Hunting is an activity which has millions of devotees all over the world. Hunting in Greece is only permitted with a shotgun designed to hold no more than 3 shells. But how safe are these guns for their owners and everybody around them? First of all, a basic rule should not be forgotten:

NO GUN IS DANGEROUS. IT IS ONLY THE PERSON USING IT THAT IS DANGEROUS. (Guns are only as dangerous as the people using them)

Based on that rule, the following is simple advice which should become a way of life for anyone carrying a gun.

  • The gun barrel should ALWAYS be pointed in a safe direction.
  • Your finger should not be anywhere near the trigger until the moment the gun is to be fired.
  • Never load a gun before it is to be used.
  • Never shoot unless you have identified your exact target.
  • Never shoot unless you know exactly what lies behind the target.
  • Never touch a gun if you are not sure that it is in perfect working order.
  • The first thing to be learnt about a gun is how to secure it.
  • Only use ammunition recommended by the gun manufacturer.
  • Do not consume alcohol before using a gun.
  • Do not shoot parallel to the ground unless you are in an open space.
  • Always hang the gun on your shoulder when following a fellow hunter.
  • Completely empty the gun and open the shutter or(break) the shotgun when in the vicinity of other people (as a mark of respect).
  • Always empty the gun of ammunition when resting in the countryside.
  • Do not leave the gun leaning upright against trees, rocks or cars.
  • Do not allow other people to touch your gun unless we are certain that they are well acquainted with it.
  • Never fool around with a gun and never aim at a person.
  • When not hunting, always keep the shutter open, or the gun “broken”
  • Always carry the gun as if it were loaded, even if you know it is empty.
  • Never leave the gun within reach of children.
  • Never store a gun in the same place as its shells.
  • If there are children in the house, it is wise to remove the forestock from the shotgun or the screw from the forestock with “rifles” and hide them in a different place from the gun.
  • Avoid “one-piece” gun racks when storing guns at home.
  • Before loading a gun, check the barrel interior. Small pieces of cloth, leaves, a little dirt or snow are enough to obstruct shells exiting the barrel, resulting in damage to the barrel and series injury to the person holding the gun or those near him.
  • Never forget that if your gun is stolen, you are also responsible for any criminal activity carried out with that gun.
  • If you gun is stolen, you could be prosecuted for negligent storage.

A hunting gun is a “tool” which should always be in excellent condition so that it does not let you down when you need it. It should be inspected by a gun maker every year to ensure its in good condition. A gun should be cleaned after every hunting expedition, particularly if a lot of shells have been fired, or if it was exposed to rain or snow. All metallic surfaces should be covered in a thin film of special gun oil and the barrels kept clean. Never store guns in damp places, avoid gun cases (οπλοθήκες) made of material because they retain moisture and guns should never be put away damp.