Gun Storage and Safety
Restricting Gun Access
Gun storage is an extremely important part of being a responsible gun owner. Not only will proper storage extend the life of the firearm, but it also keeps others safe. First, let's take a look at who is not allowed to possess or handle a gun.
Classifying Unauthorized People:
Federal law states that the following people are barred from purchasing firearms:
- Has been convicted of, or is under indictment for, a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;
- Is a fugitive from justice;
- Is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance;
- Though certain states have legalized the use of medical and recreational marijuana, it remains illegal under federal law. Therefore, ATF considers people who use marijuana legally under state law unlawful users of a controlled substance.
- Is underage;
- Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution;
- Is unlawfully in the United States or has been admitted to the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa;
- Has been dishonorably discharged from the military;
- Has renounced his or her U.S. citizenship;
- Is subject to a court order restraining him or her from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner, his or her child or a child of a partner, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; or
- Has been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence.
Each state has its own rules and regulations that go along with the Federal law, so it’s a good idea to read about gun laws specific to where you live. The individual state law will vary, but federal law restricts anyone under 18 from possessing a handgun or handgun ammo (but no restrictions on long gun and long gun ammo). On a federal level, those age restrictions are lifted for target practice, hunting, and employment. Keep your gun high enough so a child can’t reach it, locked so there won’t be any “friendly fire” accidents, and in a place where unauthorized people won’t easily find it.
Gun Storage 101:
Now that we’ve established who shouldn’t handle your firearm, we will look at some options for keeping it safely stored. The storage will depend on if you have unauthorized people in your household, how often you use your gun, the sizes and numbers of your weapons, and many other factors.
Gun Storage: Safes
Safes are the best place for your unused gun, and there are thousands of options out there. Hidden safes, biometric safes, safes guarded by laser sharks (ok, I made that one up)- you name it, they make it. If you just need something to keep your guns away from kids, then a small, inexpensive safe that has a lock and key will probably do the trick. If you want something that will withstand a thief trying to crack the code, then do some research on combination dial safes. Or if you feel like someone is going to get crazy and tear up your safe to get into it, research the thickness of the steel walls and the size of the bolts that are used.
Of course, none of that matters if a robber is strong enough to pick it up and carry it away, then you’ll need to bolt it to the floor!
Gun Storage: Cases
Gun cases can be locked, which can be an inexpensive way to keep guns away from others. A secured gun case and a trigger lock is a great start to safely storing a firearm.
Gun Storage: Trigger Locks and Cable Locks
Trigger locks are like a padlock for the gun, it goes around the trigger and prevents it from being pulled. Many firearms are sold with trigger locks included, so it is an inexpensive safety measure. A cable lock is a sturdy cable that loops through the chamber and has a small padlock to keep it in place. Storing a gun this way means the gun is unloaded and unable to be loaded until the cable is removed. There are many options when choosing a gun lock, here is an article reviewing some of the best.
Note: This method will not keep unauthorized people from accessing your weapon, and should be combined with other secure storage.
Storing Ammunition and Guns:
Some states (such as Massachusetts, New York, and California) require guns and ammo to be stored separately in the home. This means that the gun must be locked in a tamper-resistant container by itself with ammo in its own place. To keep ammo in the best condition, store in a low-humidity area in an air-tight container. It is a widely held opinion that storing guns and ammo apart reduces theft. Don't give a thief access to your ammo AND your guns.
Open Communication with Kids:
If you live in a house with children, they probably know that you have a firearm. If they feel like it's a game of ‘hide and seek’ to find it, they will. It's not a game- Demystify firearms and be honest about what the rules around guns are, how they function, and the reality of violence. When a child is mature and old enough to learn, teach them how to safely handle a firearm. Check out our other post on Gun Safety for Kids.
According to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), a child as young as 3 years old can be strong enough to pull the trigger of a gun. So it is vitally important to practice gun safety and education when kids are young. The NRA gives parents a way to help kids remember gun safety procedures by using repetition and easy to remember messages. One example is for when a child accidentally finds a gun: “Stop! Don’t Touch! Leave the Area, Tell an Adult!”. This is something all kids should know, not just kids who have guns stored in their homes.
An important part of gun safety is proper storage. Knowing and following local and federal guidelines is part of responsible gun ownership. Here at Cardini Leather Holsters, we take pride in providing excellent products that help you stay safe while on the move. Our post about Concealed Carry is a good read for when you are ready to leave your home with your weapon.