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Safety | Outdoors | February 17, 2017

The Basics of Gun Safety (and where to find a class near you)

Outdoors Safety Sporting & Outdoor Firearms Hunting Blue Collar

The right to own a firearm is a big part of the United States Constitution. But simply reciting the Second Amendment isn’t enough to ensure your safety or the safety of those around you. Everyone needs to understand gun and hunting safety.

Take an Online Course

There are courses you can take online in Oregon and Washington, but nothing beats face-to-face, hands-on training from a licensed and knowledgeable instructor. If you plan to take your child (under 17) hunting this year or next, both states require they pass a hunter safety course. Find a location near you, call ahead or register online with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife or Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. We’ve also put together a list of locations around both states where you and your child can take the course and register for a field day.

Until you find a class to fit your needs and your schedule, we’ve put together some gun safety basics to get you started.

Always Point Your Gun in a Safe Direction

Keep the muzzle (end of the barrel) pointed down at all time except when firing at the intended target. The rule is: Never point at anything you don’t intend to shoot. That means you never point a firearm at anyone or toward a street or home. This also means you take into account possible ricochets, the bullet’s trajectory over a long distance (a .22 can travel upwards of 1 ¼ miles and a 30.06 can go just over 3 miles), and the fact that the bullet can go though solid barriers.

Act as if All Firearms as Always Loaded

First, only load a firearm when you are in the field or target range and ready to shoot. When not in use, firearms should be emptied of all ammunition and safely secured. By treating all guns as if they are always loaded you can help avoid accidents.

Carry a Firearm Carefully

Never climb a tree or cross a fence while carrying a loaded firearm. Instead, hand your gun to your hunting partner and traverse the obstacle without the firearm in your hands. Want to be extra careful? Unload your gun before handing it to anyone.

Don’t Rely on the Gun’s Safety

A safety is a mechanical device that can malfunction. Yes, it’s a good idea to utilize the safety, but always treat your gun with respect and never point it at anyone. Even if the safety is on, a gun can still fire when jarred or if it falls to the ground.

Know Your Firearm and Use the Correct Ammunition

Let’s be honest, Americans don’t like to read instruction manuals. But when it comes to a gun, open that thing up and read it cover to cover. You’ll learn a lot, we promise. Plus, you’ll learn about the ammunition your firearm requires. Using incorrect ammunition can cause damage to you and your gun.

Misfires Happen

If you pull the trigger and nothing happens, stay calm. Sometimes a bullet is a dud or the cartridge fails to deliver the ammunition to the chamber. As you troubleshoot the issue, remember to treat the gun as if it’s loaded, even if you remove the clip or other ammunition. The misfired bullet could still be in the gun, ready to go.

Keep Your Guns Clean

When you read the instruction manual, you’ll quickly learn how to safely disassemble, clean and reassemble your gun.

Coastal Knows Firearms

You’ll find pistols, rifles, targets, gun cleaning kits, accessories, ammunition, and experts who understand every aspect of gun safety and hunting at your nearby Coastal Farm & Ranch. Stop by today, ask a few questions, and see what we have in stock.

Coastal Extra: Find a Hunter Safety Course Near You

People who teach hunter safety are eager to share what they know and look forward to training the next generation of hunters and gun enthusiasts. Register online in Oregon or Washington. Or simply call ahead and ask about other upcoming classes.

Your Area Class Info


Albany Starker Forests Offices
7240 SW Philomath Blvd in Corvallis
Contact: 541-929-2477
Upcoming Classes: May 2, 4, 9, 11, 16

Albany Rifle and Pistol Club
29999 Saddle Butte Road in Shedd
Contact: 541-491-3755
Upcoming Class: May 13


Auburn Paul Bunyan Rifle & Sportsman Club
17902 Meridian Ave E., in South Hill
Contact: 253-847-7893
Upcoming Classes: March 6


Cornelius Hillsboro Trap and Skeet
33295 Northwest Wren Road in Hillsboro
Contact: 503-648-2972
Upcoming Class: March 11

Fire District #13
300 S. Main St in Banks
Contact: 503-324-6262
Upcoming Classes: February 28, March 2, 7, 14, 16, 21, 23


Eugene New Hope Baptist Church
597 South Front St. in Creswell
Contact: 541-895-4436
Upcoming Class: March 11

Cottage Grove-Eugene Sportsman Club
81078 N. Pacific Highway in Creswell
Contact: 541-942-2021
Upcoming Class: March 18


Gresham Keith’s Sporting Goods
1595 E. Powell Blvd. in Gresham
Contact: 503-492-6999
Upcoming Classes: Call ahead

Klamath Falls:

Klamath Falls/Medford Klamath Community College
7390 South 6th Street in Klamath Falls
Contact: 541-882-3521
Upcoming Classes: March 6, 9, 13, 16, 19

Klamath Sportsman’s Park
22811 Hwy. 66 in Keno
Contact: 541-887-0164
Upcoming Class: March 19

Mt. Vernon:

Mt. Vernon Wallace River Fish Hatchery
14418 383rd Ave. SE. in Sultan
Contact: 360-793-1382
Upcoming Class: Call ahead

Oregon City:

Oregon City Beavercreek Grange Hall
22041 S Kamrath Road in Beavercreek
Contact: 503-329-3048
Upcoming Classes: March 28, 29, 31, April 4, 5, 6, 22


Redmond Obsidian Middle School
1335 SW Obsidian Ave. in Redmond
Contact: 541-923-4900
Upcoming Classes: March 7, 9, 14, 16, 21

Redmond Rod & Gun Club
2555 E. Highway 126 in Redmond
Contact: 541-548-8971
Upcoming Class: March 18


Roseburg Glide Baptist Church:
357 Glide Loop Dr. in Glide
Contact: 541-496-3526
Upcoming Classes: July 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

The Dalles:

The Dalles Columbia Gorge Community College
401 East Scenic Drive in The Dalles
Contact: 541-506-6000
Upcoming Classes: April 14, 21, 28, May 5, 12

Mid-Columbia Senior Center
1112 West 9th Street in The Dalles
Contact: 541-296-4788
Upcoming Class: May 19


Wenatchee Dryden Gun Club
Saunders Rd. in Dryden
Contact: 509-782-2105
Upcoming 6-Day Course: Call ahead


Woodburn Four Corners Rod and Gun Club
7695 Babcock Street SE in Salem
Contact: 503-581-5214
Upcoming Classes: May 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25


Yakima Royal High School
955 Ahlers Rd in Royal City
Contact: 509-346-2256
Upcoming Classes: Call ahead
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