All too often, the news comes alive with stories of accidental discharges of a firearm that have devastating consequences for families. If you own a gun, properly storing it is essential to ensuring your family is safe and your guns are protected.
The goal of gun storage is three fold. Your storage choices should:
- Prevent accidental discharge
- Prevent physical damage to the piece
- Prevent theft of the piece
Because of the multiple goals of gun storage, your storage plan may need multiple components. Here are some options worth considering as you decide how to best store your gun.
Gun locks are the first line of defense against an accidental discharge. These prevent the gun from firing by preventing the trigger from moving or the action from closing. While they do not provide protection against physical damage or theft of the piece, they do protect against accidental discharge.
Gun locks can fit into one of two basic categories: trigger shoe locks and cable locks. A trigger shoe locks onto the trigger housing to stop the trigger from being fully pressed. Cable locks prevent the barrel or action from being closed so the gun cannot be fired. Both provide excellent defense against a gun accidentally being fired when handled incorrectly. Locks should be on the gun any time it is not in use.
Gun cases are locked cases designed specifically for storing guns and ammunition. These prevent accidental firing by limiting access to the gun, while also providing protection against damage to the gun. Gun cases can be soft-sided or hard-sided.
Soft-sided gun cases are primarily designed for protection of the gun from physical damage. These cases can be locked for legal transport to and from the shooting range -- this may be sufficient security to keep children from accessing the gun. However, the soft side will not prevent a thief who wants to steel the gun. The primary purpose of these cases is physical protection.
Metallic gun cases are a better option for those who want to deter a thief while also protecting the gun. Metallic gun cases have hard sizes that are difficult to access, lock when closed and have padding to prevent the gun from damage and sliding around.
Similar to gun cases, strong boxes house the gun and lock to protect it from children and thieves. These storage boxes can have a manual or electric lock. Strong boxes may be permanently attached to a fixed surface for the gun to be stored in one place at all times, or they may be portable. Strong boxes can meet all three storage criteria.
Steel-gun cabinets are similar to full-out gun safes, but are often a bit cheaper. They use a simple lock design and a thin gauge of steel, so they can be carried by just a couple of people when they need to move. Yet, they are also durable enough to deter some theft and keep the gun away from curious hands. They can be mobile or permanently bolted to the wall or floor, depending on the need of the owner. Gun cabinets can also house more firearms than a gun case. Keep in mind, however, that most gun cabinets can be broken into if the thief is determined enough, so you will want to keep these hidden if you fear theft.
Gun safes are the most durable and secure option to store your guns. These cover all three of the storage concerns. However, they are also the most costly. Safes will prevent almost any thief from accessing the gun, and the specially designed interiors of gun safes protect the gun's finish, preventing exterior damage. Children are not able to access guns housed inside a safe, leaving them protected from an accidental discharge.
Of course, no two safes are the same. Distinctive locking mechanisms, sizes, finishes and gauge of steel can contribute to the differences in these safes. In most cases, the more expensive the safe is, the more durable and strong it will be. You will need to balance your budget against the desire to have a secure storage option and choose the method that will be the best fit for your needs.
As you consider your options for gun storage, remember, it's your responsibility as a gun owner to ensure that your guns are locked, protected and away from curious hands. It only takes a second for a tragedy to occur. Decide which gun storage option is the best choice for your home and your gun, and make the purchase now, so you can keep those you love safe and your guns protected.
Denny Hammack has worked in the storage indusrtry for over 25 years. He is now the CEO of Patterson Pope, the industry leading supplier of high density shelving products & solutions, such as evidence storage.