How to Safely Store a Firearm

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If you live in a home with a firearm, strict safety protocol is critical. Children are at especially high risk from unsecured guns, but even responsible adults can suffer serious firearm accidents. Moreover, a burglar who gains access to your house could steal the weapon and put it to violent use.

Whether your firearm is for security, competition, hunting, or sentimental value, you should take every measure possible to keep it safe. There are several types of storage devices to consider, including safes, trigger locks, strong boxes, cabinets, and cases.

Gun Safes

A gun safe is the strongest protection for your gun in the event your home is burglarized, or in case of a disaster such as a fire or flood. Depending on the manufacturer, the interior of the safe may by lined with shielding to protect the integrity of the firearm.

Gun safes are a deterrent to burglars due to both their resilient locking mechanisms and their sheer weight. In some cases, it's possible to bolt the gun safe to a secure foundation, which makes it next to impossible for a burglar to remove.

Trigger Locks

Trigger locks come in a variety of forms, such as cable locks, trigger shoes, and padlocks. The trigger shoe mechanism prevents the trigger from being tampered with or manipulated. Cable locks block shotguns and rifles from working, deter loading a magazine into a semi-automatic pistol, and prevent the cylinder on a revolver from closing. A padlock between the back of the trigger and the trigger guard is an easy method to prevent accidental discharge.

A black and silver gun with a combination trigger lock

Strong Boxes

Lightweight and portable, strong boxes take up less space than a safe. They may include such features as an electronic keypad, a fingerprint reader, and heavy-duty steel locks and latches. Some boxes can be mounted on a wall.

Locking Gun Cabinets

Longer firearms like rifles or shotguns may require a locking cabinet. Larger than a strong box, but usually made from lighter material than safes, these are reasonably easy to move within or between homes. For added security, you can fasten a cabinet to your floor and/or walls.

Gun Cases

A gun case is designed with three things in mind—security, mobility, and protection of a firearm's finish. Hard or soft, cases are usually fitted with interior padding. A padlock can be used on the zipper of a soft case or the handle of a hard case as an extra safety measure.

A gun and ammunition with a case

Other Considerations

Keep Guns Unloaded - Wherever you keep your gun, for optimal safety it should always be unloaded when not in use.

Material Thickness - Remember, higher steel gauge ratings indicate thinner metal. A safe with a high rating, such as 14-gauge, is thinner than a case constructed with 10-gauge steel.

Fire Rating - Some storage products are insulated in case of fire. Before you buy, check the fire rating with the manufacturer to find out how much heat protection you're getting for your investment.

Cost - The more high tech your storage, the bigger the price tag will be. Whatever kind of container you're looking for, though, there are plenty of affordable options to help keep your family safe.