Gun Safety in the Home: 5 Things That You Should Consider
It is probably pointless to say – but guns are dangerous. A single bullet from even the smallest gun can take a person or animal’s life. So it is crucial to learn about gun safety in the home – especially if you have children.
We know that guns, despite being truly dangerous, also offer a level of security. But in the wrong hands, guns are probably the worst thing in the world.
The last thing you could imagine when talking about guns is someone having an accident. And even harder to believe is a child being the subject in such a disaster. But to give you an idea, over 200 children shoot themselves every year only in the US. And they count for less than 10% of the total gun accidents at home.
This will give you a clear hint of how important it is to think about gun safety. So we’re going to help you learn more about it in this article. Read on!
Why Are Guns at Home a Risk?
Needless to say, modern weapons take lives. Their primary purpose is to cause harm. And they’re super easy to use. Even a child under 3 years old can do it.
This is enough to understand that guns are probably the most dangerous things to have at home. Especially when they’re loaded, there’s perhaps nothing more dangerous.
Following this, it is essential to know that about 40% of adolescent suicides happen at home. And usually, there’s a firearm involved. When a teenager tries to take his or her own life with a firearm, there’s a 95% possibility that this person will lose her life.
Compared to taking drugs and cutting veins, firearms are the most effective suicide tool in the world. And that’s only when we’re talking about suicide attempts.
When it comes to accidents, every year, there are over 500 accidental shootings that end up in tragedy or severe harm only in the US. And most of these accidents happen indoor.
This is without even acknowledging that most children always know where guns are stored, how they are stored, and sometimes know how to use them. So keeping them safe is sometimes not enough.
For that, it’s critical to take adequate steps to provide maximum gun safety at home. Here, we’re going to help you with that. Learn about it with the next 5 pieces of advice – they are essential:
Get Educated About Gun Safety Basics
You can’t ensure gun safety at home if you barely know what it is all about. That’s why we strongly recommend immersing yourself in it – as much as you can.
While some of the advice in the next sections is actual gun-safety education, there are also other basic rules that you should know.
Here are some of them:
- Learn to operate the firearm. Get as much knowledge and practice as you can before getting one to your home. If you have one already, then read the manual, go through the basics, and learn how to be safe with it.
- Always unload the gun when it is not being used. The situations where a stored yet loaded firearm can be useful are way fewer than the dangerous situations it can produce.
- When taking a gun out of storage, always point it in a safe direction. Any place where there aren’t people or flammable objects is always safer than pointing it to yourself or other people.
- Store guns safely, far from children’s reach. No one else should have access to guns apart from people with training.
- Never store ammunition close to firearms. Even if it feels counterintuitive, it is the best way to keep an unloaded gun unloaded when an unauthorized person reaches it.
- Educate yourself and everyone else in your household about gun safety. Gun training is not necessary. Just make sure they understand how dangerous a gun can be.
Now that you’re aware of the basics of gun safety, let’s now go into more in-depth material you should know about.
Teach Kids About Gun Safety
Once you have general education figured out, it is super important to pay special attention to children.
Nowadays, children and teenagers may think that guns are not as dangerous as they actually are. This mostly happens because they’ve mostly become desensitized due to the amount of gun violence they see in movies, TV series, music videos, and video games.
And this is one of the first reasons why gun safety is essential to learn, especially when it comes to teaching children.
To do this, here are a few tips you can take into account:
- Explain children and teenagers the difference between real-life guns and fictional ones. Talk about the dangers and the damages they can cause.
- Teach children to respect guns. As they get older, kids should be aware that guns are only to be used as protection and nothing else.
- Set rules about guns. If you have guns at home, make sure they understand how critical it is for them to get away from them.
- Let them know what to do if they ever find a gun. Tell them not to touch the gun, to get away from the place as far as possible, and tell an adult as soon as possible about it.
- Teach them how to handle guns as responsible teenagers. As they get older and in age to buy/acquire a firearm by themselves, you should teach them how to handle one safely. Until they are not allowed to own one, they should only use them with supervision.
Last but not least – always be careful and sensitive about gun violence. Don’t ever spread hate or feelings of self-harm. And explain how guns are only necessary for safety and nothing else. Teach children from a young age for the best results.
Be Careful With Behavioral Problems
Behavioral problems are probably the leading cause of most gun accidents around the world. Whether that is accidental harm, gun violence, or even just suicide attempts. They all mostly come from behavioral issues in the first place.
That’s why being extra-careful with guns when there’s someone with emotional problems can be such an important thing to do.
And it is not only behavior; sometimes, just a mental age can be an essential factor. Cognitive immaturity and false sense of invulnerability are also two significant factors to be aware of when having guns at home.
In fact, guns should be talked about the same way drugs, cigarettes, fire, and violence are. Especially around people and children with mental health issues – gun safety is probably the most critical thing to have.
To give you an idea, most people who die from suicide are people who shoot themselves. This sounds awful, but that’s because guns are the most effective way to do so – with 85% effectiveness.
On the other hand, people who exhibit signs of aggression, depression, and anger – are more likely to use guns than those who don’t show these signs. Even if these are short emotional bursts, people are more likely to turn guns into more enticing objects. And that can end up in tragedy.
That’s why you should be aware of the signs of mental health issues that could cause people to use guns unsafely. Here are some of them:
- Drug Abuse
- Ideation of Suicide
- Family / Street Violence
- Extreme Isolation
- Extremist Ideas
If you think there’s someone in your household presenting symptoms that fall in any of these problems, then you may need to take extra care with your guns. And if someone suffers from these issues permanently or is being treated, then you must treat it with even more attention.
One of the main ways to prevent accidents when people at home suffer from any of these issues is to take the gun away as soon as possible. Removing or just hiding it out of the home could be the best way to prevent accidents altogether.
For a less extreme course of action, it is always possible to just store and safeguard guns wholly disassembled. Separate them from the ammunition as well.
Finally, consult an expert. And if needed, consult with security forces such as the police.
Store Guns Safely
Probably not necessary to repeat as a critical step to take when it comes to gun safety. But it is crucial to explain how to do it the best way possible.
Your focus should be on learning as much as you can about the many different ways you can keep a gun safe at home. It is not only about keeping it away from intruders or children; it is also about preventing general accidents that could happen from human mistakes.
Here, you will find three significant factors that are obligatory to understand before storing guns:
- Concealing weapons under the mattress, top of a closet, drawers, cabinets, shacks, or vehicles is never a safe way to store weapons. Instead, use locked and safeguarded locations such as safe-boxes.
- Before storing, the gun must be cleaned, unloaded, far from ammunition, and disassembled.
- Gun-locking devices may offer the extra touch of safety for guns to never fire and/or activate without the owner’s desire.
Now that you have some ideas of how to safeguard guns from unwanted hands – then it’s time to learn about the best mechanisms for storing them.
For that, you won’t find a better product than a safe, a gun case, or a lock-box. Yet, all of them are different on locking mechanism and safety levels – so we need to explain them:
Usually, key locks are pretty effective at preventing people without the key to access a gun. Whether a safe, lock-box, or gun case, a key lock is also super affordable and usually does not demand any type of mental work to use.
But key locks can also be dangerous because anyone with the key can open it. This would leave complete access to the gun.
On the other hand, a key is usually a small object that can get lost with ease. If you aren’t an organized person, then a key lock may be too challenging to hold on to and not lose.
Finally, a key-lock may prevent fast access to the gun when needed. Especially if you’re not the owner, then accessing the firearm may be impossible in times of need if you don’t have the key.
Key locks are excellent for safeguarding things other than guns. Yet, they’re still better than not storing it safely at all.
Code and Combination Locks
In case a key lock doesn’t feel like the right choice, then you can always opt for a code or combination lock.
These are common in baggage, where you just need to move the combination system for the code. If you can access through a code, then it is even better. There’s no need for a key, not much physical movement/strain necessary, and complicated for children to learn unless told directly.
While this type of locking mechanism is probably the best one, especially if it is necessary to keep a gun from a child – it is somewhat difficult to remember codes/combinations.
Still, remembering a code or combination is not harder than keeping a key safeguarded. So this is probably the smartest decision you can make as to choosing the locking mechanism for your gun storage.
It also offers the chance for one person only to have direct access to the storage and no one else. And that adds a unique layer of safety.
Last but not least, you will find biometric scanners such as fingerprint, palm print, or iris recognition also ideal.
In this case, there’s almost no chance any unwanted person can have access to the gun. Only those with the specific biometric scanner will be able to open the storage, so it is also impossible for other people to do so in any way.
And finally, there’s no risk of losing the key or forgetting the code/combination. So it becomes an almost perfect way to keep guns away from unwelcome hands.
Following this, it is also safe to say that biometric scanners are usually super expensive. Whether it is a case, safe, or lock-box – they can cost a lot of money.
In some cases, biometric scanners don’t work – so they may be inconvenient when trying to access the gun fast.
And sure enough, some of these systems can be tricked/hacked – so only quality models are reliable enough.
Overall, though, there’s no safer way to store guns at home. So consider biometric scanners with a sturdy case, safe, or lock-box for your gun-storage option.
Use Gun-Locking Systems
Like we explained before, storing guns safely, even with the best locking system, may not be enough. That’s where a gun-locking system enters into action.
Here are some of these systems we’re talking about:
Available with combinations and keys, trigger locks will prevent the trigger from getting activated. Whether by mistake, misfire, or unwanted hands – a trigger lock will keep the gun from firing even when completely loaded.
This is an excellent thing to have if you are taking the gun from its storage. And if you choose something with a fingerprint scanner or something like that, then it gets even safer – so only you can use the gun eventually.
It is essential to know that trigger locks are sometimes not entirely safe. As guns have different trigger designs, some locks may not protect completely. So be aware of that before picking any trigger lock.
Instead of locking the trigger, you may also proceed to lock the chamber. This is where all the ammunition or bullets usually are.
Additionally, this will prevent guns from getting loaded. With the lock on the chamber, no bullet can get into the firing chamber, so it is impossible to fire.
Similar to finger locks, they work with padlocks or keys. And they will block the chamber directly so no bullet can ever be loaded without permission.
The last thing you can get to keep your guns safe is a smart gun.
You may have never heard of this type of gun – but it is no surprise. They aren’t precisely “smart guns” and sold like such. Instead, they refer to firearms that have been modified to the point that they only work when authorized people use them.
This happens through the use of biometric scanners such as finger or palm prints. Sometimes, the guns even come with an extra pressure sensor that detects if the person is using a watch, ring, or something similar. Otherwise, the gun won’t fire up.
It is important to note that most of these safety systems are not readily available for ordinary people. Yet there’s a lot of technological advancement going on so you may find them a perfect way to improve gun safety.
In general, there’s no better way to improve gun safety than to find a safe-storage, adding an extra locking mechanism, and learning how to handle the gun correctly. That will be enough.
General Gun Safety Tips
There are many other gun safety tips we overlooked in the previous advice – so we decided to bring them in a single section.
These are some general tips to take into account before getting a gun. Moreover, these will help you prevent accidental shooting and misfiring at home. Especially if you have children, you’ll want to know about some of these specific tips. Take a look:
- Guns should never be left at hand-reach of anyone apart from yourself. This is especially important if there are children at home.
- Always keep the combination and/or key of the gun storage away from other people’s reach. The place should be secret and hard to reach.
- When storing guns and before removing them from their storage, they should be unloaded. Always check that this is true.
- Only keep small guns at home. Handguns are the only necessary self-defense weapon necessary to prevent life-threatening scenarios. Bigger weapons are rarely required. Store big guns away from home, if possible.
- If you don’t need a gun anymore, then there’s no need to keep it at home. You can always contact police officers and/or security organizations to dispose of it.
These tips will be enough, alongside the rest of the gun-safety advice, to safeguard yourself and family members from any gun accident at home.
Start Safeguarding Your Home Now!
No need to feel threatened anymore from having a gun at home. You can always improve gun safety in the house with these pieces of advice.
We recommend following them to the letter and doing further research if you want. And if you feel like getting gun-safety training, then don’t hesitate and do it.
Remember, guns can be life-threatening, so being utterly safe with them at home is super important. So don’t overlook anything in this article – you won’t regret being completely safe about this.