I have a gun for self-defense. What happens if I need to access my gun quickly in an emergency?

There are many options for secure gun storage that provide owners with access to guns in a matter of seconds while still preventing access by children and people at increased risk of harming themselves or others.

For example, there are locking devices available that can be quickly opened using a keypad or biometric technology, providing you with fast access to your firearm while also preventing access by kids and others. Some of these devices are also effective at preventing theft. Take a look at the types of secure storage devices available to get an idea of what best meets your needs.

Where can I get a lock for my gun?

Police departments sometimes have programs to give away gun locks. They are also readily available at minimum cost from online sources and sporting goods stores. Also, you may be provided with a gun lock for free when you purchase a firearm.

I’ve educated my kids about guns and they know not to touch my firearms. Why should I still secure my guns?

It’s definitely important to talk to kids about gun safety and the dangers of firearms. But while talking to children about guns is a good precaution, it’s not a guarantee of safety. Keep in mind that one study1 found that young children who go through a week-long gun safety training are just as likely as children with no training to approach or play with a handgun when they find one.

Remember too that kids may face peer pressure or other influences that lead them to do things they otherwise wouldn’t do.

Let’s face it. All kids make mistakes and bad decisions sometimes. It’s part of growing up. Securing your firearm helps to prevent an impulsive action from becoming a fatal one.

1 Marjorie S. Hardy, “Teaching Firearm Safety to Children: Failure of a Program,” Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 23, no. 2 (2002): 71–76.

My gun isn’t locked up, but kids don’t know where I store it. I also keep it in a place where they couldn’t reach it anyway. Why should I worry about them getting their hands on my gun?

You may think your kids don’t know where your gun is located, but in fact, it’s likely that they do. One study showed that 41 percent of adolescents in gun-owning households report having “easy access” to the guns in their home.1

“Hiding” a gun in a closet or high shelf isn’t a secure way to store a firearm. And unintentional shootings and thefts are possible if children or other unauthorized persons find an unsecured firearm. Taking the step to secure your gun can go a long way to keep everyone in your home, vehicle and community safer—and could even save a life.

1Joseph A. Simonettet al., “Psychiatric Comorbidity, Suicidality, and In-Home Firearm Access Among a Nationally Representative Sample of Adolescents,” JAMA Psychiatry, 72, no. 2 (2015): 152–59.

Is it really my business to ask my neighbors/friends/family about how they store their guns?

Your kids’ safety is your business. Moreover, every adult has a role in helping to keep all kids safe. Just like you’d ask about other safety issues—like whether a family has a pet if your child is allergic, or if an adult will be home during a teen’s party—you can and should ask about how guns are stored.

I’d like to ask about gun storage, but I feel awkward about it. How can I ask the question without offending the person?

It can feel awkward or uncomfortable to start these conversations, but approach it in a calm and non-judgemental way. Remember, you’re not questioning why they choose to have a gun—you’re just making sure it’s stored securely. If it feels too awkward to have a conversation in person, try asking the question over a text. For other ideas, take a look at these tips for asking about gun storage.

How should I talk to my kids about guns and keeping themselves safe?

It is important to first ask your kids what they know about guns and to ensure your message is age-appropriate. Our kids know more than we’d expect. Approach the discussion as a conversation and not a lecture. Emphasize that they should always assume a gun is loaded and notify an adult whenever they see a gun. Take a look at these tips for talking to kids about guns.

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