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, but 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 their firearms when not in use; be Aware of those around them who should not have access to guns; Focus on their own responsibility as gun owners, and Educate themselves 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 houseguests and neighbors, will thank you for it.
Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.
Top image by Flickr user Kenneth Lu used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Image cropped and modified from original.