The topic of guns can be very sensitive, but there’s one thing virtually everyone can agree on: Storing them safely is incredibly important, particularly in homes with children or even those where children occasionally visit.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help ensure firearm safety at home — whether you have kids around or not. These five tips are a great start:
- Keep ‘em locked ...
Not only should you store your firearms in a locked cabinet, safe or vault, you should also limit who has access to the key or combination – even if everyone in your family is a skilled shooter. In addition, use a gun-locking device so your firearms are inoperable when not in use. (This is not a substitute for appropriate storage, however.)
- ... and unloaded.
Before putting away a gun, first unload the ammunition. Then, the next time you go to take it out of storage, point it in a safe direction and reconfirm that it is not loaded.
- Separate guns and ammo.
Keep your ammunition under lock and key, too – away from your guns. That way, if an unauthorized person does gain access to your firearms, he/she won’t be able to load them.
- Educate your family and others who visit your home.
Everyone in your home – family members and short-term visitors alike – should know that there are firearms present. Remind children regularly that if they find a firearm — either in your home or someone else’s — they should alert a responsible adult and never touch or play with it.
- Remember “S.A.F.E.”
Project ChildSafe educates firearm owners to: Secure your firearms when not in use; be Aware of those around you who should not have access to guns; Focus on your responsibility as a gun owner; and Educate yourself and others about safe handling and storage.
Having firearms in your home can present unique insurance issues as well, both in terms of the value of the guns themselves and your liability coverage. Check with your independent insurance agent to see what your policy limits are regarding personal property coverage for firearms, as well as whether an umbrella policy might be the right option for additional liability protection.
Whether you have one gun or an entire collection, always aim for safety. Your entire family, as well as your house guests
and neighbors, will thank you for it.
Whether you rent or own, you likely have personal property coverage for your guns under your renters policy or homeowners policy. Be sure to include them in your home inventory and to adjust your policy, if needed, to ensure you have the coverage you want for your entire collection.