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.
FIREARM STORAGE AND SAFETY ASSESSMENT QUIZ
Test your firearm safety knowledge, and see how your safe storage habits might be improved.
How do you store your firearms when they are not in use?
Storing firearms responsibly and securely when they’re not in use is the #1 way to help prevent accidents and the best way to help prevent your guns from being stolen and possibly used in a crime. A “hidden” gun is not a safely stored gun. There are a variety of safe storage options available, ranging from free gun locks provided by Project ChildSafe to full-length fireproof gun safes. Using any safe storage device will always be better than using none. For a sampling of storage options and their features, check out our infographic, Safe Storage Options for Your Lifestyle.
How do you store your firearm temporarily in a vehicle?
Theft of guns from parked vehicles has become a serious concern across the country, according to law enforcement, who add that many guns used in crimes are stolen. Law enforcement officials and other public safety officials urge gun owners to store their firearms securely when left temporarily in a vehicle by using a locking device that can be affixed to the vehicle, such as with a cable attached to the metal seat frame, to help keep guns out of the hands of criminals. The glove compartment or console of your car or truck, even if lockable, should not be considered a secure storage device, as it can be pried open too easily. If you’re looking for options, NSSF’s brochure, “Firearms Safety in Vehicles” is a great place to start.
There are never kids in my house, so securing my gun(s) when not in use is not as important.
Although preventing kids from finding unsecured guns can help prevent a tragedy in any home, keeping guns out of all the wrong hands is just as important. Unsecured firearms are easy targets for thieves and for a person with suicidal thoughts. Securely stored firearms can help save a life. For more information, check out NSSF’s “Firearms and Suicide Prevention” brochure.
Lock boxes are a good storage solution when keeping a firearm for home protection.
Lock boxes are one of several options for safe and secure firearm storage, and they provide a solution for those who choose to keep a firearm for home security and want quick access to it while denying access to unauthorized persons, including children. Some use biometric technology to provide access without a key. More information on lock boxes and other safe storage options is available on NSSF’s “Safe Storage Options” infographic.
Storing firearms securely when not in use may help prevent all of the below EXCEPT:
Secure storage is the #1 way to prevent accidents, theft and misuse. Additionally, depending on the storage system you use, it may also help prevent rust. Some higher-end gun safes include dehumidifiers, but the best defense against rust or other corrosion of the metal in your firearms is proper cleaning and lubrication and storing firearms away from sources of moisture, such as shower steam in the bathroom or damp basements. Safe storage does mean, however, that families still need to talk about safe and responsible firearm ownership.
Where do I find out about the best gun storage option for me?
Whether you choose to own firearms for personal or home defense, hunting, target shooting, collecting or all of these, there are safe storage options available for you. You can start by looking over all of the Safe Storage and Gun Owner resources on Project ChildSafe’s Resources page and then talking to your firearm retailer or local gun safe retailer to pick the right match for your needs.
How often should parents talk with their children about firearm safety?
Having regular conversations with your children about gun safety, whether you own guns or not, is important in case they encounter an unsecured gun at a friend’s house, outside or anywhere beyond your supervision. Parents talk to kids about other important issues, like drugs, alcohol and sex, and talking about firearm safety should be no different. This should be a regular conversation between parents and children. NSSF’s video “Talking to Kids about Gun Safety” covers the basics of how to talk to children of different ages. Even if you don’t have kids, this video can be a good resource to share with friends, family and neighbors who do.
Which is NOT one of Project ChildSafe’s 10 Tips for Firearm Safety?
Having regular conversations about firearm safety, even if you don’t own guns, will help reinforce the safety practices that can help ensure you and your family are always safely handling firearms at home, at the range and in the field and storing them safely during transportation and at home. NSSF’s “Firearms Safety in the Home” brochure and Project ChildSafe’s 10 Tips are great tools for reviewing gun safety practices.
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FOR YOUR KIDS
Children and teens 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.
Hunting is a rich tradition, often passed down from family members to the next generation. Please remember that safety should be part of every conversation about hunting and firearm use. The most important part of sharing this experience with your loved ones is ensuring they understand that proper precautions and responsible use of firearms can help make every hunting trip safe, fun and memorable.
Take our quiz to test your knowledge of hunting safety tips.
The Road to Responsible Gun Ownership
Owning a firearm, whether for target shooting, hunting or personal protection, is a right every law-abiding American enjoys.
It comes with an ongoing commitment to safety and responsibility — something that should be fully understood before buying your first firearm. This is at the heart of our message: “Own it? Respect it. Secure it.”
To help, we’ve provided a “road map” of the milestones toward responsible gun ownership that should be considered. Following these guidelines can help you be a responsible firearms owner, including following the many laws regarding purchasing, ownership, storage and use. By doing so, you will be contributing to a culture of firearms safety that has produced a dramatic decline in firearms accidents.Let's Get Started
Make an informed purchasing decision.
Buying a firearm involves understanding what type, model, caliber and more are suitable and the best fit for your intended use. You have many ways to conduct research, including reading reviews and handling and testing products yourself. Many organizations that support Project ChildSafe can offer advice and guidance, and you can speak with experts at a local firearms retailer or shooting facility near you. If possible, try various models at a local range. Click here to see a list of ranges by state, and learn more about safety with this Range Safety and Etiquette video.Next Back
You’ve decided which firearm is right for you, but do you know how you’re going to store it safely?
Securely storing firearms when not in use is a key element of responsible gun ownership and the #1 way to help prevent firearm accidents, thefts and misuse.
As a firearms owner, you have lots of options for storage devices to fit your lifestyle and home circumstances. The Safe Storage Options infographic, Gun Lock Safety brochure, and 10 Tips for Firearm Safety in Your Home fact sheet are packed with helpful resources to help you explore storage options and determine what will work best for you. Experts at your local range or firearms retailer can also help answer questions.Next Back
Taking a firearms safety training class at your local range or firearms retailer is a great idea for new gun owners and a good refresher even if you’ve been a gun owner for years.
Classes usually cover safe handling and use, proper maintenance, storage and other helpful information for getting the most out of your firearm and being a safe and responsible firearm owner.
Find a safety training course close to home with this list of ranges by state. Additionally, the firearms dealer from whom you purchased your gun can point you in the right direction for a class or possibly provide one on-site. Think you already know all the gun safety rules? Double-check with this list of tips for safe gun handling.Next Back
Strike up a conversation with your family about safe firearms handling, your household rules for firearms and your firearm storage plan.
To help you get started, shooting champion Julie Golob and Project ChildSafe teamed up to make the video “How to Talk to Kids About Firearm Safety.” Our Firearms Responsibility in the Home brochure also provides tips for discussing firearm safety with kids. You can encourage them to sign the Child’s Pledge to make safety a mutual responsibility.Next Back
Part of being a responsible firearm owner includes keeping your skills sharp.
It’s important to be sure you understand the mechanical characteristics and safe operation of the firearm you've chosen. Be sure to read and understand the instructions, warnings and safety devices the manufacturer includes with your firearms. If you have any questions, contact them or seek the advice of a firearms safety instructor or licensed retailer in your area. Also, practice and periodically reassess your training and skills.
Find safety classes and other training opportunities through the NRA’s list of safety courses, a Project ChildSafe supporter organization in your area or the firearms dealer from whom you purchased your gun.
Treat your storage plan as evolving and ongoing to stay on top of your safety needs and those of your family. There are numerous storage options out there. A good place to start researching is the Safe Storage Options infographic which outlines a range of storage options for many lifestyles and budgets, ranging from gun locks to gun cases, lock boxes and gun safes. You can also refer to these safe storage tips and download the brochure from the Project ChildSafe storage kit for more information.Next Back
Families change and evolve, and so does your conversation with your family about firearms safety.
New family dynamics — like new family members, teenagers exploring their boundaries or loved ones experiencing a difficult time — can pose questions about firearms storage and uncover new or additional needs. Revisit the conversation of firearm safety with “How to Talk to Kids About Firearm Safety,” a video with shooting champion Julie Golob. It is a helpful resource to break the ice or get tips for having a conversation with kids. Our Firearms Responsibility in the Home brochure also discusses how you can deter access available to children and at-risk persons. Sign the Child’s Pledge with your child to make safety a mutual responsibility.Next Back
As you know, responsible firearms ownership is a lifelong journey.
An important part of that journey is sharing what you know with others. As a responsible gun owner, you can be a powerful voice in building a culture of firearms safety within your house, your neighborhood and your community. We urge you to share the firearm safety message with our easy-to-use web and social media badges, by taking the Project ChildSafe pledge and by sharing this information with friends and family.
Thank you for making the commitment to be a responsible gun owner. We hope you and your family will safely enjoy the shooting sports for many years. Along the way, you can always find all of our Project ChildSafe tools and resources here.Done Back
TAKE THE PLEDGE
I choose to own a firearm and therefore accept responsibility for using and storing it safely. I commit to securing my firearm when not in use, being aware of who can access it at all times and educating others to do the same.