Part of being a responsible gun owner is properly securing your firearm at all times. When you purchase your first firearm, you should be researching the training classes that you want to take on how to safely and proficiently use it, and you must also plan for how you are going to secure it.
Storing your firearms is such a key component of safe, responsible gun ownership that A Girl & A Gun considers it a bonus Rule to the 4 Rules of Gun Safety. The Rules must be followed 100% of the time so that accidents can be minimized. Being a gun owner means that you have made a commitment to knowing these Rules and living them.
Storing Your Firearms
Firearms must always be secured and properly stored when not in use. This means at home, in transit to and from the range, and while carrying concealed. There are only three places for your self-defense pistol.
The Youth Handgun Safety Act Notice sets a critical standard for homes, whether or not you have children in your life. This law states:
ATF I 5300.2 — Youth Handgun Safety Act Notice
Federal law prohibits, except in certain limited circumstances, anyone under 18 years of age from knowingly possessing a handgun, or any person from selling, delivering, or otherwise transferring a handgun to a person under 18. A knowing violation of the prohibition against selling, delivering, or otherwise transferring a handgun to a person under the age of 18 is, under certain circumstances, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Document Number: 5300.2
You are required to prevent unauthorized persons, especially children, from being able to access your firearms. The bonus Rule means that you store your guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons, which includes friends, children, welcomed guests, or unwelcome visitors, such as criminals. Firearms must be stored unloaded and separately from ammunition with both under lock and key. Cable locks are affordable, effective, and free from ProjectChildsafe.org.
Your intended use of the firearm can determine how and where you choose to store it.
Storing Hunting, Sporting, or Range Firearms
Firearms for recreation, hunting, and competitive shooting can be stored unloaded in a locked case or safe with ammunition stored and locked separately. Many people choose to invest in a lockable cabinet gun safe, which comes in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Based on the size of your firearm, the size of your firearm collection, and your budget, a retail professional can assist you in making the right choice for your home. At a very minimum a cable lock can be used and the locked firearm then stored in a lockable container out of sight and out of mind, with ammo also stored in a separate and locked container.
Storing Personal or Home Defense Firearms
Defensive firearms require an intensive look at your personal home safety habits and storage options. If you are storing a firearm for the potential on-demand need for self-defense, it is possible that you may wish to store the firearm loaded. If that is the case, the security of that firearm is paramount.
Your state and county laws, your home safety plan, and your personal level of training and preparedness will all influence what you choose for storage. These factors can be discussed with a retail professional to identify your storage preferences. From simple key-entry lock boxes to biometric gun safes, you have a wide variety of options, so that your defensive firearm is stored separately from other firearms and with careful consideration of your personal circumstances and laws of your area. Take great care in researching your options and make your investments wisely – your safety is worth it!
Here are additional guidelines for safely storing your firearms:
- NEVER store a loaded handgun outside of a holster.
- NEVER store a loaded handgun in the open EVEN IF IT IS HOLSTERED.
- ALWAYS secure a home defense firearm in a locked storage area/device that only you and authorized persons of your household are able to access.
- Consider the placement of your home defense storage safe and how quickly you can access it.
- Consider your personal training and your abilities with your gun.
- Consider the preparedness of your household and all of its members. Is it time to take a class?