Due to the near infinite types of weapons now available, both historic and modern, there is no way to cover all the details of every firearm. Instead, this is meant as more of a guide to help understand a few basic concepts in dealing with firearms. You are ultimately responsible for your own actions, so by taking some steps to make sure everyone is safe, you ensure that everyone has an enjoyable experience, and most importantly stays unharmed.
With deer season fast approaching in my home state, I thought I would take a bit of time to document a few ways to help stay safe while dealing with firearms. This is by no means a complete list of things you should know, so take the time to get to know as many details as possible in regards to the operation of any firearm you are going to use. Firearms are to be treated with respect, but don't need to be feared to the point of total avoidance. If you are looking to own your first, have someone train you on how to handle it before you purchase it.
One final thing before I get started- Instructables member NachoMahma has pointed out an excellent instructable by Skunkbait which is much along the same lines as this instructable. I'm not sure how I missed it before starting my own instructable, but it's nice to see we have a lot of the same information, and each has a few things the other doesn't mention. If you are interested in learning more, I suggest you read both. Skunkbait also has an instructable dedicated entirely to the storage of firearms and goes much more in-depth on that section.
Step 1: Some Perspective on Firearms
Firearms are largely responsible for the formation and sustained independence of the United States, where I am a citizen. After the first amendment and the five freedoms it guarantees, I feel that the second amendment may be the next most important freedom we are guaranteed. Owning and operation of firearms is a big responsibility, and requires constant vigilance in order to ensure the safety of yourself and others around you. If you are not willing to take the steps required to do this, you should reconsider owning a firearm.