Firearms ownership and use is an amazingly fun and enjoyable hobby. However, safe firearms handling is always necessary. People not accustomed to handling firearms sometimes see this as overbearing or redundant, but it is neither. “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded,” is something you should never assume.
You can never be “too safe.” Accidents are unforgiving and you can never take back an accidental discharge. Additionally, some people feel it’s macho or manly to give someone a “big gun” just to see what happens. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s stupid. Plain and simple. At best, you’ll scare someone. You may even prevent them from pursuing the enjoyment of sport shooting. At worst, you’ll create a situation ripe for accident. So don’t be stupid.
Below is a link to the NRA’s rules of firearm safety. In general, I follow a rule of always double checking any firearm as soon as I pick it up; I never assume it is unloaded even if it’s at a store, gun show, or I’m certain I put it away unloaded. Also, I don’t point a firearm at anything that would be catastrophic to shoot. That means ALWAYS being aware of where the muzzle of the firearm is pointing at all times. Finally, I don’t put my finger on the trigger until ready to pull.
Have fun, be safe, and do your part to proliferate the image of a responsible, mature firearm owner. Doing otherwise is a disservice to the sport and gives others reason to question private gun ownership.