If you own firearms, or are planning on purchasing your first firearm, you are probably torn between listening to people who tell you that you need to keep your firearm unloaded, in a safe, within a larger safe, with ammo in a separate safe in another building, and people who tell you not to worry and to keep your firearm loaded with a round in the chamber and the safety off under your pillow at night and tucked in your waistband during the day.
It’s safe to say you should listen to neither of these opinions, and you should make your own decision that fits your life, while considering three basic needs for safe storage:
- Ease of access
- Protection from theft
- Out of the reach of children
The best options that address these needs are:
Locked and Loaded
The easiest way to get your gun in the fight is if it is ready at all times, this means (on applicable firearms), magazine inserted and round in chamber, firearm within reach of you, especially at night. This is ill advised if you have children, of course, as they could easily shoot themselves or others accidentally. If your children are teenagers that are trained in safe firearm usage then you may be able to trust them with an accessible firearm, but that is something you would have to assess on an individual basis.
The safest way to keep your gun locked and loaded is in a holster, on your person or in a specially designed concealed carry bag (if it is legal for you to carry) if you are out or mounted to your bed or nightstand if you are at home. The latter will again not be advisable if you have small children unless you exercise the utmost precaution.
Locked up and out of sight
A gun safe is an option that gets tossed out there a lot, and while it may keep your kids (if you have them) from gaining access to your firearms, it may also keep you from gaining access to them when you need them most. There are a lot of foreign electronic lock gun cabinets on the market that are passed off as quality gun safes. In reality, these cheap “alternatives” to quality safes may cost you your life. They commonly fail to open when the combination is entered, or when finger prints are given. This is not what you want to happen when you have a potentially armed intruder breaking in. And if you aren’t home when the intruder breaks in, these cabinets will do little if anything from keeping a thief with a pry bar from taking your guns. A quality safe will run you at least $2,000 or more and will not be within everyone’s budget.
A quality safe will run you at least $2,000 or more and will not be within everyone’s budget, but this is the best option to protect it from thieves when you are not at home.
The lock you already have
Every gun that has been purchased with in the last 15 years (at least) comes with a gun lock. A gun lock will not keep anyone but the laziest of thieves from stealing your gun, but it will keep any child from being able to fire it. And if a firearm is in your budget, then you don’t have to worry, cause you will be buying one anyway. Since they use a simple turnkey, and they come with 2 keys. This is probably the best security option for folks who can carry and have small children, if you can be disciplined enough to keep it locked up when it is not physically on your person.
The method you chose to store your firearm is a life and death matter. This is not meant to be a recommendation, but simply a list of some of the more important factors that every firearm owner needs to consider. Ultimately you have to use your discretion to determine what is the best way for you to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.