You have a gun in your home to keep your family safe. But the presence of the gun itself could actually do the very opposite.
Every year, there are nearly 3,000 accidental deaths related to gun use in the United States and over 10,000 serious injuries. A large majority of these injuries and fatalities were sustained by individuals under the age of 25, and a large majority of these children, teens, and young adults were harmed by a gun that was from their own household.
If you have a gun of any kind in your home, it is essential that you keep them stored and protected properly in your home. As a gun owner, it is your responsibility to keep the weapon out of the hands of children and untrained users. How best to do this?
Read on, and we’ll walk you through our seven best tips for safe gun storage.
1. Utilize Trigger Locks
One great way of keeping a gun safe from unauthorized users is the trigger lock. These locks come in different forms, but all serve the same general purpose: to clamp down around an active part of a gun and prevent it from being able to be used.
Most guns sold today come with trigger locks included. Trigger shoes clamp down on the trigger itself and prevent it from activation. Cable locks block the action of a firearm from closing. It is used differently on different types of firearms, but all are used to prevent the actual firing of the weapon.
If you don’t have a trigger lock with your gun, you should invest in one. A solution in the meantime can be an ordinary household padlock, which you can simply slip behind the back of the trigger to prevent it from cycling. When installing any sort of lock to a firearm, it is important that you make sure the gun is not loaded. It is very easy to accidentally trigger a gun while applying a lock.
2. Buy A Gun Case
If you don’t have one already, you should definitely consider purchasing a case for your household gun.
Cases are available at any local sporting goods store and come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and material options. Case options range from padded fabric sleeves to rugged foam-lined containers.
Most cases can be easily locked for firearm safety and transportation. A padlock can be easily used on any available gun case, but many cases nowadays come with built-in locks. While they’re perfect for travel, they’re also essential in keeping guns away from children in your home. Kids can’t play with what they can’t see and touch, and a case is much better than throwing a gun in a closet somewhere.
3. Gun Safes
The most secure place to leave your household gun is in a steel safe. A basic, no-frills safe is superior to any other storage in preventing unauthorized access to firearms. The dedicated racks and lined interiors help to keep your gun looking brand new and, most importantly, safes are an effective deterrent against curious children. They also work, of course, against burglars and thieves.
Many are worried about getting a safe for their gun. Safes, by design, can take some effort to get into, and many gun owners are worried they won’t be able to reach their firearm when an emergency hits. That’s why it’s best to go for a biometric safe as opposed to one with a combination lock, for easy access.
4. Set Some House Rules
It is essential that all adults in your household come together and decide on safety rules for the house as it pertains to your firearms. Methods may vary depending on your preference, but a strict set of rules can ensure that no unexpected accidents occur.
Suggestions for house rules can include keeping guns in the house locked up at all times and keeping guns unloaded when not in use. Other rules could be keeping ammunition in a separate location, or ensuring that only adults know the location of the firearm. Whatever the rule is, it essential that adults in the household are on the same page. You can read more about setting house rules in this article.
5. Teach Your Children
Curiosity about firearms is natural, especially if you’re keeping one inside of your home. Keeping your child in the dark about your firearm is likely only to provoke more curiosity, which can lead to an accident one day down the line.
Have an open and honest conversation with your child about firearms and why you have chosen to have one in the house when other households might not. Teach them the importance of firearm safety and have serious, mature conversations about the responsibility that holding a life-ending device creates.
6. Keep An Extra Eye On Children
We all love our children, but we also tend to underestimate them. A recent study found that adults underestimated what their children knew about their household firearms. 30% of adults were incorrect in assuming that their children did not know where guns were stored in their home.
Many teens have admitted to playing with household firearms without telling their parents. Any instance where this occurs without intense supervision is a tragedy waiting to happen. Though we all love and trust our kids, we each remember what it is like to be a teenager and to skirt the truth around parents.
Trust and have honest conversations with your children, but don’t hesitate to take extra precautions in case they try to slide around your rules.
7. Don’t Leave Guns Out
Some families run the bad habit of returning from a hunting trip or excursion and leaving their guns laying out around the house. This is a bad and potentially destructive habit that should be curbed.
When returning home with a gun, your family should make an effort to immediately unload and return firearms to storage. A gun laying around the house increases the risk of exposure and accident by an unprecedented amount. Putting it away is the only way to ensure a safe and secure home.
Your Family Needs Safe Gun Storage
There are far too many gun-related accidents occurring in American homes each year.
Each family that owns firearms needs to take the proper steps for safe gun storage and use. By employing some of the safety advice above, we can create safer homes for America’s families.
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