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Firearm Safety a Must for Hunters

Nov 1, 2010 | Home & Community Safety, News, Older

The days of storing grandpa’s old rifle in the attic or between the floor joists are long gone. Rifles and shotguns used for hunting, and any other firearms, should be kept in a securely locked steel cabinet, safe, or vault when not in use.

Hunting is an important activity in Canada’s rural and native communities. Rates of gun ownership are high and firearms are used regularly. For households in those areas, safe storage is particularly important.

While most rural firearms owners are very concerned with safety, more firearms deaths and injuries occur in rural settings. Lucie Thibodeau, president of the Quebec Public Health Association, says that in her province, the rates of gun-related death in rural areas are much higher than in cities. “Firearms are more easily available (in rural areas),” she says.

If you have firearms in your home, the best way to protect your family and visitors is to keep them stored safely,” says Canada Safety Council president Jack Smith. “That means unloaded and securely locked up.”

Dr. Carolyn Snider, an emergency and trauma physician and researcher at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, reinforces this message. “Ensuring children do not have access to guns is imperative,” she says.

According to Statistics Canada, firearms took the lives of 774 Canadians in 2006. This is why safe storage is so important. Keeping firearms unloaded and securely locked up when they are not in use will significantly reduce the possibility of tragic consequences.

For safe transportation of firearms, the Canada Safety Council offers these safety tips:

  • Unload your guns when you leave the field or the forest, and place a trigger lock on the unloaded weapon before bringing it home after a hunt. Muzzleloaders can be kept loaded when being transported between hunting sites but the firing cap or flint must be removed.
  • Lock all guns in a sturdy container that doesn’t let anyone see what is inside. If you must leave your vehicle unattended while there are guns in it, lock them up in the trunk or in a similar lockable compartment. If the vehicle has no trunk or lockable compartment, put the firearms (in their containers) out of sight inside the vehicle and lock it up.

The Canada Safety Council would like to remind Canadians about the need to store their firearms safely. It has published a safety poster and pamphlet with common sense safety tips that could save a life or prevent a serious injury. You can order the poster and/or pamphlet by calling 613-739-1535, extension 221 or view them online at If you have firearms in your home, or if your family members visit the homes of friends who do, make sure safe storage practices are in place.

For more information, please contact:
Valerie Powell
Communications and Media Program Coordinator
Canada Safety Council
(613) 739-1535 (ext. 228)

Emile Therien
Past President
Canada Safety Council
(613) 737-4965

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