Notice this article is titled “5 ways to store your firearms at home”. Not “should I lock up my guns” or “pros and cons of storing my guns safely”, or even “how many years in prison will I get if a child wanders into my room and dies due to me failing to store my guns properly?”
Proper gun storage should not be negotiable and is a cost you must consider when deciding to purchase a firearm. If you do not plan on being a responsible gun owner, it would be best to not be one at all. In 2018, there were a total of 638 unintentional firearm deaths, with 452 of them being children under the age of 9. Those are heart breaking numbers, and each and every one could have been prevented if proper firearm storage had been implemented.
What does proper firearm storage consist of? Well, it may depend on where you live and your home situation. If you don’t have any kids in the house or rarely have guests then having a couple of guns stashed around the house isn’t that irresponsible if there’s no risk of liability to others’ safety.
However, laws on safe firearm storage will vary from state to state, so make sure you do your own research. For the state of Texas, “Safe storage of a firearm is securing the firearm in a locked object...it is also restricting access from unauthorized persons at all times — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Now that seems pretty self explanatory, but let’s break it down a little further. For states with mandatory storage laws, this does NOT mean you can keep your pistol in a nightstand drawer, or your shotgun in the closet. This is a direct instruction to lock your firearms in a locked object like a safe or lock box. Behind a locked drawer or door does not count but a gun case is still permissible.
Texas states that your guns should be restricted from family, friends, contractors or uninvited persons. If for some reason your firearm is unfortunately made available to a child, you will be cited a Class C misdemeanor which will be enhanced to a Class A, at the minimum, if the child discharges the firearm.
If even one of the most gun friendly states asks that you lock up your guns, you may wonder, “If my guns are locked up, how will I get to them quickly in case of an emergency?”, which is a more than valid question; and luckily there are some pretty cool solutions:
3. Strong Boxes
4. Gun Safes
5. Gun Cabinets
These aren’t our preferred option as they can be clumsy, cheap, and easily bypassed; like a firearm chastity belt. A trigger lock (AKA gun cable) simply clamps around the trigger housing after being looped through either the barrel or the magwell to prevent discharge, and usually is opened with a key or combination. If an intruder is in my house, I personally don’t want to take the time to fumble with a key. I want to be completely focused on neutralizing the threat. The main advantage to trigger locks is that they are the cheapest option, but is price really something to consider when thinking about the safety of others? It should be the last priority, if a priority at all. Trigger locks are best for transporting firearms when traveling outside of the home.
Like something out of a James Bond film, some of these may have well been designed by "Q" himself. Working on the same principle as a trigger lock, a biometric safe can be customized to your firearm as well as programmed witgh your fingerprints. You simply press your fingerprint to the scanner and the gun will be unlocked and ready for use. Most biometric locks release the firearm in under 3 seconds, so you aren’t spending precious time or energy trying to gain access to your gun. This is one of my favorite options for a quick access safe. Price here will hover around $200. Not necessarily cheap, but not enough to break the bank either. A caveat to smaller biometric-locked is that they are not always DOJ compliant, meaning that they may not be legally considered a valid “locked storage” solution.
Strong boxes are essentially heavy duty gun cases (also a brand - Boss Strong Box), or light duty safes; depending on your point of view. Ranging in sizes from one to several guns capacity, these boxes are typically accessible via key, code or fingerprint technology. I consider these a middle of the road option as they are fairly affordable, decently safe and easy enough to still have good accessibility when needed. We are also getting into the range of options that you can keep physically secure as well. A strong box can be bolted down so it is not easily removed from the location you set it up at too. With something like a trigger lock, there's nothing stopping a thief from taking the gun with him and figuring out how to defeat the lock once he gets away. Strong boxes are great for not only the home but your vehicle as well.
The most common gun safes with a combination dial or digital lock pad seem to be a pretty straight forward option. These safes offer the best safe keeping in terms of being fireproof, difficulty of breaking into and keeping out of sight at home. Accessibility with these larger gun safes can be pretty slow but if you have multiple firearms this is the best option for keeping them locked up in an organized fashion and out of the wrong hands. Some higher end safes even offer humidity control for firearm preservation which doubles as a good place to keep money, valuables or sensitive documents. On top of climate control options most heavy-duty safes will be fireproof for at least half-an-hour or more. So in the worst case scenario, the weapons inside will survive long enough for the local fire department to put out a fire in your home. Last but not least, there is this really satisfying feeling when you swing open the door to a big safe that’s just loaded with guns and gear.
We're going to keep this section short, because there isn't a whole lot to say. We don't recommend 'gun cabinets' because they offer little to no protection and are not the greatest method to store guns and ammo. Here's why — Whether it's an ornate wood and glass cabinet to display your guns, or a flimsy metal locker, gun cabinets are about as hard to get into as a childproof cabinet for a thief and they advertise exactly where the guns are. Firearms would be better off stashed in the attic, basement, in a wall or closet where at least they'd be hidden and for the most part out of reach and inaccessible.
There are far better options for how to store guns but if your budget doesn't allow for anything better a gun cabinet from Stack On, that is absolutely better than nothing as it fulfills your legal requirement to lock away firearms within the home. Gun cabinets also make great storage spots for ammunition, cleaning kits and other general gun-related items or gear you may have lying around that could help you declutter. That being said there are some pretty cool gun cabinets out there that cost a pretty penny as well such as the modular weapon cabinets from Gallowtech.
So Should I Lock Up My Guns?
The fact is that owning a gun isn't just a right, it's also a responsibility. If a child is too young to understand how to properly handle a firearm, it's not their fault if an accident happens. The fault lies with the person who left it in the open. If a gun gets stolen from you, you are partly responsible for allowing it to be taken. Besides my carry weapon, which is never more than a few feet from me, all my guns are securely locked up until I need them. Thieves target firearms and I'm tired of law abiding citizens having to pay the price for the actions of criminals. Even though nobody plans for their firearms to be stolen or for an accident to happen, the last thing this community needs is more irresponsible gun owners. Don't ruin it for the rest of us, be responsible with your guns.
Start Your Next Build With 80 Percent Arms!
Friends, the clock is ticking on federal legislation cracking down on the 80 percent industry and community. Secure your 2nd Amendment rights and set yourselves up for generations to come with building out an 80 lower. If build kits aren’t available you can also piece together the rest of your build by browsing our upper receivers section and completing your internals via the parts and accessories page as well. Don’t forget to grab a tac light and some optics on your way out so you can clearly aim down sight anytime of day and anywhere.