Guns have become one of the leading causes of death among children in the US. According to the CDC, 4,368 children died because of guns in 2020. About 65% of the deaths were due to homicides, 30% because of suicide, 3% were caused by gun-related accidents, and the intent for 2% was undetermined. Moreover, studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between unsafe gun storage and gun-related deaths among children.
These numbers are scary, and parents all over the country are trying to shelter their kids from such events. Parents who have firearms in their homes take even more precautions to secure their guns. Still, it is essential that we all raise awareness about secure gun storage, and responsible firearm ownership, so that both children and adults can be educated about the dangers.
So, for all the parents who want to do more, here are a few tips to show how you can secure your firearms at home, and avoid gun-related accidents.
Teach Kids Gun Safety
If you have a firearm in your home, your kids are going to notice. Many parents make the mistake of simply hiding their guns from their kids and trying to keep them away from them at all costs. This is understandable since parents don’t want their kids to become a victim of gun-related accidents.
However, this only increases the curiosity of kids, and if they find a way to get to your gun, they are going to play around with it. Therefore, educating your children about firearm safety is as important as secure firearm storage.
You need to help your kids understand that guns aren’t a toy. Guns can be used for sport, but they are not meant to be played with in any way. They are dangerous and should be treated with respect. You should teach your kids about firearm safety rules, and teach them how to responsibly handle and shoot a gun.
This takes away the mystery of the gun and makes your kids much less likely to play with your guns if they ever get their hands on them. To read more here about knowing how to teach kids about gun safety.
Where to Hide Guns Away from Kids
Even though you are confident that your kids are responsible firearm handlers, secure storage is absolutely essential. Your kids or anyone else should not be able to access your firearms without your permission and under your direct supervision. Moreover, you need to keep your guns safe from thieves and robbers as well, who could steal your guns and use them for crimes.
All of your guns, with the exception of your home defense gun, should be stored in a locked safe, with the ammo stored separately. In the case of a home defense firearm, it should be stored in a way that it is quickly accessible, while still being out of reach from children.
Here are some ways in which you can securely store your guns, and hide them from your kids.
Cable locks are one of the simplest and most affordable options to lock your firearm. They can be used on most guns, and allow the user to access the gun quickly in the case of an emergency. This makes them a decent option for a home defense handgun.
To apply the lock, the cable is passed through either the barrel, or action of the firearm, and is locked into a padlock. This stops the action of the firearm from closing and does not allow ammo to be loaded into it as well.
However, cable locks aren’t the best option, and they have several drawbacks. They aren’t ideal for long-term storage, as the cable passing through the barrel or action of the firearm can damage it over time. Moreover, though it is enough to stop younger kids from accessing your firearm, a determined adult, or older child can easily break the padlock, or use a wire cutter to get through the cable.
Trigger locks are another basic and affordable form of firearm safety. As the name suggests, they cover the trigger and trigger guard of your firearm, making it difficult to shoot and use. They usually have a two-piece design, with a bar that passes through the trigger guard and locks the trigger guard cover on both sides.
Trigger locks can be difficult to break through since they are usually made from durable metals. Moreover, they can be easy to access as well, especially some modern trigger locks that can be opened with your fingerprint.
However, they have some major drawbacks, the first being that they don’t block the action of the firearm, or prevent it from being loaded. Using a trigger lock on a loaded weapon is very dangerous, as the bar passing through the trigger guard can come dangerously close to the trigger. Moreover, certain double-action pistols and revolvers, that don’t have a drop safety, can be fired even without pulling the trigger, therefore, a firearm with a trigger guard can still be dangerous if it gets in the hands of kids.
If you store your ammo separately and keep the firearm unloaded, it can stop kids from using your firearm, but a trigger lock can still be broken quite easily by a determined adult using a drill.
Lock boxes are another good option for securely storing your gun. They can be more pricey than a cable lock or trigger lock but offer much more reliable protection and safety. These lock boxes are made from durable materials and are usually quite difficult to break into, and they can keep your gun safe and protected as well.
Most modern gun boxes have multiple ways of opening them, from passwords and biometrics to using keys and RFID tags. This means that in an emergency, you can open the lockbox quickly, and access your gun immediately. Moreover, since the gun is completely enclosed in the box, you can also store it with ammo in the box.
Moreover, most lock boxes can be bolted to the ground, for instance, in a drawer so that the entire box can’t be stolen, and electric lock boxes also have accompanying apps that can alert you if anyone tries to tamper with your gun.
Therefore, lock boxes are a very good option for storage of your home defense guns. However, they can’t store multiple firearms.
Gun safes are much heavier and stronger than a small lock box, they are made from durable steel, and are usually fire-resistant as well. Gun safes also come in a variety of sizes. Small safes can be used to store a single handgun, whereas larger safes can store multiple full-length rifles, pistols, and a significant amount of ammo.
Most gun safes use heavy locking bars and can be opened with a pin code, biometrics, or a key as well. Biometric gun safes are great for quickly assessing your self-defense firearm.
Some gun safes are purpose-built for the long-term storage of firearms. They have a controlled temperature and humidity in them which will protect your firearms and ammo from deterioration and corrosion. Where thieves can simply pick up a small gun box and run away with it, doing so with a heavy-duty gun safe is very difficult. Moreover, it will be almost impossible for kids to open the gun safe without the passcode.
Most modern gun safes will also notify you on your phone if someone tries to tamper with it.
Gun cabinets are another common option for gun storage. They are like any other cabinet in your home, and may even have doors with glass to allow you to see your guns. Gun cabinets aren’t designed to secure your guns like a gun safe but are more commonly used to display your guns. Gun cabinets usually aren’t hidden away as well and are placed in rooms where they can add to the decor.
Gun cabinets aren’t the most secure way to store your guns, and having them on display can attract unwanted attention as well. Moreover, though cabinets can be locked, they are much easier to break into.
Gun cabinets can be great if you have a gun room, which is locked all the time. You can simply put your guns there, and make sure that the room stays locked so that your kids can’t get in without your supervision.
Taking Apart the Gun and Unload
Another simple way to store your gun securely so that kids can access it is to disassemble it. If your kids can’t assemble the gun, they can’t use it to injure themselves as well. However, if you keep a gun for home defense situations, you can’t keep it disassembled. You wouldn’t want to be fumbling and assembling the gun in cases of emergencies.
This is a better option for long-term storage guns, and even though they are disassembled, you can’t keep them lying around. You will have to keep them in a locked cabinet at least.
Using a Safety Bullet
Another simple and effective way to keep your guns safe from your kids is to keep a safety bullet at the top of the magazine, or loaded into the chamber. Safety bullets are similar in shape and size to a normal bullet, however, when someone fires them, they get stuck into the chamber and lock up the gun so that it can not eject the safety bullet or load a new round. This can help in the prevention of gun-related accidents, and prevent suicides using guns as well.
Moreover, when you take the gun out to use it for self-defense, you know about the safety bullet, and simply have to rack the slide to eject the safety bullet before it is fired. In case you need to use your gun in a home defense situation though, don’t forget to eject the safety bullet in the heat of the moment!
So, it is important to understand that if you have a gun in your home, the chances of firearm-related accidents affecting your children are much higher. And, you as a parent must take extra precautions in storing your guns.
Every time, such unfortunate incidents are the direct result of irresponsible firearm handling or storage. We hope this post helps you understand the different ways in which you can safely store your firearms at home, and prevent unfortunate gun-related accidents.