Firearms Safety in the Home
Firearms Instructor & Range master
Det. Tom Fischer
The decision to own a firearm assumes you are prepared to undertake full-time responsibility for your weapon’s safety and security. You must protect yourself and your family members against misuse of the firearm by anyone who is either incompetent or unqualified to handle the weapon. In particular, you must secure your firearm from theft or misuse by children.
If you have a firearm, you must also personally assume full-time responsibility for its safe handling, its use, and to make sure you know how it works and how to maintain it. You must also be aware of the circumstances in which you may legally use a firearm for self-defense.
If you have a firearm you should understand that it is a lethal weapon, capable of inflicting death or disabling injury on living targets. If not treated with utmost caution and safety, it can accidentally discharge and result in tragic consequences for you and your family. Studies show that accidental firearm deaths in the home occur most often while playing with the weapon, examining or demonstrating the firearm, or cleaning or repairing the firearm.
Storage of Sporting Firearms
More than 30,000,000 Americans enjoy using rifles, shotguns and handguns for hunting and target shooting. When these guns are not being used, they must be safely and securely stored. This is where firearms safety in the home begins — and ends.
The rules for safe storage of sporting firearms in the home are few in number and easy to follow:
1. Always unload sporting firearms carefully and completely before taking them into the home. Never load a sporting firearm in the home.
2. Always make absolutely sure that firearms in your home are securely stored in a location inaccessible to children. Ammunition should be stored in a separate location, locked, and also inaccessible to children.
3. Always place firearms in their proper storage location immediately after returning from a hunting trip or a day at the range.
4. Always recheck firearms carefully and completely to confirm that they are “still” unloaded when you remove them from storage. Accidents have occurred when a family member has borrowed or loaned a firearm and returned it to storage while it was still loaded.
5. Always remember: It is your responsibility to make certain the firearms in your home are not casually accessible to anyone — especially curious young people.
Firearms Kept for Home Security
If you feel the need for quick access to a loaded firearm in your home, you need to take special safety measures. Keeping a gun to defend your family makes no sense if that same gun puts your family members or visitors to your home at risk.
In keeping 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. Quick release trigger locks, chamber/cylinder locks, or special locked cases that can only be opened by authorized individuals are options to consider.
You must exercise full control and supervision over a loaded gun at all times. This means the gun must be unloaded and placed in secure storage whenever you leave your home.
Most fatal home firearms accidents occur when youngsters — often children who do not live in the home — discover firearms that adults thought were safely hidden or physically inaccessible.
Your most important responsibility is ensuring that children cannot encounter loaded firearms. The precautions you take must be completely effective. Anything less invites tragedy.