Storing Firearms Safely In Your Home

Storing Firearms Safely In Your Home

As more than a third of American homes have guns in them, education about responsibly owning firearms can be considered a public safety issue. Learning the correct ways to handle and store firearms can protect vulnerable populations, like children, teenagers and pets, from unnecessary accidents and injuries. While local and state laws can vary, good home storage techniques all seek to keep firearms and ammunition safely away from those who don't own guns or have adequate training to handle them. Investing in secure lock boxes and storing ammunition and firearms away from each other can be a great start toward good storage techniques. When disposing of guns or ammunition, consider finding community or law enforcement programs that can help remove firearms from your house quickly and effectively.

General Firearm Safety

As a firearm owner, you should always read the manual of your gun to learn about manufacturer-suggested techniques for cleaning, storage, and use. When handling a gun, treat it as if it were loaded with ammunition even if you're sure that it's not. Practice safe cleaning habits. Since about 70 percent of unintentional gun injuries are self-inflicted, familiarizing yourself with proper cleaning techniques can spare you from accidents. Consult with a trained professional and watch a demonstration before attempting to clean your own gun. Keeping toxic gun cleaning supplies in hidden and inaccessible places can protect pets, as they won't be tempted to consume them if they can't smell or reach these products.

Protecting Children and Teens

Simply storing firearms in high, inaccessible, or hidden locations will not adequately protect children and teens from the dangers of guns. Adopting strict security and iron-clad storage measures, though, can keep guns away from vulnerable populations. Talking to young children about the differences between real and toy guns and offering advice about acceptable behavior around each can guard against mishandling and accidents. Studies have shown that gun-owning parents of teenagers are less likely to follow safe storage and security protocols; however, statistics prove that teenagers who live in homes with guns have higher risk factors for gun-related injuries and suicide. For this reason, parents with guns should invest in the highest-level security for their firearms, regardless of their children's ages or perceived maturity.

Security and Storage of Firearms

Proper security and storage are incredibly important parts of responsible gun ownership. Devices like trigger, personalized, and cable locks placed on an individual firearm can stop anyone except its owner from operating it. Besides being a good way to protect those in a home from improper use of firearms, these types of locks can also support the health of the community, as they can deter thieves from using stolen guns in crimes. A lock box can house a single small gun, while gun vaults or safes can provide adequate storage for guns with long barrels. New, modern storage vaults may came with high-tech features like fingerprint or palm scanning so that access can only be granted to a particular individual. Some cities and states may have specific laws in place governing firearm storage procedures. It can be best to inquire about these laws to ensure that any security and storage practices you adopt are safe and legal.

Storing Ammunition

When storing ammunition, be sure to keep the shells in their original containers, and make sure that their labels can be clearly read. To maximize safety, store unloaded firearms and their corresponding ammunition in separate, locked containers. Place ammunition in a cool and dry area; avoid placing the ammunition in an area with high temperatures or liquids, including water or chemicals. It can also be a good idea to keep any keys associated with storage boxes and vaults separate from your collection of house keys.

Disposing of Unwanted Firearms and Ammunition

Should you ever want to dispose of your guns or ammunition, police stations may be able to help relieve you of your firearms and associated components. Some cities may offer incentive programs to aid in the proper disposal of guns and ammunition. For example, community groups may run events in which gun owners can trade in their guns for gift cards. If you're interested in taking advantage of any programs like this, be sure to check with community leaders or local law enforcement.