How do we store guns and keep our children safe? Balancing between having a gun available when you might need it and keeping guns and ammo safely stored is not an easy task. And from a legal standpoint, it is imperative that you are fully aware of local, state, and federal regulations pertaining to the safety and storage of defensive weapons in your household.
Of course, most parents would agree that there is no such thing as being too careful with children and firearms. There are too many terrible examples of young ones who have been injured or who have injured others. Thus, access to firearms in the home should only be available to those persons who are knowledgeable and trained on how and when to use them.
Fortunately, there are many effective options for keeping firearms out of little hands. In addition to rigorously teaching gun safety, every parent needs to choose what method or option works best for his or her family.
Safe In The Gun Safe
For the majority of gun owners, a safe is the number-one, common sense, go-to option of choice. After all, a good gun safe is fire proof and theft-proof, designed to elude even the most crafty, power-tool-wielding grownup, so there’s an excellent chance that it will keep firearms out of the hands of even the most high-spirited or unruly toddler.
A safe is a practical and sensible choice, especially in homes with several guns to store. And gun safes are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes (to fit varying space and budget needs), and they can feature some pretty cool options. Some even utilize unique technology, like biometrics, which open with the swipe of a fingerprint, and radio frequency identification, which accesses the gun via the wave of a key fob, bracelet, card, or sticker.
While nothing is ever foolproof, a gun safe is a big deterrent for children of any age and any activity level. Will guns become unnoticed and uninteresting when they are locked away? Not probable. Will a safe protect your children in every situation? Not possible. But storing firearms—unloaded and separate from ammunition—in a secure, locked safe is arguably the most effective way to protect the little ones in your home.
Hidden In Plain Sight
While not quite gun safes, there are some options that effectively store guns while keeping them well hidden. Aside from clever concealment furniture, shelves, clocks, mirrors, and benches, there are also hanging garment bags, bookshelves with hidden compartments, and even books themselves designed specifically for firearms storage.
These types of concealed spaces and hollowed-out areas are handy and convenient, but they don’t—and shouldn’t—fool children. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, and a gun stored in the pages of a particular book or behind an unusual mirror is likely not hidden from them at all. Research has shown that children who live in homes where guns are kept are almost always aware of where the hiding spots are located, even if the parents believe the children don’t know. For this reason, it’s much better to talk about gun safety and to be open and honest about the location of firearms within the home and to teach children, upfront, about respecting guns and leaving them alone.
Kept Out Of Reach
Many gun owners choose to keep guns in hard-to-reach locations, like on top of an armoire, in the back of a drawer, or up high on a shelf. Out of sight, out of mind is often the first layer of safety. For instance, a gun stored, unloaded, with the magazine out, in a hard-shell case on a high shelf in a closet may be out of sight, out of mind (and out of reach) for children, but it’s still easy enough for authorized users to access in case of a dangerous or unsafe situation. The key issue here is selecting a place that isn’t tempting to kids. And never be fooled; the secret location is most likely not a secret at all.
Overall, when it comes to keeping guns out of little hands, what works best will be different for every family. If you have a rambunctious child in your household, your storage methods may be more extreme, and they may even change over the years. Just keep in mind that children learn best by observing the adults around them. As gun-owning parents, if we consistently practice safe conduct, our actions will teach safe conduct. And, ultimately, that’s the most effective gun safety there is, no matter where our firearms are stored.
FIREARMS STORAGE TIPS
With safety always at the forefront, especially with children in the home, here are a few tips for making sure your firearms are safely stored:
- Store your firearms in places where they’re only accessible to you or to designated members of your family.
- Use a storage location that is out of reach of children and that can be secured with some kind of lock. (Gun safes, cabinets, vaults, or other storage cases are all good options.)
- Keep guns (and magazines) unloaded when in storage.
- Store ammunition in a separate location that is locked and out of reach of children.
- Make sure keys or combinations are kept in a place where children can’t access them.
- Get into a set routine for securing your concealed carry firearm, and go through the same motions every time.
- Use a gun-locking device (like a cable lock) as an extra safety precaution when firearms are stored.
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