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News | April 17, 2013

HANDLE WITH CARE

By Airman Ty-Rico Lea JBER Public Affairs

With recent gun activity incidents involving two Air Force service members, both resulting in weapon discharges inside homes off-base and on-base, JBER leadership would like to make gun owners aware that firearm safety is no laughing matter.

People purchase guns every day, be it from those wanting for the use of protection to those buying for the purpose of big-game hunting.

However, gun accidents do happen and guns can cause serious harm or even death if not handled properly.

"Weapon safety is very important because any irresponsible gun owner could potentially take another individual's life without even knowing it," said Tech. Sgt. Nickolas Cordatos, a 673d Security Forces Squadron patrolman. "You could point your weapon in the wrong direction and the next thing you know you'd end up shooting somebody."

Gun safety is a collection of rules and recommendations that can be applied when possessing, storing or handling firearms. The purpose of gun safety is to eliminate or minimize the risks of unintentional death, injury or damage caused by improper possession, storage or handling of firearms.

"Here at the 673d SFS, we practice exactly what the instructors at Combat Arms Training and Maintenance declare as the safest," Cordatos said.

Security forces and JBER leaders implore those new to owning a firearm to seek out gun safety training to instill a certain mindset and appropriate habits by following specific rules.

The mindset is firearms are inherently dangerous and must always be stored and handled with care.

Handlers are taught to treat firearms with respect for their destructive capabilities, and strongly discouraged from playing or toying with firearms, a common cause of accidents.
"I have responded to situations where a weapon was misfired, thank God no one was hurt," Cordatos said.

Owners can take measures such as placing cable locks on their firearms to prevent any type of misfire from occurring. Owners can also research JBER Weapons Registration and Child Weapons Safety Program which provides guidance for storing and transporting privately owned weapons.

Weapons should also be secured in a carrying case, holster or suitable container.
Firearms must be transported unloaded with the ammunition separated from the weapon. JBER officials have also prohibited keeping weapons in the dormitories and barracks. Also, all base housing residents must register their privately-owned firearms with their units, who in turn will pass the information on to base police. When contacted by base police for a traffic stop or random vehicle inspection, gun owners should advise them they have a firearm and disclose its location. Do not attempt to reach for it or hand it to them unless asked to do so.

Though firearms and their ammunition are made to exacting specifications and tolerances, malfunctions of firearms and ammunition do happen.

Personnel living on JBER and anyone bringing weapons onto the base must register their weapons with base police. For more information or clarification, contact the Law Enforcement desk at 552-3421.