What choices can you make for safe storage as a responsible gun owner? Every year, thousands of firearms are stolen from a variety of places. One of the primary risks of unsecured firearms is that they might fall into the hands of unauthorized users, including criminals, children or others who may be unaware of the potential danger of handling a firearm without proper training.
All responsible firearm owners have a legal and ethical responsibility to maintain safe storage of their firearms and ammunition.
We are frequently told that our firearms are an extension of us, and that we are responsible for every round that leaves our firearms. We must ensure our firearms are always securely stored when not in use. Safe storage practices help deter gun theft and unintentional gun-related injuries and deaths.
It is imperative that our firearms be properly stored when not in our possession. Firearms are stolen from individual owners every year. Firearms theft often leads to a variety of crimes in the US including felonies committed by criminals using firearms stolen via home and vehicle break-ins. Regardless of whether your firearm is in your home or in your vehicle, you have a responsibility to secure it against unauthorized access by untrained individuals or criminals.
Many of us leave our firearm on the nightstand after a day of securely carrying it. Many others keep a rifle in a nearby closet or under the bed for easy access in the event of an intruder. Those firearms that are easily accessible, many are loaded and ready to fire. We sometimes leave our firearms in our cars while we run into a “firearm prohibited business”, with the expectation that we will return quickly. For ladies who carry in a purse, do you keep your purse with you and in your possession at all times? Any of the scenarios above may lead to an unintentional breach of safety for us or our community. A stolen firearm in the hands of someone who may use it in the commission of a felony could be averted by simply securing the firearm properly.
There are numerous methods to secure your firearms. You must choose the method that best suits your situation and type or types of firearm.
In some cases, you may choose to use a combination of methods. Some of the options available to firearm owners include, but are not limited to, the following:
Unloaded Storage: You can store firearms unloaded to prevent accidental discharge in case an unauthorized user gains access to it.
Separate Ammunition from the firearm: Keep your ammunition locked in a separate room or safe to prevent easy access by those not authorized to access it.
Lock Box: A lock box is a small safe designed to store a firearm by locking it inside the box and accessing it via a combination, digital keypad, key or identified fingerprints.
Gun Safe or Vault: There are numerous gun safes and vaults with multiple price points for all sizes and types of firearms plus other valuables. A gun safe or vault is a secure storage option for preventing unauthorized access to its contents. You will want to research to determine which type of safe or vault will meet your firearm safe storage needs before making your purchase.
Cable Lock: A cable lock is an easy and inexpensive way to secure your firearms. This type of lock blocks the action of the firearm, preventing a round from being chambered and discharged. The cable lock is secured by a combination or key lock.
Trigger Lock: The trigger lock is another inexpensive safe storage method designed to prevent the firearm from being fired unintentionally. This type of lock is typically a two-piece lock that covers the trigger guard preventing the trigger from being pulled. The trigger lock is secured by a keypad, combination, or key lock.
When using locks and keys, be sure to keep the keys in a safe place inaccessible to unauthorized users. If it is a combination type, only share the code with those who are authorized to access the firearm.
Securing Firearms in Vehicles
When you travel, if possible and legal, bring your firearm with you. Never leave it unsecured in your vehicle. Always secure it, out of view, in a safe or with an effective locking device or security retention device. Some devices are tethered to the frame of the vehicle by a cable or are bolted to the floor or trunk. When securing your firearm in your vehicle, remain situationally aware of your surroundings. Be aware of anyone who may be watching you. Be careful not to affix firearm-related decals to your vehicle, criminals might assume that you are carrying a firearm or storing one in your vehicle making you an unintended target.
How can you help to protect yourself, your family, and your community from the possible danger created by stolen firearms?
Begin by securing every firearm you own and restricting access from children and people at increased risk of harming themselves or others. I recommend keeping a list of firearms you own. Include the dates of purchase, makes/models and all serial numbers. This information should be kept in a safe place for easy access should you ever need to report your firearms stolen. There are also phone apps for tracking this type of information.
Being a responsible firearm owner extends beyond the primary firearm safety rules, it also includes the safe storage of all firearms you own.
When firearms are improperly stored, the risk of theft, unintentional injuries, and deaths increases. A hidden firearm is not a safe storage method. Ultimately the responsibility is yours to store all firearms safely and securely.
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