Every gun I own is always locked up, unless it’s on my hip or I’m taking a rifle or shotgun to the shooting range. I have a one-year-old daughter who gets into everything, and I obviously don’t want her accessing any of my guns.
Recently, a New Jersey man left his .22 rifle unlocked in his home. The man’s 4-year-old son found the rifle and accidentally shot and killed his 6-year-old friend with it. The New Jersey man has been charged with child endangerment and he's rejected a plea bargain that would have sent him to prison for seven years. Now, the man is going to trial and faces up to 15 years in prison.
Stories like these are tragic and shouldn’t happen when there are so many options for gun owners. We can all lock up our guns. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only got a few dollars to spare, or if you’ve got thousands; there is a gun storage solution for all of us.
The first option I want to discuss is the cheapest, because a lot of the time it's free. I’m referring to a cable lock. Many gun companies include a cable lock with the purchase of every new gun. Even if your gun didn’t come with a cable lock, programs like Beretta-backed Project ChildSafe offer them for free, or you can buy them online for about $9.
The only downside to the cable lock is that it’s not a quick way to access your gun. In other words, I wouldn’t use a cable lock to secure my home defense gun. It takes too long to take off the lock and load the gun in the event of an emergency.
Another inexpensive way to secure your gun is with a trigger lock. Master Lock makes trigger locks and they only cost about $15. However, the trigger lock has the same issues as the cable lock: it won’t allow for quick access to the gun. I would only use trigger locks on guns I was putting in long-term storage and guns I wasn’t relying on for protection during a home invasion.
My favorite way to secure my guns is in a rapid-access safe. These are safes that can be opened in about three seconds with the push of a few buttons. For home defense purposes, I use a rapid-access safe, which sits on my nightstand. I also have rapid-access safes in other areas of my house in case I happen to be downstairs or in another room when there is a break-in.
There are a lot of designs for rapid access safes. Just remember to test the batteries every few months on these safes and replace them when necessary.
If you’re looking to spend a lot of money on a safe, and you have an arsenal of guns to store, you’ll probably want to get a full size gun safe. Good companies that make these include Cannon, and Liberty. A decent full size gun safe will probably cost you $2,500 or more, but if you own a lot of guns it's worth it. I recommend getting a full size safe with a minimum of #10 gauge steel and a 60-minute fire rating, such as the Presidential line of gun safes made by Liberty.
The bottom line is, whatever your budget, take the time to find a gun safe that is right for you. I realize you may not prefer the same safe or storage option that I do, but there are so many options that there’s no excuse for any gun owners to leave guns unsecured.