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Over at fox4kc.com, former police officer Brandon Plunkett runs through a number of options for locking-up your guns inside the home. Great landing at the wrong airport. While locking up your firearms is a good idea to protect children from harming themselves and others, not to mention making your guns that much harder for bad guys to steal, it’s not the idea. Teaching your kids the four safety rules is the thing. After all, other families might not lock up their guns. Or you may forget. Or clever kids may crack your code/find the key to your safe. And what if one of your kids needs a gun for self-defense in the home? Do you lock-up all your guns?

108 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Lock Up Your Guns?

  1. No. No kids at home. We do have a gun locker but have not set it up in the closet yet. But we will before my 75 year old mother comes to live with us.
    I will still keep my FNS9 loaded and chambered in my night stand table at night.

    • We don’t have kids at home either, but I generally keep them (all but my carry piece) locked up in the big safe downstairs or the pistol safe upstairs. My carry piece is either on me, or within arms reach. I like to always have at least one handgun ready to go, and keep several loaded firearms in each safe.

    • Guns are expensive and can be fatal. Not locking them up or hiding a firearm separate from its magazine is irresponsible and unsafe.

      I keep my guns locked in a gun safe to:
      1. Keop them in my control and away from thieves,
      2. Prevent access by children (including any visiting children)
      3. Protect them from in case of a fire and other potential disasters.

      At night I hide my carry weapon close by with loaded magazines hidden separately. I’m the only one in my household who knows where the firearm is and the magazine. My wife hides her carry weapon and magazines separately too. We challenged each other to find the others’ firearm and magazine. In 6 hours, neither of us could find the others weapon and magazine.

      If you are a hermit who never has visitors, your mental condition is too unstable to own firearms.

  2. All the guns are locked up in either the big safe, or in three Gunvault safes that are near the front door, inside the hall closet and one on my side of the bed. All are loaded and all family members are trained on safe firearms handling, access to each safe and know the operation of the pertinent firearms in each safe. We have lots of kids around, my kids don’t tell their friends we have guns. We keep this quiet.

    • Absolutely irresponsible – unless you lock up your kids at night.

      Kids have visitors, often overnight visitors. When the parents were asleep, we found lots of things that we shouldn’t have found when we were kids.

    • I would suck to be shot with your own gun by a criminal Obama supporter who broke in while you are gone. .

  3. No kids here, but when I lived with the step-children I always thought it would be wiser to leave the guns out and lock up the kids.

  4. some guns are in the safe, but 4-5 are in far easier to access places. as a kid, I got my butt whooped for even thinking about playing with guns and guess what? no accidental discharges at my house, ever. My future children will be taught the same way.

  5. If it’s not under the direct supervision of an adult it’s locked up. All except the mosin. It’s too frickin’ tall to fit in the safe so I lock its bolt in the safe.

    I don’t stress over thieves getting my guns. If they are willing to break into my house they are going to. The safes we average homeowners generally have won’t stop a real thief. Should I feel guilty or responsible for the actions of a thief? He could steal my silver stash and then buy a gun on the black market or steal my car and run over an innocent. Am I guilty of wrongdoing then?

    The only reason I lock any of my guns up is we have small kids in and out of our house. Protecting the grand brats is my concern.

      • That is why I have the M44 Mosin. It fits in the gun safe. 🙂

        That said, I use to store the rifle and bolt separately before I had a safe.

        • Yeah I missed out on a lot of the cheap nice M44 and M38s. Around 2009 I walked out of the LGS on an M44 that I thoroughly inspected, and down to the rifling it looked like it just came off the Izhevsk floor. I still remember it was $150.. Oops.

    • That reminds me. I invited a vampire into my home this morning. They can only cross the threshold if you invite them or they have a warrant. Actually it was a police officer investigating a hit and run. My son was driving home from his girlfriends house (long story) and his insulin quit working. He lost consciousness, took out a mailbox, ran off the road into a ditch on the other side of the road. The truck was stuck a mile from home and he was unaware that he had damaged anyone’s property, so he walked home and we changed out his insulin (still trying to get it down to normal).
      I stayed with him while my wife on the way to work stopped at the scene where the police were present. She explained it all but because of the mailbox damage, he had to cite my son for failing to maintain and leaving the scene.
      My son was still groggy from the high glucose so when the cop came to the house, I invited him in to get my son’s statement. I had my Glock 19 on my belt, an AR 15 leaning on the wall between my bed and nightstand with the bedroom door open and visible from the front door. I had an AR mag that I was working on, and my scope that I just took off my rifle, sitting on the table between my son and the cop. Behind the officer was an upside down clay pigeon full of .223 brass I picked up out of the yard after shooting yesterday and a pile of 9mm brass.
      Officer Smith (that’s really his name) was very nice and said to show the judge the blood sugar readings on the meter and he would likely drop the charges on the leaving the scene and perhaps the traffic violation as well. The only mention of weapons was when he said “Make sure your son’s hunting knife is still in the truck. You never know about these tow truck guys”.

        • At one time my County was the fastest growing County in the Nation. We added to those numbers when we moved here. It had a low crime rate and great Public Schools. We were late comers to joining the armed citizenry but I believe the amount of gun owners in this County has a lot to do with the success of this community.

  6. Yes, I have a dog (we all know they are dangerous with Firearms!) and it is also the law. I use a safe and trigger locks. Now if I were legally able to; they all would still be, except for one that would be on my person all the time.

  7. No. Used to when the kids were younger, but no longer. They are adults now, own guns (that I gave them), and have no children of their own, so I don’t worry about it when they are here.

  8. My long guns are locked in my gun cabinet and my handguns are locked in either the safe downstairs or the little one in he bedroom. Anything not locked up is with me. I don’t trust that they will be secure from grandchildren when they stop by and visit unless they are locked up.

    • So your son/daughter have been to irresponsible to teach their offspring safety. You lock your kitchen so they cant get to the stove, household cleaners or knives? Stepup grandpa and teach the little crumbcrunchers yourself if the parents are so stupid/useless.

      • Please share with us the pictures of the locked and loaded shotgun/pistol/or rifle you keep hanging above your child’s bed, because you obviously have complete faith that stern words alone are the only necessary deterrent against firearm misuse.

  9. Yep, locked in a case in a locked closet. Got a toddler, as soon as he’s old enough to understand, he will be taught.

  10. Well, it’s required by law where I live “unless carried or under control of the owner.” So: yes, of course, my firearms are stored in accordance with state law at all times. Like I’d say otherwise even if they weren’t.

    • I wish my dogs were as much under my control as the guns. The guns have never piddled on the floor or jumped on the visitors, not even once.

  11. My father kept our 22 Marlin in his bedroom closet. I knew exactly where it was from the time I was old enough to shoot it. I never even contemplated touching it. He kept a pistol in his top dresser drawer. He showed it to me, but we never shot it. I don’t ever remember hearing about kids getting their hands on guns and bad things happening in the 60’s-80’s. Personally, I think the progressive messaging that guns are bad is much more responsible for kids getting into trouble with guns than anything else. My pistols are in a 4 drawer safe. Rifles in my closet. My 17 year old daughter and I shoot every weekend. She would NEVER touch a gun without asking. We lock up when we are not home.

  12. I always carry, even when home so I lock any handguns I’m not carrying in an inexpensive safe. It won’t keep a determined older-child out much less a criminal but it will keep my 3 year old out.
    My rifles are disabled by removing the firing pins.
    In time I may upgrade to a better safe but it will not be a substitute for teaching my kid firearm safety and proficiency (which we have already started on).
    Remember that just because your guns are secured doesn’t mean that is the case in someone else’s house (where you kids will be playing).

  13. No. No kids at home, just 5 cats. If the cats figure out how to use the guns, we’ll all have much bigger issues to deal with…

  14. i have one unsecured loaded gun (an LCR in 38sp). I currently have a 2 year old daughter. It is kept in a place that is physically IMPOSSIBLE for her to get to at present. The minute i think that’s even close to changing it will be moved or locked up.

    all other firearms are kept locked up.

    • It’s a Lightweight Compact Revolver! Move that sucker to a pocket. 😉 it’s just too easy to carry. Why not carry it?

  15. Nah, I’m on my own, and my visiting friends know not to screw around with them. I routinely have a pair of loaded (but holstered) handguns on my computer desk that I pick between when I go out. XDm Compact for everyday IWB, and P226 in a Safariland to OC when I want to. The rifles and other “just for fun” handguns are in a rifle bag, the factory case, or some sort of case in the closet, but the only lock between the world and them is the lock on my front door. The AR is an exception, that’s leaning against the wall in the closet outfitted with a Streamlight and soft-point .223 for a dark and stormy night.

  16. My conundrum has been the statistic that my home is much more likely to be burglarized when I’m gone than invaded when I’m home. So an unlocked gun is more likely to be stolen by a thug than used in my own defense.

    I’m searching for ways to hide a few guns such that they are readily accessible by me but unlikely to be found by burglars. Like a hidden compartment in the headboard of my bed.

      • Thanks Michael.
        I’ve seen the tactical walls. I don’t know if they make one big enough to handle a shotgun or carbine. I may need to make something similar.

      • I’m trying to find a place in my pad to hide a handgun that will be “instant” accessible. In the wall is a top consideration.
        However, I don’t think I would want the “mirror” thingy. After this thing being video posted, probably every bad guy would know about it. It’s too “obvious”

        • Michael in GA
          If you just want it “handy” when your home, why would you go to all the trouble and expense of the mirror thingy?
          I keep mine on a shelf by my recliner. I leave a pc. of paper over it just to hide it from view.
          I also always have my little magnum mouse gun in my pocket, but it’s not quick to grab when your sitting down.

        • I can only speak for myself as to how I would use this system. I believe the mirror hiding place is for when you have friendlies over and don’t want to be seen home carrying or just leaving guns out in the open.
          I believe placing the hiding place by the door determines philosophy of use rather than it being an Ideal hiding place. A false bottom in a drawer sounds like what you are talking about but that is not the point of the product. I don’t have a hiding place for my guns besides under my shirt but I see where someone might use this product.

    • “What’s a “lock?”

      I don’t understand. What do you mean “lock” up your guns?”

      It’s what you use to keep an ‘honest’ person from stealing, er, ‘borrowing’ your guns without your express permission…

      • I have a shoe box full of those locks (mostly made in China) somewhere. I probably have one with just about every gunmaker’s name on it. The contribute to items I call “space junk.”

  17. Front door locked.. back door locked. windows locked.

    Yup, guns are all locked up. (live alone, no kids.) I do have a “gun security cabinet” that my long guns are in.

    However I do tend to keep a handgun in the nightstand too.

  18. No kids, just 2 of us. A few handguns placed strategically around the house hidden, but not locked. A few locked in quick-access type safes. The rest locked away, but mostly so that bad guys can’t get them without a lot of time in my house.

    You have to gun-proof the kid, not kid-proof the gun. Most kids will be able to figure out how to gain access!

  19. My guns are in safes however they are not locked as my kids are gun smart. However when company comes over the locks are engaged.

  20. I lock mine up in my safe, with the exception of my HD shotgun and my carry gun. Everything else is in there because while I have insurance, I’d rather not use it.

  21. even though all my “kids” are adults, all my guns, except my EDC is locked up, cuz I never know who they are inviting into the house. My youngest son allowed a friend to sleep over in his brother’s room, with his unsecured firearm. First and last time that ever happened. You just never know who is going to be invited over.

  22. I see the question in political terms; and, I think we should all give some thought to politics as well.
    First, the kiddies. I don’t think that they are so much the real problem as they are a perception problem. Every gun keeper has to make his own determination as to how to keep guns away from his own kids based on his knowledge of those kids and the risk of being mistaken. Also, remember, if your own kids are well trained but have friends who play-over at your house, those other kids won’t necessarily be well-trained.
    Gun accidents are gradually dropping and they probably can’t get much lower in the hands of responsible gun owners. (This statement says nothing whatsoever about irresponsible gun owners. Children living in crack houses are going to die of accidents.)
    With respect to the kiddies, we PotG need to remind the public that we really do practice safe gun-keeping. That’s the politics part.

    Second, guns getting “into the wrong hands”. We suspect that a significant fraction of illegal guns became illegal by being stolen. PotG, this is an issue for which WE are responsible. If we don’t do a good-enough job at either hiding or locking-up our guns this chicken will come home to roost on our doorstep. It will lead to calls for safe-storage; which will lead to standards for storage and inspection (a la the UK). It is both in our individual and collective interests to minimize the number of stolen guns. Maybe we should have discussions on these boards around what works and what doesn’t work.

    I have NO illusion that after drying-up the stolen-gun source-of-supply that it won’t be replaced by another source. Trafficking, straw-buying and devil-may-care selling of guns will increment. Increases in these sources of supply will generate pressure for UBC.
    After UBC (if it comes to that) there will be home-made guns bringing a tightening of the regulation on amateur gun making and parts availability. Ultimately, smuggling FROM Mexico and the Caribbean.

    Ultimately, making guns less-available is a futile effort. Creating a public image of we PotG doing what we can to make guns less available to kids or criminals is an overall part of maintaining the initiative in the gun control debate.

  23. No, I don’t.

    I don’t have kids in my home, so I don’t need to, and if there ever were anyone else in my home, it would be likely that I would need quick access to my gun because of them. It is stupid to assume that everyone has kids, and therefore it is stupid to make the argument that they should always be locked up or away. Even if kids (or other invited guests) did come into my home, I would then have my gun on me so there would be no way for them to get it or harm themselves with it.

  24. All my guns are loaded and unlocked. I live alone so I don’t see a problem with it. I think it’s safer. I will never make the mistake of assuming any gun is unloaded because they are actually loaded.

  25. Funny you ask mine are locked up an secured in my safe at a bottom of an unnamed lake due to a tragic fishing accident

    • I’m not sure whether to compliment you on buying a boat capable of hauling that much weight…or insulting you because you didn’t make sure it could handle the weight.

      Must be a bitch to have to use scuba gear to get your guns.

      • “Must be a bitch to have to use scuba gear to get your guns.”

        There are ways around that.

        Get creative, or ask in the survival-prepper forums.

        Enough ammo in the Pelican case with the gun and it sinks quite nicely…

  26. All my guns are loaded and unlocked. I live alone so I don’t see a problem with this. I consider it safer. I

  27. Just one adult and dogs. All firearms with the exception of my every day carry P229 are in an electronically secured closet with tamper proof hinges. I can enter the code, open it and have a high power rifle of (Russian heritage) in my hands in 6 seconds, chamber a round and shouldered in 10 seconds. (yes I just timed it) I figure the extent of my safeguards are prudent and sufficient for any likely threat. Oh course, video surveillance and the four large dogs provides a lot of precious advance notice. As we all know, dogs hear things we don’t and my camera system has sound and the dogs watch and listen to that also. If they see or hear anything on the monitor, they bark and alert me. When I’m in my castle, I’m safe. Anyone with bad intent, as Doc Holiday would say, “it’s your daisy”

    The only ones that seem to ignore the obvious, Mormons! I could have dead bodies hanging from a noose out front and they’d still bang on the door.

  28. All but two go into the big vault. I keep one in a fingerprint safe and a shotgun locked on a shotgun rack in my closet. My oldest is 8 so having them accessible for them to use isnt a concern (yet).

  29. Yes, every firearm is locked up when I am away from home. The kids that are old enough and wife know how to quickly access rifles and pistols in need.

    I do not leave unsecured firearms out because I don’t want a family member to come home a tweaker that found it.

  30. Pretty firm believer of in your control or in your safe.

    That said, there is a quick access box for the HD gun, anyone who may need to use it has access, and enough buffer space that I am not worried about deploying it in time.

  31. I worry that locking up my guns may traumatize them and lead to emotional instability as they grow. I wouldn’t want any of my guns, or your guns for the matter, to just “go off” on their own some day.

  32. Yes, I do. Mostly because the wife is paranoid about potential misuse of handguns. She’s not anti-gun (she owns and carries one), and the kids are responsible and know all the safety rules, but she has this fixed idea that handguns sing the siren call of suicide to all teenagers.

    I don’t agree, but I can’t fault her for being worried. So the guns all sit in a big safe with a digital lock.

    At my insistence, we run surprise run drills to verify that we can get one ready to rock in less than 30 seconds from anywhere in the house. And I carry most of the time when I’m home, anyway. And my son is really into knives, so whenever the kids are home alone, he has options that range from the standard belt knife to a boot knife, a tomahawk, or even a spear.

    It’s not how I’d do things if it were entirely up to me, but it’s an acceptable compromise.

  33. Do you lock-up all your guns?

    No. Don’t now. Never did. Can’t see myself ever doing it. We raised a house full of children having never owned a gun safe and never used a trigger lock. The little bastards learned gun safety early. 😀

  34. I live in (Southern) California and I lock my guns – all of them.
    They’re most of the time locked in the safe – sometimes, even with locks going through the magazine well (instructed so by the .gov).
    I have two children, who ARE trained to guns safety (by the way). I don’t lock because I truly think it’s safe – especially within my family, we’re trained and healthy folks – I do lock because I fear the consequences from the .gov folks.

    Confession over.

  35. Yup, they are locked up if they are not on me.

    I have small kids, they have cousins that visit both when I am home and not at home. I also don’t want it to be easy to walk off with. I have gun vault by the bed, but everything else is in one of the big safes.

  36. Nope. Only have a chinese pardner pump currently. No little kids. If I go out I unload and hide it.

  37. I lock up what I don’t carry. My two kids are educated in handling firearms. They are 17 and 8.
    They know how to access them and there is an absolute respect for these tools on their part.

  38. In Her Majesty’s colony of New South Wales, it is mandatory to have a safe that has to pass inspection. But inspections are rare and I’ve had TWO in 15 years. The first when the inspections were required and the second several months after moving house.

    I consider theft to be a higher risk than the need for self-defense, and the latter will get you in more trouble than the assailant. So mine are locked up until range day (most Saturdays).

  39. This post to me seems to me as one being posted by a anti-gunner. Why would someone post such a question unless they are probing the gun community to find out their security habits. Further more do they think that we are Moran’s in that we would actually answer this question to begin with. Remember BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING ALL OF US.

  40. Some of them are, but not all. All Class III firearms and suppressors are locked up, as are the really nice (expensive) firearms. That’s more to protect my investment into them from thieves than to stop them from being used against me.

    I keep a loaded pistol with a light beside the bed, another pistol that’s either on my hip or beside my wallet/phone/keys when I’m sleeping, I have a few on the wall as decoration (AR, AK, FAL) that have magazines nearby, and a shotgun stashed in another quickly accessible location.

    I do not have children, but will probably keep this setup when I do have kids as well. I was raised in a house with unlocked firearms cabinets and never murdered anyone; knowing the price for playing with my dad’s guns would be far worse than any fun I could have with those firearms would be worth.

  41. OOPS. I quess I’m a little late to this question . And I guess some of this community could fit the status I previously stated. Come one .Start using your brain. After all this is the INTERNET .Any one could be probing our answers and no one said it was a secure site..

  42. Yes. I have a 2 year old who can get into the most amazing places. I found up 5′ off the ground in our closet (about 2 shelves down from where the AR used to live). So now if I’m not wearing it it is locked up.

    We’ve got another one that’s a month old…so it’ll be a minute before they are OK to not be locked up. I don’t use a real safe–they’re huge and expensive–but I have a hard sided locking case. Or two.

  43. I keep all my long guns locked up in a cleverly disguised safe, handguns in another separate safe, minus my 1911 that lives in a pistol safe in the bedroom when it’s not on my hip. no kids, very few visitors, but there have been a few break ins near my place and I’d be pretty upset if a few of my most prized possessions walked away

  44. 4 layers of security… If a thief decides to take a crack at my place, I will almost feel sorry for him. If I am home when he does, god help him.

  45. Yes. Most guns are in a large safe. The carry handgun has its own little safe with a PIN to store it when not carried (I don’t carry at home). The bedside handgun is also in a PIN safe, and then there is a shotgun on the wall downstairs which is in plain sight, but has a fingerprint receiver lock.

    The large safe is mainly to prevent theft, and also because there are loaded magazines around so it’d be easier for someone to grab a gun and shoot it if they were so inclined (including any home invaders, or just stray neighbors’ kids if I forget to close the garage door). The other guns are locked because they are loaded and ready to fire, and I don’t want to go through firearm safety crash course with every single guest in my house.

  46. No kids in the house. Most are unloaded and locked safely away in a safe. There are 10 handguns, one rifle and one shotgun loaded and out of sight within easy reach around he house, plus a couple of more in each car. I think of this as a balanced approach to firearm security.

  47. All 3 of my kids are under 3 right now, so except the one I’m carrying, they’re all locked up. They will learn to be safe with them when they are old enough.

  48. They aren’t now-but after the baby coming this june starts to become self propelled, then yeah, they’ll either be in a holster on me or my wife, or locked away. Which means her habit of carrying in her purse is gonna have to change. (or lock her purse-she’s got one where the pistol compartment has a lock on the zipper.)

  49. Guns may or may not be be locked up in a couple of gun safes. Keys and combinations are on me at all times. Some guns are loaded. Doggie alarms and defenses may or may not be in the house. No human kids are in the house.

  50. All of my guns which are part of my home defense plan are kept loaded at all times. If I had extra guns that weren’t part of my home defense plan then yeah I might consider locking them up, but unfortunately I don’t have that many. Yet.

  51. Well, sort of….no. 3 grandkids. The older 2, 9 yo – girl and 11 yo boy both know darn well that all they have to do is ask to see, handle, dry fire any of my weapons WITH PERMISSION. If we can’t get to the range I’ve got a air soft so they can practice AFTER they recite and practice the 4 rules. Now with the 3 yo, we put the loaded ones away, I’m not that stupid. The older ones know darn well that if at a friend house and said friend brings out a firearm they are to GET OUT FAST. Go home and tell their parents or to call me. We go over this constantly as we do with the rules of safe handling of firearms.

  52. My rifle and pistol are both locked up, however I can only find the rifle at the moment. (they’re just trigger locks). We rearranged a bunch of stuff in the basement and I’m not exactly sure which container the pistol ended up in…

  53. Why not do both.
    We recite the 4 laws of firearm safety before every trip to the range, at the range. when we are home, everything not strapped to an adult is secured.

  54. During the day, my two carry pistols are on me or locked in a car safe. Everything else is in a safe at home. At night I have a shotgun by the bed and a S&W M&P 9L on the nightstand. When guests come over or when we stay with someone else the shotgun goes in the safe and the M&P goes in a Gunvault quick access safe next to the bed. No kids in the house normally.

  55. Everything but my carry weapon is locked in one of two safes, with the ammunition in a separate locked metal container.

    My carry weapon is either on my person or stored in an out of reach location if only myself and my family are around, because I trust my own kids to follow the rules. If anyone is visiting with children and I’m not carrying, the door to the room in which I keep the loaded pistol is locked because I don’t trust anyone else’s spawn. But I ALWAYS have a weapon easily accessible (IE not locked in the safe).

  56. “Teaching your kids the four safety rules is the thing. After all, other families might not lock up their guns.”

    My kids will be taught the four rules when they are old enough to understand it, I am not worried about them. My guns will stay locked up because they will have friends come over that most likely haven’t been taught those rules. Both are necessary.

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