Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Use A Gun Lock on Your Home Defense Gun

“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.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

38 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Use A Gun Lock on Your Home Defense Gun

  1. avatarDave says:

    Are these the same ‘experts’ who always say you should keep all guns unloaded in one safe and all ammo locked in a separate safe? I think it’s safe to write off their advice as coming from ignorant fools. Or maybe just more concerned with their own liability than the safety of those they advise.

    FWIW, I keep any I’m not carrying or using locked up ‘cruiser ready’. Rest of the ammo’s stacked on top of the safe or stored in a non-locking cabinet.

  2. avatarRebecca says:

    I’m not saying how we keep our guns, because MikeB is still out there wanting to grab them. I want to see surprise on his face when he visits to take our guns.

    • I don’t want to take your guns, Rebecca. What I would like to do is point out how paranoid and out of touch with reality is Robert’s post. “Having a foot race” for the gun? Are you kidding me? Home carry because “if you need it, there it is?”

      It’s a damn shame that such paranoid nonsense is being disseminated so widely and repeated so often by the rest of you. It’s costing more lives than it’s saving.

      • avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

        Have we caused the deaths of someone? Please cite your facts. Meanwhile, how about we start a list of readers who have stopped a criminal (s) in their home or had an incident in their neighborhood. I’ll list myself as number 1-the presence of a pump shotgun stopped at least three men who were trying to pry open my front door after midnight, in the Fall of 1994-Hopkins, SC.

      • avatarBlake says:

        Every gun grabber claims they don’t want to take away guns.

        But you, Mike, would be perfectly okay if it became almost impossible for anyone to get a gun.

        Because then, Mike, you’d be able to claim that you didn’t take away guns. While ignoring the minor detail you’ve made it so incredibly expensive and or time consuming most people aren’t willing to take the time or spend the money to get a firearm.

        Effectively, you would have created the society you want, in which everyone has to bow down to authority, because authority no longer has to fear the citizenry.

        • No, Blake, I don’t want to make it “almost impossible for anyone to get a gun.” That is, unless you can’t pass a background check and follow simple rules about licensing and registration, unless keeping your guns secured at home as a deterrent to burglars is too much for you.

          The way I see it, most people who legally own guns today would still have them under the strictest laws possible. You guns keep exaggerating it by saying misleading things like “almost impossible,” I suppose in order to all the more vehemently oppose any change at all.

      • avatarRebecca says:

        Cujo’s got good questions. Cite your facts and evidence. Cite your sources.

        • I don’t have evidence, nor am I going to search for it. I’m using my brain. You should try it instead of just repeating the same stuff over and over again or cherry picking stats that support your pre-conceived notion.

          Cujo says his shotgun saved the day once upon a time. How about you Rebecca? Any life or death encounters yet?

          Naturally through the years your life-saving guns end up involved in all kids of mischief too. But, we don’t expect too much disclosure about that.

        • avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

          None of my weapons cause mischief-I give them a proper spanking and keep them in line.

        • avatarRebecca says:

          I don’t have evidence, nor am I going to search for it.

          So you’re a liar. Gotcha; thanks for letting us know.

          I’m using my brain.

          Facts not in evidence.

          You should try it instead of just repeating the same stuff over and over again or cherry picking stats that support your pre-conceived notion.

          Really? *I’m* the one repeating stuff over and over? *I’m* cherry picking stats? Hmmm… speaking of stats, this page tells some interesting stats: http://www.the-eggman.com/writings/death_stats.html which shows that of all the deaths in 2002, for all ages, only 1.2% were caused by firearms. For all accidental deaths, that rate drops to 0.8%. ZERO POINT EIGHT PERCENT. And I’m not cherry picking at all. I was looking earlier today – before I saw your post – for statistics of gun injuries (including deaths) ranked by year. Haven’t found that data yet, but this one page is pretty telling.

          Naturally through the years your life-saving guns end up involved in all kids of mischief too. But, we don’t expect too much disclosure about that.

          Not yet, thank goodness. We keep our guns on a pretty short leash, and disipline them any time they start getting uppity.

  3. avatarChase says:

    The way I see it is: In Africa, you don’t have kids spearing each other on accident.

    They are taught what a dangerous weapon is and how to and not use it.

  4. avatarRokurota says:

    It is amazing what respect wild boys have for things that are truly dangerous. My kid’s Cub Scout pack will improvise bows and arrows out of branches and have sword fights with PVC pipe. But when we brought out the big blades for knife skills training… well, let’s say I’ve never seen eight-year-olds in such concentration. Same with the BB guns. Even my 4-year-old, who asked to see my EDC gun, recognized there was something serious about it. They know where the guns are (but not how to unsecure them). They know they are not to be touched. They also know never to tell anyone about them. They know mom and dad have them for their protection. V-chips and internet filters don’t protect innocence. A gun-lock alone doesn’t prevent tragedies.

  5. avatarBlake says:

    I want to know what the F*** happened to this country.

    I distinctly remember growing up with with kids who’s dads had a gun rack mounted on the wall with various long arms proudly on display. Generally, ammunition for said arms was kept in the drawers built into the wall rack.

    None of us kids were really taught gun safety, but none of us got into the guns and played around with them.

    Of course, all of us kids had a healthy fear of Dad whooping the tar out of us if we got caught screwing around with Dad’s stuff, so, perhaps that was part of the reason we didn’t mess around.

    Seriously, every single kid I ran around with had easy access to firearms. Not one of us ever got into any trouble for shooting a gun without permission. Just as obviously, none of us ever shot anyone while growing up.

    Here we are, 45 years later and attitudes have changed about guns to the point where constant hectoring about gun safety is considered normal.

    WTF

    /disgusted off topic rant.

    • avatarRalph says:

      You probably didn’t get the memo. The intellectual elite of the USA decided over a glass of chardonnay that firearms are trés, trés déclassé and all those who own them are simians. However, they are perfectly content to have better men and women than themselves rescue their pernicious asses. Quel dommage.

    • avatarRokurota says:

      Well, Blake, you touched on a whole raft of things there. No kid is worried about getting the tar whupped out of ‘em because no parent wants to go to jail for “child abuse.” Which is moot because more often than not, “dad” doesn’t exist, or if he does exist doesn’t take parenting (the teaching his kids part, not the playing Halo with his kids part) seriously. The only thing anyone can do is teach his/her children right and have an answer for the inevitable “but so-and-so’s parents let him do such-and-such!”

      • avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

        +1 Blake! And Ralph and Rokurota! The Cujo stays in a state of readiness-if for nothing else, to annoy MikeB.

        • avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

          Just think MikeB! There is an RPK-magazine inserted-just sitting there in its case-Ooh, AAAhhhh! There are THREE shotguns in my bedroom-all loaded–Spooky! OMG I’m evil personified….What’s that sound…my American Wolf/St. Bernard doing “rounds” in the house, walking past my Beretta 9mm Carbine in the case-32 round satanic magazines nestled with it in the den with my range gear…watch out, the weapons could be possessed! Maybe I am walking around naked with goat’s blood on me, hailing our dark lord as my head spins around like a child’s pinwheel…Or maybe I’m just listening to the sounds of a calm and happy and secure home, waiting for the gun range to open Monday.

        • You know what Cujo, many of the gun-loving family members of gun-violence victims used to make the same sarcastic jokes as you. And when they used to do that, never imagining their kid would find the gun and kill himself, or whatever, they knew just like you do that gun control folks are not anthropomorphizing the guns. We’re saying that guns get misused by PEOPLE, by kids, by thieves, by angry dads. That’s why we need proper gun control laws including safe storage at home.

          http://mikeb302000.blogspot.com/2011/07/it-was-not-terrible-accident-it-was.html

  6. avatarRalph says:

    All my guns are safe. It’s the people with whom I come in contact who aren’t. My SD guns are readily accessible to me right now and all the time. My practice guns are locked away. The so-called “experts” are either FOS or on the payroll of the Joyce Foundation.

  7. avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    Hey MikeB, where are you-Italy? How did that guy Mussolini work out for them there? Wait, wasn’t he an ally of Hitler, so in tune with the murder of millions? Funny how he was a draft-dodger in 1902, then got over his pacifist ways, or cowardice, to become a dictator of such fine-cough-troops. Actually, hasn’t Europe caused more deaths than America ever came near to in numbers? All those centuries of war, murder in the name of some royal leader, some dictator, some religious group or another. But instead of remembering that, you want to concentrate on our “evils” and how backwards we are. But, wait…whenever war came to Europe in the 20th century,eyes always turned to us here in America. I wonder why, since we are so barbaric and uncultured as you are?

    • Cujo, now that’s a really mature and intelligent argument. I think I’ll take a pass.

      • avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

        Aw, but you Europeans are always so right and proper and bring us world wars…yet you continue to berate us. The three countries who always step up to the plate for Europe are America, Canada and Australia-sorry, also New Zealand. Yet you put US down!? Hell, the English slander Australia constantly, but Australia is still there to help save England’s ass everytime.

        • I’m as American as you are, man. Are you so small-minded that you can’t imagine living in another country? Would that make you stop being who you are? Would that stop you from being American?

      • avatarShane says:

        Well you might as well take them away then. But no matter what you take away people will always kill each other they done it way before guns. But I know it’s way more nowadays yup same old constant arguments forever from both sides.

  8. avatarMagoo says:

    Can we cite examples of home owners who were unable to defend themselves quickly enough because their firearms were locked or unloaded? Does this happen with any frequency?

    We do have numerous examples of children finding unlocked/unsecured and loaded firearms and shooting themselves and each other. It happens every week.

    • avatarBlake says:

      Yeah, and we have numerous examples of kids drowning in backyard pools reported every week.

      So, is the problem guns, pools or idiot parents?

      You’re just a trite talking point, Magoo. Not a single original argument or observation.

      • avatarRob Crawford says:

        Don’t give the nanny state any more ideas on what to ban!

      • avatarMagoo says:

        Blake, kids dying in swimming pools does not make kids dying by gunshot ok.

        When are you going to get tired of making excuses for irresponsible gun-owning parents? Personally, they’ve pretty much used me up. There is no excuse for a child getting hold of a loaded, operable firearm. A grownup needs to screw up bigtime to make that happen.

        • avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

          Sort of like the parents who leave their kids in a hot car here as they drink, shop or gamble. Oh, wait-I’ve heard of 4 incidents in the past 4 weeks of that here and none of kids finding a gun here at all lately.

        • You guys are masters of diversion. Magoo asked a good question. We continually read about kids hurting themselves with daddy’s gun. Do we have documented cases of gun owners who suffered because their guns were secured properly in the home?

        • avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

          Well for starters, they could be dead now…

    • avatarWilliam says:

      Since you’re so hot for citations…

      How about telling us where you got the stat that kids die this way every week. And take out the stats of gang on gang if you please and if you can.

      However, I find myself truly shocked to at least partially agree with Magoo. After looking at the facts, if the parents have been negligent then they should be held fully accountable and not coddled by the pro-2Aers.

      But Magoo should remember that there are plenty of dangerous things in our homes that we do not regulate in any sense. From the things I have read (I admit I cannot easily back this up) that kids are more likely to be killed through negligence involving vehicles, pools, and cleaning supplies. Negligence is the problem – not the inanimate object that has no agency and no morality.

      Since gun grabbers cannot present any evidence that the limited potential harm outweighs the safety and protection – I cannot allow my kids to not have the protection of their father including many options and tactics including the lawful use of firearms for home and self-defense.

      At lunch today, I had a state trooper at my table telling me how pleased he was that my kids were familiar with firearms and firearms safety. His professional opinion was that when firearms are handled responsibly that they contributed to the safety and well being of the people he serves and to his safety as well. That is purely anecdotal and perhaps meaningless for folks online. But this is a man I know. He’s a good man. He wants the best for the people he tries to serve and protect. I trust him.

  9. avatarMagoo says:

    If you want examples, just google the terms [gun child] and read the hits. You guys appear to be more interested in making excuses for guns and gun owners than in reducing gun injuries. That’s where your attention is focused, anyway.

    I’m not going to varnish this for you with PC bullshit. If you leave live, loaded guns where young children can get to them, you are not one of the responsible, conscientious gun owners. You are one of the idiots you thought were the problem. You have met the enemy and he is you. It’s an act of criminal recklessness.

    • avatarHunter S. says:

      I agree with Magoo. And I think that is the crux of Farago’s article… loaded guns and children don’t mix… lock them up safely or keep it on your person at all times. I don’t make excuses for someone who is too stupid protect his family from a danger that he/she ignorantly creates.

      But I also think that we shouldn’t rely on the government to legislate a safe home. All too often we see parents abdicating their parenting responsibilities to the government.
      It’s like when you bring up the subject of legalizing drugs. People wonder, “But how will the children know not to take drugs??” Umm I don’t know… You wake up and start parenting!!
      Bottom line… We should remember that property rights are a corner stone of what makes America different from other less free countries. Letting the government tell us how to run our homes is an infringement on those rights!

    • avatarRaph84 says:

      Magoo,

      That’s why it makes much more sense to carry on your person at home. There will always be 1 loaded firearm readily at hand, but out of the area of immediate control of any youngsters.

      It seems to me that you should be promoting this common sense solution…I wonder why you’re not?

  10. avatarRob says:

    When I was a toddler my daddy would not give me a cap gun. He took me in his bed room and showed me a revolver in his dresser drawer. He said, “Son this is a real gun. It is loaded. It will kill you or your friends. Do not play with it. Do not show it to your friends. I will teach you how to use it.” He did. My daddy died 10 years ago. That S&W is still in that drawer. A few months later on a rainy autumn night a strange man burst into our living room. This was before TV. My mother was washing dishes. My sister and I were stacking blocks on the living room floor. My dad set the paper down, stood up and produced a colt 1911 from nowhere. He stuck it in the stranger’s left nostril and said, “Mister, go sit on the porch until the sheriff gets here.” The party line phone call produced the sheriff an hour later. Dad sat in a ladder back chair with the gun in his lap watching the stranger until the sheriff got there. The stranger was very compliant. Apparent dad home carried. There was a loaded shotgun by the back door and a loaded 30/30 in the master bedroom closet. I’m the second oldest of four. My brothers, sister and I have literally fired thousands of rounds of ammunition without injury or negligent discharge. I have raised three children around loaded firearms. As children they slept in a room at grandma’s house they called “the armory.” My now 27 year old daughter could shoot great granddaddy’s S&W model10 rapidly inside 6 inches at 7 yards when she was 8 as could I when I was that age. My 81 year old mother still can too if she has a reason. Ignorance, greed, anger and hatred kill people. Sometimes ignorant, angry, greedy, hate filled people use guns. I live in a gated community protected by armed guards. My guns are locked up. It’s the community standard. When I move outside the wire I intend to produce a 1911 out of nowhere if a stranger comes uninvited through the door. My daddy is not an easy man to be around when disappointed.

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