are mechanically the same. Never assume that what applies to one make or model is exactly applicable to another. You should direct questions regarding the operation of your gun to your firearms dealer, or contact the manufacturer directly.
- Store your gun safely and securely to prevent unauthorized use. Guns and ammunition should be stored separately. When the gun is not in your hands, you must still think of safety. Use a California-approved firearms safety device on the gun, such as a trigger lock or cable lock, so it cannot be fired. Store it unloaded in a locked container, such as a California-approved lock box or a gun safe. Store your gun in a different location than the ammunition. For maximum safety you should use both a locking device and a storage container.
ADDITIONAL SAFETY POINTS
The six basic safety rules are the foundational rules for gun safety. However, there are additional safety points that must not be overlooked.
- Never handle a gun when you are in an emotional state such as anger or depression. Your judgment may be impaired.
- Never shoot a gun in celebration (the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve, for example). Not only is this unsafe, but it is generally illegal. A bullet fired into the air will return to the ground with enough speed to cause injury or death.
- Do not shoot at water, flat or hard surfaces. The bullet can ricochet and hit someone or something other than the target.
- Hand your gun to someone only after you verify that it is unloaded and the cylinder or action is open. Take a gun from someone only after you verify that it is unloaded and the cylinder or action is open.
- Guns, alcohol and drugs don't mix. Alcohol and drugs can negatively affect judgment as well as physical coordination. Alcohol and any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical functions should not be used before or while handling guns. Avoid handling and using your gun when you are taking medications that cause drowsiness or include a warning to not operate machinery while taking this drug.
- The loud noise from a fired gun can cause hearing damage, and the debris and hot gas that is often emitted can result in eye injury. Always wear ear and eye protection when shooting a gun.
GUNS AND CHILDREN--FIREARM OWNER RESPONSIBILITIES
Summary of Safe Storage Laws Regarding Children
You may be guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony if you keep a loaded firearm within any premises that are under your custody or control and a child under 18 years of age obtains and uses it, resulting in injury or death, or carries it to a public place, unless you stored the firearm in a locked container or locked the firearm with a locking device to temporarily keep it from functioning.
You Cannot Be Too Careful with Children and Guns
There is no such thing as being too careful with children and guns. Never assume that simply because a toddler may lack finger strength, they can't pull the trigger. A child's thumb has twice the strength of the other fingers. When a toddler's thumb "pushes" against a trigger, invariably the barrel of the gun is pointing directly at the child's face. NEVER leave a firearm lying around the house.
Child safety precautions still apply even if you have no children or if your children have grown to adulthood and left home. A nephew, niece, neighbor's child or a grandchild may come to visit. Practice gun safety at all times.
To prevent injury or death caused by improper storage of guns in a home where children are likely to be present, you should store all guns unloaded, lock them with a firearms safety device and store them in a locked container. Ammunition should be stored in a location separate from the gun.
Talking to Children About Guns
Children are naturally curious about things they don't know about or think are "forbidden." When a child asks questions or begins to act out "gun play," you may want to address his or her curiosity by answering the questions as honestly and openly as possible. This will remove the mystery and reduce the natural curiosity. Also, it is important to remember to talk to children in a manner they can relate to and understand. This is very important, especially when teaching children about the difference between "real" and "make-believe." Let children know that, even though they may look the same, real guns are very different than toy guns. A real gun will hurt or kill someone who is shot.
Instill a Mind Set of Safety and Responsibility
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that adolescence is a highly vulnerable stage in life for teenagers struggling to develop traits of identity, independence and autonomy. Children, of course, are both naturally curious and innocently unaware of many dangers around them. Thus, adolescents as well as children may not be sufficiently safeguarded by cautionary words, however frequent. Contrary actions can completely undermine good advice. A "Do as I say and not as I do" approach to gun safety is both irresponsible and dangerous.
Remember that actions speak louder than words. Children learn most by observing the adults around them. By practicing safe conduct you will also be teaching safe conduct.