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Owning a firearm is a major responsibility. In fact, there are three major responsibilities that an individual needs to take on when purchasing a firearm: learning how to use it properly, knowing how to maintain it so it will last a long time, and storing it so that only people who are authorized can access it.
Let’s focus on the last of those three.
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There are many families who keep firearms in the home and tell their children they are not allowed to touch any of them under any circumstance. While this may be a good policy (although it’s also critical to teach your children how to handle firearms as well), it may not go far enough to ensure everyone’s safety.
Furthermore, this does nothing against protecting your firearms from intruders, burglars, or anybody else sneaking around the house. You need to take additional actions to ensure your firearms are 100% safe.
With that in mind, here are the best ways to store your firearms:
The first and best option for storing your firearms is a gun safe. A quality gun safe not only makes it incredibly difficult for anyone else to access your firearms, it also protects them from humidity or a house fire.
While a good gun safe does require a hefty financial investment (a quality safe will cost you anywhere from $500 to $3,000), it’s important to understand that a gun safe is the most secure gun storage option in today’s day and age, and is superior to any additional storage measures that we will discuss later in this article.
That being said, not all gun safes are created equal, and some are far superior to others. That’s why you need to be very particular about what to look for in a gun safe.
The first quality to look for in a gun safe is its size. It needs to be large enough to store most if not all of your firearms, and certainly all of the firearms that are the most valuable to you (for either monetary or sentimental reasons).
If you can’t afford a safe that is large enough for all your guns, then simply store as many guns as possible in the safe and use the additional storage options covered below for the remainder of your firearms. A golden rule is to buy the largest gun safe you can afford.
Next, pay close attention to the steel thickness of the safe. As you can imagine, the thicker the steel, the more the safe will cost as well. The steel thickness of a safe is measured in terms of ‘gauges’, and the lower you go, the thicker the steel.
This means that a ten gauge steel safe has greater thickness than a fourteen gauge safe. At the bare minimum, your safe should have a gauge rating of at least twelve, but eight to ten gauge will be preferable if you can afford it.
Finally, make sure your safe has a long enough fire rating. The golden rule is to buy a safe with a fire rating of at least one hour, meaning that the safe can withstand an hour’s worth of flames at roughly twelve hundred degrees Fahrenheit before the firearms and contents inside risk being damaged.
You want a fire rating of at least an hour because an hour is the average amount of time it takes for the average American house fire to be contained and defeated.
That being said, not everyone can afford a gun safe, or you may run into the above-mentioned scenario where you can’t afford a gun safe big enough to store all of your firearms. In this case, you’ll need to turn to other options.
A steel gun cabinet is probably the next best option. It can provide you with some level of protection against unauthorized individuals who don’t make much of an effort to get inside, but it is far less effective against determined burglars and house fires.
This is because the main distinction between a gun safe and a gun cabinet is that the latter has much thinner steel and a much simpler locking mechanism. The tradeoff is that they are significantly cheaper than a safe at around $100 to $500 each.
In all honesty, the only thing that a gun cabinet really provides you with is organizational capabilities and better peace of mind than having your guns out in the open. A determined burglar who knows how to pick a lock or possesses a sledgehammer or a similar tool will make short work of getting inside.
In short, a gun cabinet is better than nothing at all, but it is not nearly as secure as a safe. But think about this: so long as you’re going to spend a few hundred dollars on a cabinet, why not take the time to save up a few hundred more to buy a legitimate, quality safe?
Trigger locks are probably the most affordable option to prevent a firearm from being fired from a person with unauthorized access. Most new guns are actually sold from dealers with trigger locks provided by the gun manufacturer.
A trigger lock works by shrouding the trigger and trigger guard of the weapon with a locking mechanism in order to prevent the trigger from being fired. The trigger locks are commonly sold with cables as well, which you can wrap around something else to prevent a burglar from snatching the gun and running off with it.
These are certainly better options when it comes to storing your firearms, and a trigger lock can’t really protect your gun from a house fire, but it is undeniably better than nothing. If you want to leave your gun around the house but are fearful of children finding it, keeping a trigger lock installed on it will ensure they are unable to fire it.
Last but not least, you could also consider a simple gun case, which is made to store commercial firearms. Made out of foam-lined plastic or padded fabric, gun cases are commonly used to avoid scuffing or damaging the firearms while transporting them.
Of course, they can also be used for storage. Obviously they are not nearly as secure as a gun safe, and a house fire would make short work of them. But gun cases can still protect your firearms from moisture and humidity, and you can also fully close them up and place an ordinary padlock in the zipper tabs to prevent them from being opened.
All in all, gun cases are much like gun cabinets in that they really provide you with peace of mind more than adequate protection. But still, it’s an extra barrier of protection against a child or a burglar and is therefore better than nothing at all.
Storing your firearms properly is absolutely essential for keeping them protected against unauthorized access so they cannot be used to hurt someone. Storing your firearms properly is one of the three big responsibilities that you undertake as a gun owner, and it’s not one that you can afford to overlook.
Any of the storage options that we have covered here are valid choices for storing your firearms. Buy a quality safe if you can afford it, but if not, the other options will work too. Also, remember to keep your firearms properly maintained while in storage. Check on them periodically and inspect them for signs of rust or discoloration.
Keep a dehumidifier in the room with guns (or desiccant packs in a gun safe) as a defense against moisture (both of which can cause rust and corrosion), and clean your firearms with gun oil at least once every six months for added protection.
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