Advice For First-Time Shoppers: What You Shouldn’t Do in a Gun Store

Walking into a gun store for the first time can be overwhelming. It’s pretty much like entering a candy store, but with firearms and ammo instead of chocolates and lollipops. In short, the first visit to a gun store is always an exciting experience, but keep in mind that there are both spoken and unspoken rules that you need to follow while on the premises.

To keep the environment safe and comfortable for everyone, here are the things that you should never do in a gun store:

1. Flagging

The first and most important rule of gun safety is to never point a gun at something that you don’t intend to shoot. This applies in a gun store and anywhere else. Be mindful of where you point the gun you’re trying out; no one wants to have the muzzle of a firearm pointed at them, even if it’s unloaded.

2. Being a hero

In an unlikely scenario that you are in a gun store and a robbery takes place, do not attempt to fight the robber. Yes, there are a lot of weapons around you that you can use to be the hero of the day, but you may inadvertently escalate the situation and get someone hurt. Gun stores have property insurance programs anyway, so you have no reason to fight off a robbery in case it does happen while you’re on the premises.

3. Requesting to look at multiple guns

It’s your first time in a gun store and you’re excited, that’s understandable. You want to look and touch multiple firearms and lay them out on the counter for comparison. However, it’s more respectful if you look at one gun at a time and only request to look at more than one if you are forming your final decision on which to choose.

4. Opening sealed ammo boxes

The type of ammo that is written on the box is what’s inside it. There is no reason to open ammo boxes that are taped or sealed shut, unless you have already purchased them. If you want to see the actual ammo before purchasing, ask the store if they have a sample or they can let you look inside.

5. Neglecting to check the safety

Doing a safety check before picking up any firearm should be mandatory everywhere, not just in a gun store. Even if the employee tells you that the gun is clear (and you watched them unload it right in front of you), always check the safety. It only takes less than five seconds.

6. Trying the gun without asking

After the employee has handed you the gun for a closer look, obtain permission before squeezing, pulling, or slamming the different parts of the gun. Gun stores understand that you want to make sure you’re getting the bang for your buck, and that entails trying out the various components of the firearm. Still, you should ask before doing so since you don’t own the gun yet.

7. Intercepting a trade

If another customer is trying to trade a used firearm at the store, do not try to wiggle yourself into the conversation. It is only socially acceptable to make an offer to the customer after they can’t close the deal with the store and walk out.

8. Lowballing

There are appropriate situations to lowball, but when you’re trying to buy a firearm is not one of them. Haggling is acceptable to a certain extent. You can ask for a reasonable discount based on the prices you’ve seen online. Alternatively, you can ask the store to include a free box of ammo or gun cleaning supplies with your purchase.

9. Forgetting your documents

Before you make your way to the gun store, be sure that your documents are complete. Check with local laws and regulations to find out what documentation you need. If you are not sure, ask another gun owner or try to find answers on an online gun forum based in your state.

10. Try to buy a firearm when you know you can’t

If you are legally not allowed to buy a firearm for whatever reason, don’t even try. You will only be wasting your time and the gun store’s if you decide to “test the waters”. The store will know if you are cannot legally own a firearm.

When going to a gun store (or any other establishment, for that matter), be polite and respectful of everyone. If you aren’t sure if it’s acceptable to do something, it’s better to ask an employee instead or just refrain from doing it. A gun store is a perfect place to learn more about guns, so help maintain a peaceful and professional environment by following both the spoken and unspoken rules.

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