Collage of gun safes, lockers, and locks

Securing Guns is Essential to Home and Community Safety

Everyone, from parents to community leaders, wants to keep children and teens safe. Kids will be kids, so it’s safest to assume that a curious, impulsive or determined child or teen could find and handle an unsecured gun, even if they’ve been told not to. When guns aren’t properly stored, tragedy can strike—whether it’s a child finding a firearm and injuring or killing themselves (intentionally or unintentionally), or someone stealing it and using it to commit crime. This is why the Be SMART message emphasizes the importance of secure gun storage. Think of secure gun storage as just another step you can take to help protect your family and community.

A SMART adult makes sure all guns are stored securely both at home and in vehicles. That means they’re stored unloaded, locked, and if possible, kept separate from ammunition when not in use—so that they are inaccessible to kids. Thankfully, there are plenty of secure gun storage options that are easy to use and effective at preventing unauthorized access. In addition, with all the varieties of storage technology, there is sure to be an affordable option that fits your needs—from lockboxes, to gun safes, to devices with biometric authentication.

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Households that locked both firearms and ammunition were associated with a 78% lower risk of self-inflicted firearm injuries, and an 85% lower risk of unintentional firearm injuries among children, compared to those that locked neither.1

If half of households with children that contain at least one unlocked gun switched to locking all their guns, one-third of youth gun suicides and unintentional deaths could be prevented, saving an estimated 251 lives in a single year.2


  1. David C. Grossman et al., “Gun Storage Practices and Risk of Youth Suicide and Unintentional Firearm Injuries,” JAMA 293, no. 6 (2005): 707–14.
  2. Michael C. Monuteaux et al., “Association of Increased Safe Household Firearm Storage with Firearm Suicide and Unintentional Death Among US Youths,” JAMA Pediatrics 173, no. 7 (2019): 657–62.

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