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One of the most important aspects of firearms safety beyond how to properly handle a firearm is safely and properly storing the firearm when not in use. Proper firearm storage is critical for a variety of reasons. Here’s why it’s so important:

Keeping the Gun Out of the Wrong Hands:

Proper storage can prevent unauthorized users, including children, from accessing and accidentally discharging firearms. This is perhaps the most important concern of properly storing firearms. Even if you don’t have children in the home, you never know when a visitor or their children could happen upon the firearm. Always keep them safely locked and stored away, unloaded and separate from their ammunition for an added measure of safety.

Theft Prevention:

Secure storage can deter theft and safeguard firearms from being stolen and potentially used in criminal activities. The old days of keeping it on a closet shelf doesn’t cut it and you never know when a break-in or other criminal activity could occur around your home.

Legal Compliance:

In a number of places, there are laws and regulations requiring firearms to be stored safely. Failing to comply with these laws followed by an event where your firearm is improperly used can lead to legal consequences.

So, what’s the best way to store your firearm, so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands? Following are a few top options for properly and safely storing firearms in the home:

Gun Safes: Gun safes are the most secure and effective way to store firearms. They come in all sizes, capable of handling everything from handguns to long rifles and can be fire-resistant and tamper-resistant. They are usually quite heavy, which makes it difficult for anyone to remove the entire safe and for added measure, can often be secured to a floor or wall.

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Gun Cabinets: Metal gun cabinets that lock with a secure key or combination lock and that can be fastened to a wall or floor are also good options for storing handguns and long guns. They usually aren’t as heat resistant as a full safe so may not provide the same level of protection in the event of a house fire.

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Lock Boxes: Smaller lock boxes are good options for storing handguns and are more much more affordable than full-sized safes. A benefit of a lock box when it comes to home defense is they often feature quick-access mechanisms such as biometric fingerprint scanners or digital keypad locks for quick access.

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Trigger Locks: Trigger locks physically prevent a firearm’s trigger from being pulled. They are very affordable and easy to install and provide the minimal level of safety needed to prevent them from being used by the wrong person. They do not, however, prevent theft.

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Cable Locks: Cable locks are also designed to prevent a firearm from being loaded and fired. They are threaded through the firearm’s action and locked. Most manufacturers provide these with the firearm when purchased, but they can also be purchased on their own for minimal cost. Cable locks also provide the minimal level of safety required to keep a firearm from being used by an unauthorized user.

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For more resources about safe firearm storage and a full list of firearm storage options, please review this infographic from Project Childsafe.

Additionally, you can find a full line up of quality gun safes and cabinets at Winchester Safes

The specific storage method you choose should depend on your needs and circumstances, but always try to provide the highest level of security as you are able to with regards to cost and the space in your home, even the number of firearms you need to keep secure. Make sure your chosen method is compliant with local laws and regulations and provides a high level of security for your firearms. In the end, keeping firearms out of the wrong hands is every firearm owners responsibility.