How to Properly Store a Firearm
Notice this article is titled “gun storage”. 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 was 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.
Laws on safe firearm storage will vary from state to state, so make sure you do your own research, but according to the great Republic 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 those of you who are slow learners. This does NOT mean you can keep your pistol in a night stand 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, however a locked gun case is 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 minimum if the child discharges the firearm.
So, 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 for us there are some pretty cool solutions.
Trigger Locks are the most common, and cheap, form of security. Most guns come with one included.
These aren’t my preferred option, as they can be clumsy, cheap, and easily bypassed; like a firearm chastity belt. A trigger lock simply clamps around the trigger housing to prevent discharge, and usually is opened with a key or combination. If someone 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.
A biometric option like the Identilock allows you quick and easy access to your firearm in emergencies.
Like something out of a James Bond film, these may have well been designed by Q himself. Working on the same principle as a trigger lock, a biometric lock is customized to your firearm as well as your fingerprint. You simply press your fingerprint to the sensor, 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 safe, but accessible option to your gun. Price here will hover around $200. Not necessarily cheap, but not enough to break the bank either.
A Strong Box can be hidden, or bolted down, and is the cheapest option that doesn't leave the firearm exposed.
Strong boxes are essentially heavy duty gun cases, or light duty safes; depending on your point of view. Ranging in sizes from one to several gun 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 quick enough to still have good accessibility when needed. We are also finally 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 to access the gun later. With 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 is home.
A Gun Safe is almost always the best option. If someone manages to break into one of these, well, they earned it.
Obviously the most common, gun safes are a pretty straight forward option. Offering the best safe keeping (I mean safe is in the name), nobody is going to be able to break into it. Accessibility is the slowest of all the options, but if you have multiple firearms, this is the best bet on keeping them locked up and out of the wrong hands. Safes also offer humidity control for firearm preservation, and 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. So in the worst case scenario, the weapons inside will still survive. And (maybe this is just me), but you feel kinda cool swinging open a door to a big safe that’s loaded with guns.
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, it's the fault of 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.