National Safety Month Reminders and Resources for Gun Owners
Every year, National Safety Month is an opportunity to remind gun owners that their most important responsibility is to store their firearms securely when not in use.
New and long-time gun owners sometimes underestimate the danger of leaving firearms unsecured, which can potentially lead to such risks as:
- A child getting into a bedside table or closet and finding a loaded gun
- A criminal stealing an unsecured firearm from one’s home or vehicle
- A teen at risk for suicide obtaining an adult’s firearm
Responsible Gun Storage
As a firearm owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that guns in your home are stored where they are inaccessible to children or other unauthorized persons. Hiding a gun in a closet, drawer or similar location is not safe storage. Safe storage is employing precautions and multiple safeguards that provide an additional barrier against unauthorized use.
- Unloaded firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case. The storage location should be inaccessible to children.
- Gun locking devices render firearms inoperable and can be used in addition to locked storage. If firearms are disassembled, parts should be securely stored in separate locations.
- Ammunition should be stored in a locked location separate from firearms.
- Thoroughly double check firearms to confirm that they are unloaded when you remove them from storage. Accidents could occur if a family member borrows a gun and returns it to storage while still loaded.
Ideally, cable-style locks, like those in the Project ChildSafe Safety Kit, should be used in addition to primary storage system like a gun safe or vault. Reference the Project ChildSafe safety brochure from the kit for more information about properly installing the Project ChildSafe gun lock on various firearm types, safe handling and storage.
The Importance of Secure Gun Storage
No one anticipates these or other scenarios happening to them, but an unsecured firearm increases the risk of misuse. Suicide by firearm or other lethal means is too often overlooked when discussing unauthorized access to firearms, but consider that suicide accounts for 32 percent of gun deaths for this age group, according to a recent Pew study. The decision to take one’s life is often in impulsive, and preventing access to a lethal means at that critical time can save a life.
Stolen firearms contribute to violent crime in the U.S. Gun thefts from cars, in particular, are a persistent source of stolen guns. This means that gun owners—if they fail to secure their firearms in their vehicles—could have their gun stolen and potentially used in a crime—and no one wants their gun used by a criminal.
That’s why it’s so important to educate your community, including responsible gun owners, to make sure they’re practicing secure firearm storge. There are many choices of safety devices available to gun owners—from free Project ChildSafe® cable gun locks available at local law enforcement agencies to lockable gun cases, lock boxes and full-size safes.
Project ChildSafe’s free online resources make it easy to pick the best secure storage option for one’s lifestyle and the type of gun/s they own:
- Ten Tips for Firearm Safety in Your Home
- Firearm Safety in Vehicles Brochure
- Safe Storage Options Infographic