“Safety experts emphasize that gun owners have no excuse if they fail to adequately secure firearms in their home,” wlwt.com admonishes. “Gun locks are widely available and reasonably inexpensive, experts say, and can be obtained for free in many places. It’s legal to leave a gun lying within reach, but experts said that’s supremely foolish.” Confused. These oft-quoted, unnamed experts want you to secure your firearm with a lock AND put it out of reach? What are the odds you can win a foot race to your home defense firearm and then unlock and load it? And it you don’t, well, a miss is as good as a mile . . .
“In today’s day and age, you have to go that extra mile and you got to do what you got to do to make sure that your family is safe,’ said Cpl. Dave Boiman, of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department.”
Amen. However, anyone who thinks a gun lock makes his or her weapon or weapons safe from children or other curious usurpers is guilty of dangerous complacency. Whether you use a combination lock or a key, kids can defeat your security procedures. They can find out the combo or steal the key.
Granted, toddlers aren’t likely to do the Mission Impossible thing. And the odds of a genetically related negligent discharge may be lower if you render your gun inoperable with a lock than if you left it loaded in a safe. But kids grow up fast. And they’re your kids. So they’re clever. And curious.
Gun safety, like home safety, is best practiced in layers. Just as you have good lighting secure windows and doors, an alarm system, a dog, a home defense plan AND a home defense firearm, keeping your firearms safe from kids requires layered security.
Awareness is first. If you have kids and firearms, the former need to know the safety rules for the latter. They need to be intimately familiar with guns: what they are, what they do, and how to handle them safely. Begin the process as soon as they can talk. Reinforce firearms safety until they leave home for higher education or gainful employment.
Home carry is second. Forget locks. There’s no other way to balance adequate access with maximum safety. None. Strap the gun on your hip, or pocket carry. If you need it, there it is. Away from the kids. When the day is done, put the gun in a quick access biometric bedside gun safe.
If you want to be as safe as possible, that’s it. One gun. Safety instruction for the kids. Home carry. Biometric safe.
If you have another home defense gun (e.g. a shotgun or AR), you’ll need a larger key or combo-operated “locker-style” safe for your “last stand” defense. The lock box needn’t be Fort Knox. But it does require an appreciation of the fact that your risk levels of unauthorized access—and the resulting need for vigilance—rise accordingly.
If you have other firearms, invest in a proper gun safe. Change the code on a regular basis. If you want to fit those guns with triggers locks or disable them, go for it. But in all cases, remember that nothing is more important than gun safety training for your children.
And here’s another self-defense tip: include your children in your home defense plan. Giving them tasks in an emergency helps them view firearms responsibly. At some point, you may want to give your progeny access to your home defense firearm or firearms; you can’t alway be there for them. But maybe they can be there for you.