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How to store guns safely in your home

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If you decide that keeping a gun at home is imperative to you and your family's safety, you must ensure that it is properly and securely stored. Taking the necessary precautions is vital, particularly if you've got children or adolescents at home, but you must ensure that your weapon can be easily accessed should the time ever come when you need to retrieve it. Here are five key safety measures for storing your firearm at home.

Lock boxes and gun safes
The safest way to store a gun is within a well concealed lock box or gun safe. This will prevent unauthorized access to the weapon, while also ensuring that you have it close at hand. While some owners may choose to keep their gun safe in the closet or under the bed, it is safest to install a hidden one whenever possible. A sturdy lock box may also be adequate, though you must ensure that it is well hidden to protect your weapons from potential intruders.

Keep it locked
The National Rifle Association notes that safe and proper gun storage includes using a secure locking device. Two of the most common mechanisms are trigger locks and cable locks - the former is affixed around the weapon's trigger to lock it in place, while the latter is a long steel cable that is looped through the action of the firearm to block its operation.

However, owners should never rely solely on mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns, the NRA warns, as these can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun safety rules. Always remember that, while these devices prevent the weapon from being loaded or fired, they will not stop it from being stolen. That's why it's so important to use it in conjunction with a proper storage device.

Keep it unloaded
The NRA recommends that gun owners should always keep their gun unloaded until it is ready to use. This is particularly important when you are storing your gun at home. Keeping your firearm unloaded at all times will help prevent accidents and injuries, even if it does accidentally fall into the wrong hands. It's also good practice to store your bullets separately from your weapons.

Teach safety and responsibility
For both children and adults, guns can be a matter of great curiosity. That's why any gun owner, but particularly those with children, should instill a mindset of safety and responsibility in all members of the family from the outset.

By consistently explaining to your family members the dangers of gun use and teaching them about safe gun conduct, you can help demystify the issue. In addition, California attorney general's office notes that children learn by example and actions speak louder than words, so it's important that you also practice good weapon conduct at all times.