As a firearm owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that guns in your home are always 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.
Key guidelines for safe storage include:
- 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.
A Message for Your Children
Children and adolescents are naturally curious about firearms and, as a result, may be tempted to "play" with a firearm they find. Make sure young people in your home are aware of and understand these safety guidelines:
- Don't go snooping, or allow other kids to go snooping, for guns in the house.
- If you find a gun in your house, or anywhere else, STOP! Do not touch it or allow anyone else to. Leave the area and be sure to immediately tell an adult.
- Even if a gun looks like a toy, don't touch it. Some real guns look like toy guns, so don't take a chance. Leave the area and immediately tell an adult.
Print this certificate so your kids can sign the Project ChildSafe Children’s Pledge.
Cable-Style Gun Locks
Cable-style locks, like those in the Project ChildSafe Safety Kit, should be used in addition to — not as a substitute for — safe firearms handling and storage methods. The lock is intended to discourage unauthorized access to a firearm, particularly by young children, but should not be considered a high-security device. Reference the Project ChildSafe safety brochure from the kit for more information about properly installing the Project ChildSafe gunlock on various firearm types, safe handling and storage.
Firearms Kept for Home Security
The choice to keep a firearm in your home for sporting purposes, a collection or self-protection is a serious responsibility. Gun owners must be committed to obtaining the appropriate training and having a clear understanding of safe handling and storage rules to achieve the intended personal safety benefits.
Before choosing a firearm for home security, ask yourself these questions:
- Are my security concerns realistic and consistent with local crime rates?
- Do other adults in my household support maintaining a gun in the house?
- Will other adults with access to the firearm join me in a firearms training and safety program?
- What precautions will I practice to safeguard children?
- Do risk factors such as mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse exist within my household?
Your decision should also take into consideration issues such as individual temperament, reaction to emergency situations and specific family circumstances.
Access to Firearms Kept for Home Security
If you choose to keep a firearm for home security, your objective should be to create a situation in which the firearm is readily available to you, yet inaccessible or inoperative to others. Special lockable cases that can be quickly opened only by authorized individuals are options to consider.
Download the Firearms Responsibility in the Home brochure summarizing these safety tips and more.