Firearms in the Home: A Safety and Storage Guide

The privilege of gun ownership can bring you the personal gratification of improving your marksmanship, a feeling of personal security, or the satisfaction of owning a fine collection of firearms. The cost of these advantages is the responsibility of handling and storing guns safely. Keeping firearms unloaded and stored in a locked safe is the best way to keep them out of the hands of children and to prevent accidents in the home. It's important to keep guns away from anyone who can't handle them safely. Staying up to date on the various ways to secure your guns is the best way to keep yourself and your family safe. When considering gun safety, don't neglect the careful storage of ammunition. Observing good safety practices will make sure ammunition is only available to those who should be using it. Finally, when you need to dispose of firearms or ammunition, look for community programs designed to handle them safely.

General Firearm Safety

For many, firearms are intended to safeguard the home and family. Part of that promise of safety is making sure no accidental injuries occur. Most accidental firearm injuries in the home are caused by improper handling or carelessness. Stay vigilant and don't become complacent when handling guns. Always handle every firearm as if it is loaded, and never point a firearm at a person, pet, or anything else you're not willing to destroy. Remember to perform regular gun maintenance and cleaning safely. Ask a professional gunsmith or take a course to learn the proper way to clean your guns. Remember that gun cleaning solutions and oils can be toxic, so keep them away from children and pets.

Protecting Children and Teens

Gun owners with children in their lives must take extra precautions to protect everyone involved. It's important to engage children in gun safety from a young age. Young kids should know that guns are not toys and are never to be touched. Older teenagers must complete a gun safety course prior to any hunting or target shooting activities. With all young people, an open dialog about guns, their uses, and safe handling procedures is crucial. Studies have shown that easy access to firearms is a risk factor for suicide. Gun owners and household members alike benefit from unloaded firearms stored in locked storage.

Storage of Firearms

Simply locking guns in a closet is not sufficient to keep everyone in your home safe. The consequences of improper firearm use are simply too severe to trust a simple door lock. Part of gun safety is making sure they stay out of the hands of criminals, as stolen guns are often used in robberies and homicides. Fortunately, a whole host of solutions are available. Proper gun safes prevent access to your collection with strong locks and thick walls. Trigger locks keep anyone who doesn't have the key from firing a gun, even if they do manage to get access to it. Lockboxes can be used for handguns, but make sure the box is secure and can't be easily removed from your home. High-tech solutions may also be appropriate since they can key into your fingerprint or palm print and remove the need to have the key with you.

Storage of Ammunition

When thinking about gun storage safety, don't overlook the safe handling of ammunition. The most secure solution is to keep ammunition stored in a locked container, separate from your guns. That way, if a criminal does manage to breach your gun safe, they won't also have easy access to ammunition. It also prevents curious kids from picking up and using a firearm if someone should forget to lock the gun safe. All ammunition needs to be kept cool and dry, to prevent fouling. You should always know the age and condition of your ammunition supply as well, so keep records of the ammo you use or retain the original packaging.

Disposing of Firearms and Ammunition

If you have older firearms that can't be repaired or ammunition that has become fouled, it's important to dispose of them properly. Many cities have firearms take-back programs, which may be operated by local police or by community groups. Check the rules in your local area, because there may be a financial incentive to dispose of guns and ammo properly. Some programs offer gift cards or other incentives, so turning in old guns can be a quick way to make some easy money. More importantly, using these programs prevents guns from being used in crimes or inadvertently harming someone.

By: Jim Olenbush