SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- On the eve of hunting season, firearm safety is being pushed to the forefront once again.
The importance of gun safety is even more pronounced this season after an accidental shooting in Fayetteville Thursday night. Fayetteville police said an Oklahoma man was moving a loaded gun from the front seat of his car to the back seat when it accidentally went off. The man lost three of his fingers and is still recovering in a hospital. Gun experts added that it could have been prevented easily.
"I know three people that have shot themselves in the palm by doing that. Just push it and when you squeeze one hand, you squeeze the other hand," said Steve Sturm, the manager of Sturm's Indoor Gun Range in Springdale.
Steve Sturm has been selling firearms for a decade, and he's been teaching his customers how to handle those guns carefully just as long.
"What I try to tell everybody is turn it over like so. That way, you know where the muzzle's pointed, and you can keep your finger off the trigger," Sturm said.
He said some people are too nonchalant when they're heading out to hunt. They handle loaded guns like harmless toys. Sturm said he gets his message across with a slightly less intimidating device: an armed mouse trap.
"I'll say, 'Would you walk around like this with it?' They say, 'No, I wouldn't do that.' Some people won't even take it from me, but they'll take a firearm and pass it around, play with it," Sturm said.
Sturm said it's that lax mentality that everyone needs to get rid of.
"People just get complacent and don't believe it's going to go off or don't think it's gonna happen to them until it does," Sturm said.
Gun experts recommend that everyone who plans on going hunting this season practices muzzle control. Simply put, never point the barrel of a gun in the direction of anyone else, regardless of whether you think it's loaded or not. They add that you should avoid touching the trigger at all times until you're ready to fire the gun. They also recommend keeping your firearm unloaded until you're ready to hunt.