Superior Safe (courtesy backwoodshome.com)

New York’s Nassau County is considering enacting a “safe storage” law for firearms owners (who have to jump over more hurdles to exercise their gun rights than Michelle Jenneke). “The measure, if passed, would allow the Nassau County Police Department to fine or arrest violators,” newsday.com reports. “First-time offenders would face fines of up to $250 and 15-days in jail for possession of an unsecured firearm. If the unlocked gun is linked to a death or physical injury, the owner could be fined up to $1,000 or face up to a year in jail.” Safe storage laws strike me as a slippery slope to home inspections. And we have child endangerment laws to take care of egregious safety issues in the home. Responsible firearms ownership — as interpreted and implemented by free Americans in the privacy of their own homes without government supervision. That’s our policy. What’s your take?

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80 Responses to DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: Safe Storage Laws. Yes or No?

      • I can support no laws for safe storage as long as prosecutors can nail parents for felony child neglect and felony manslaughter if a parent leaves a firearm available to small children and those children injure/kill themselves with those firearms.

        Disclaimer: prosecutors should be able to nail parents for felony child neglect and felony manslaughter if a parent leaves ANY harmful object available to small children … and that includes poison, knives, fire, pools, etc. in addition to loaded firearms.

  1. Hurdler Michelle Jenneke.

    There’s a “I’d jump that” joke in there, somewhere…

    As for the so-called “safe storage” laws, no. It’s already against the law to leave a firearm where a minor can lay hands on it. To enforce, the cops will have to find clever ways to slip/barge/talk-their-way-into homes and look for unsecured guns. Responsible gun owners already secure their guns; irresponsible ones won’t no matter what the law says.

    • Let’s expand on that a bit. SF was the first to require either “safe storage” or actual possession of a firearm on one’s person while in one’s own home, irrespective of whether there are any minors present or likely to be present. This is pure security theater; there is no way for the police to know if you are complying with the law unless and until they have another lawful reason to enter your abode (i.e, an emergency, a crime, a warrant), so it is essentially unenforceable. And as you’ve said, if a minor gets a hold of a firearm and injures self or others, there are criminal penalties that may attach, so really, what’s the point? The ordinance was designed to get as close as possible to the in-home D.C. storage law overturned in Heller without stepping over the line (since it still allowed you to have a loaded firearm in your possession, unlike the D.C. statute that did not.) Unfortunately, the SF ordinance was upheld in Jackson v. San Francisco by the Ninth Circus, and the Supremes declined review.

    • “Quit smoking pot and let the testosterone flow freely.”

      H’mmm.

      You obviously have never enjoyed ‘intimate’ relations while high…

      🙂

  2. Just another attempt by the Democrats to bolster the gun industry. Now everyone will have to go out and buy safes. Will they ever stop?

    • ” Now everyone will have to go out and buy safes.”

      I’d love to have that big honkin’ yellow safe in the pic.

      I could stuff my sister’s P.O.S. kid in there and never hear him scream…

      • I don’t think you could put that in any home or garage without first pouring a proper footing. But hey, if the brats are that bad…

      • Every day on my commute from south Austin to a further-south suburb, there is a gigantic safe just like that one, bright yellow and all, sitting in a parking lot on a trailer. Every time I see it I marvel that it hasn’t been stolen, but also marvel at the fact that anyone who steals it would probably be pretty easy to find.

  3. Here is what SAAMI (“The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute”) says in their publication, “SMALL ARMS AMMUNITION – Properties & Recommendations for Storage & Handling”:

    Ideally, home storage of small arms ammunition is in a locked closet or cabinet out of the reach of children and uninformed or incompetent persons. Both guns and ammunition should be stored out of sight and reach of children and others not physically or mentally capable of giving them correct, proper use and respect.

    SAAMI member companies include Glock, Remington, Mossberg, and Beretta.

    I can formulate no coherent argument for why such a basic, industry-endorsed standard should not be law.

    It will be a wonderful day when the Second Amendment’s champions figure out how to choose which hill to die on.

    • Because you can’t legislate common sense smart one. My house has an entire room dedicated to use as an armory. I store my weapons, armor, and ammo there along with tools, spare parts, and other supplies. 5 will get you 10 that despite this room being locked when there is a chance of unauthorized access, I would be “breaking” this retarded law.

      • So you can legislate speed limits, refrigeration of diary products, sterilization of dental picks, lead-free paint, asbestos-free roofing, and bunkering of high explosives … but in spite of all this you can’t “legislate common sense”?

        When you spout this nonsense, are you actually unaware of how glib and absurd you sound? … Or is that the point — to deliberately speak in daft, nonsensical bromides as a kind of “group signaling” that you are a bona fide member of the tribe?

        • Correct, your other examples should not be laws either. Laws should be punishment AFTER actual harm is done not before. It’s just common sense.

        • iowaclass, people regularly ignore speed limits, many medical offices have been fined for improper or short-cut sterilization procedures, there have been several instances of toys being imported from China with lead paint, and bunkering of high-explosives is a commercial-storage-only requirement.

          You can legislate anything you want, but that doesn’t mean you’ll change any behaviors. Passing a law doesn’t equate to solving a problem.

        • “Common sense” doesn’t mean what I assume you think it means.

          What it actually means is the tendency of people to do those things that are in their own best interests. That simply can’t be legislated. And neither can “laws” that prohibit actions and choices that “might” harm someone. We could discuss for hours the horrible tragedy that has followed previous attempts.

        • You can legislate whatever you or your elected representatives want. What you cannot do is prevent injustice or create utopia. Better to focus on limiting laws to those that preserve freedom, protect rights and motivate good behavior.

    • I can formulate no coherent argument for why such a basic, industry-endorsed standard should not be law.

      And that, my friend, is the heart of your problem.

    • It’s just another foot-in-the-door to whittle away our gun rights.

      They start out with small, “just lock it up somewhere” type laws. Then a gun is stolen or used by a mentally-ill person to shoot-up a school. “Why wasn’t it locked-up?” folks will ask. “It was!” other folks answer. “Well then, the law obviously isn’t strong enough, so we’ll have to make it stronger; now you’ll need a steel locker if you own guns.” Then after the next highly publicized incident, it is increased to a full-blown safe.

      Will it stop criminals from stealing guns? No. Will it stop devious or mentally-ill teens from getting access to a safe if they want it? No (they’ll just set up a small camera focused on the locking mechanism, and Presto!, they’ll have the combo).

      Before you know it, “safe storage at home” morphs into storage at government-approved storage facilities only (and before you say this could never happen, you should know it is the rule RIGHT NOW on most CONUS military bases, for non-married American citizen soldiers/airmen/marines/coasties living in dorm-type quarters).

      • Why then does the law require bunkering explosives? Isn’t that futile, since terrorists can get explosives anyway?

        • The laws governing commercial use and storage of large quantities of explosive are NOT what we are talking about, here, Nor are the other items on your silly list of commercial or outside-the-home regulations/laws, above.

          Two points: you can legislate anything you want, but that won’t necessarily change behavior (murder is against the law; how’s that working out?), and legislating behavior INSIDE the home is quite different than public or commercial behavior OUTSIDE the home.

        • Apples and oranges and you damn well know it. Explosives bunkering laws for private individuals are just as unconstitutional as “safe storage” laws.

          As for your “there should be no laws” argument… Do you understand the difference between things that are constitutionally protected rights and things that are not?

        • It is futile

          Any and all weapons are protected by the 2A

          We need those explosives to keep the govt in check

          Anyone with basic chemistry knowledge will tell you there’s no way to prohibit explosives

          A bit of googlefu, a bit of time and money, you can blow up a building before the cops trace your purchases to you

    • You can formulate no argument? How about the Second Amendment’s close neighbor, the Fourth? Such a law is either totally unenforceable, because law enforcement cannot search a person’s home without a warrant; something to use in criminal proceedings to tack on an extra charge, in which case it is entirely unnecessary; or it is another low-blow from the cowardly anti-gun types who can’t fathom their fellow citizens taking responsibility for individual safety.

      If you allow police to go into gun owners’ homes to check on their safe-storage compliance, then you gut one of the most pivotal protections a citizen has against his government. Why not install trackers on our cars to enforce speed limits or have random federal drug checks? Why not allow regulators to turn our houses upside down to make sure we aren’t violating any other obscure, pointless laws?

      These laws suck because how we choose to store our guns is none of the government’s goddamn business.

      • I’d like to call out the moderator on this one.

        If this “don’t feed the troll” comment stands against me, then delete my posting.

        Otherwise, delete his.

        Choose the kind of comment forum you are going to have.

        • How about a free and open discussion where you can say something stupid and people can call you out for saying something stupid? The 1st amendment does not apply to private parties, but free speech is still a principle worth upholding.

        • “I’d like to call out the moderator on this one.

          If this “don’t feed the troll” comment stands against me, then delete my posting.”

          iowaclass, unless your comments are personal attacks on another commentator or TTAG itself, it likely won’t be deleted.

          Excepting personal attacks, threats, or racist (read, the ‘n’ bomb) crap, TTAG is pretty much a free-fire zone for debate…

    • So how would you propose a law such as this one be enforced? Random inspections of homes? Who gets to decide what defines a ‘secured firearm?’ The same people who created the term ‘assault rifle’ to define nothing of the sort? Giving more authority and power to a government already functions as close to (and in some cases well beyond) the legal boundary as possible is a very bad idea.

    • “…stored out of sight” does not mean locked in a safe. As for your rant about not knowing which hill to die on, I’m not so sure you’re right in your assessment. This is a slippery slope to home inspections and villianization. For me this isn’t just a no, it’s a HELL NO.

    • Situations are different per household. ‘safe’ in one house may be unsafe in another, and legislating this, never mind enforcing it, without getting totalitarian, is a nightmare.

    • We all need to think about securing our guns.
      A gun-safe appears to be an attractive “solution”; until, of course, you consider the implications. A gun-safe simply attracts a burglar to a desired target. Unless one is willing to spend a lot of money on a really resistant safe, this strategy is (arguably) counter-productive. (Personally, I had such a responsibility for securing property other-than-guns. I schooled myself and invested in a $25,000 safe to be sure that no burglar would embarasse me.)
      Rather than promote $123 or $1,234 gun safes, I think we ought to promote finding/building hiding places that a burglar-in-a-hurry is unlikely to discover.
      Storing our guns in a shoe-box on a closet shelf is not a great solution. We can, and should, do better than that.
      Our best defense against safe-storage-laws is to be wise-enough to do the best job we can do to protect our property – especially our guns – from theft.

  4. MA has a statewide “safe storage” law, which requires that guns not under the control of the owner must be gun-locked or stored in a safe.

    Massachusetts also has an anti-sodomy law.

    Both the safe storage law and the anti-sodomy law are equally obeyed and equally enforced.

    For the most part, I do keep my guns locked up when not in use or carried, but I do so because I don’t want anyone to steal or otherwise mess with my guns.

    As far as the safe storage law is concerned, I suggest that the politicians can violate the anti-sodomy law by kissing my ass.

  5. Anything is fair game when it comes to making guns unafordable to the poor.

    Gotta wonder how much longer it will be before the right wing starts realizing that the class warfare argument works BOTH ways

    • The poor don’t care about guns. They care about welfare, SNAP food stamps, Medicaid and every governmental handout known to humankind.

      If they cared about freedom they wouldn’t be so damn poor.

  6. DC v Heller, page 3.

    “Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.”

    • These safe storage laws, as I’ve commented above, do not go as far as the D.C. law in Heller. They do not require disassembly, and you can carry in your home fully loaded as long as the gun remains in your possession. When you put it away is when you have to unload and lock it up. As an aside, the D.C. law also required that ammo and the firearm be kept in separate rooms, for some unknown but clearly benighted reason.

      • Why does it have to be in my possession to be unlocked? If it is in a drawer, I may intend to use it for my constitutional right, when the need arises. However, some local laws put a penalty on that. If only they had been reviewed before Scalia passed.

  7. Safe storage laws? No. How could a law possibly capture all of the unique scenarios that could make a particular degree of storage safe or not?

    Safe storage education? Yes. You create a culture empowered to make good decisions given the unique scenarios they are faced with if you educate them.

    Fixing with policy that which would be better addressed by educating the culture dis-empowers people and makes them stupid ultimately destroying the culture. That stupidity will translate to every other decision they end up having to make.

    Gun culture has been getting smarter and safer all by itself because it has become extremely education-oriented.

    • You hit the nail on the head, Don.

      Define “Safe Storage.” Or, more to the point, the anti’s don’t want it defined at all. They want laws premised on such vague and ambiguous terms; they want to call such ambiguity “common sense” so they continue to claim the moral high ground in the debate. Somehow.

      Problem is, what is “Safe Storage?” It can ONLY be defined after some event shows a given “storage” was not “safe.”

      It gives them ALL the power and control over the terms and the issue.

  8. The Gun Safe manufacturers lobby must be behind this. But Seriously, its like they just want to harass gun owners to the point we just say here take it. Laws like this don’t deter crime, and won’t stop a revolution and is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

  9. This is a perfect example of a reactive law, not a proactive one.

    Not sure how it works in Nassau County, but do gun owners surrender their privacy if they purchase/own a firearm? Do the cops have the right to inspect the premises at any time? If so, every gun owner in that jurisdiction has now incurred an additional expense of buying a safe storage mechanism to comply with the law. If not, this is a reactive law that only kicks in if there’s an incident.

    If it’s a reactive law, it’s pointless. If you mess up with your guns, existing laws will penalize you enough.

    And yes, a lot of places already have laws concerning unsecured firearms in the presence of minors.

    I can’t support safe storage laws, on the premise that there’s already enough penalties for negligence with a firearm. Lawmakers need to look at their own laws before passing new ones.

    • That’s pretty much how it works in Canada, where firearms are a privilege not a right. If you use a gun in a DGU, you have almost certainly broken the safe storage laws, unless your assailant is a tortoise.

      • I did a little research and found that in NYC itself, you sign away your right to privacy if you buy more than 4 registered handguns.

        http://newyorkcityguns.com/keeping-your-new-york-city-permits/

        “More Than 4 Handguns – NYC allows for up to 4 handguns on a premises license. Upon purchasing the 5th gun, you must prove you have a safe, and sign a waiver agreeing to spot inspections of your firearms in your home by the NYPD. There is no absolute limit on the number of guns you can own (at least none is stated anywhere I can find).”

        So basically if you have a small collection within the five boroughs, UK-style spot inspection rules come into play. Also read the fun part about only being allowed 200 rounds of ammo at any given moment.

        So they have safe storage laws, and the legal wherewithal to back it up if you own more than 4 pistols. I’m sure it’s a trivial matter to knock that limit down to 3, 2, 1, or more than zero.

  10. Laws like these sound great until real life experience intrudes. In this case, Canadian experience shows that there is a certain brand of busybody who will use the slightest mistake for extreme punishment. One of the important jobs that firearms advocacy groups do up here is fighting for unfairly charged gun owners- I’d say the majority of those charges relating to “unsafe” storage or transport.

    In the Ian Thomson self-defense case, when the prosecutor was unable to get him on any other charge, he tried to nail him with unsafe storage.

    A brief story- a group of men tried to firebomb his house. Ian Thomson used his revolver to drive them off.
    After winning the self-defense case, the crown tried to prosecute him on unsafe storage. They alleged that he could never have opened his safe, unlocked his pistol, loaded the ammo and then got it ready in the time he took to do so. It got down to them testing him with a stopwatch to see if it was possible.

    He won the case, but it was not cheap.

  11. Umm. Lemme thinka minute. urmm … NO

    If I need a reason, it would be that such a law would have no positive effect on any outcomes it would claim to achieve.

  12. Short, no. Long if there is a child issue it’s already covered by endangerment laws. Not only that but at the same time why is it anyone’s business besides the owners? It’s not.

  13. I have a law that will work.

    No safe storage law, but no sales taxes on gun safes either. If states want more people to buy them, eliminate the tax and have gun shops hang a sign that reads that gun safes are sales tax free.

    Simple!

  14. No.

    I love TTAG but this strikes me as an uninteresting questions given the audience.

    Although the Michelle Jenneke link is extremely interesting so it all works I guess.

  15. When it comes to common sense and safe storage laws, I can only rely on my own personal experience. For a long time, when I had a firearm in the home, keeping guns unloaded and hidden and the ammo locked away was sufficient for our family’s so-called “safe storage” needs. The girls really had no interest in dad’s guns. They knew to leave the guns alone, and frankly didn’t care to mess with them. Then my son came along, and as he got older developed a fascination with the guns almost as strong as dad’s. Common sense dictated I pick up a safe to lock the guns up in, so he’d quit trying to dig them out. The guns are now locked up, although the ammo boxes are not in the safe. Common sense and a firm understanding of our family’s needs say this is sufficient for the time being. If I need to eventually get a bigger safe to also lock up the ammo, I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.

    Responsible gun owners have enough common sense to figure out what their needs dictate, and to act on that. Additional laws will never force common sense into an irresponsible gun owner’s head.

  16. Gun Safes take lives.

    The bodies of Bonnie Freeman, 54, and Dallas Freeman, 33, were found at the scene Friday night. Investigators said both victims were shot several times. A firefighter said they noticed the injuries and immediately called the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith said as many as 10 arrests could be made in the case. He also said a safe with guns inside was stolen from the house. Crews were able to recover a lot of the stolen property Monday.

    Remember this one? Instead of waiting until the house was empty to rob it, they forced a family member to open the safe, then executed the family and burned the house to cover the theft and murders.

  17. No. A law making it a requirement to have “safe storage” would be nearly impossible to enforce and would be yet another infringement on privacy rights (especially in the home). It would become yet another “crime” tacked on to a myriad of other crimes since the only way the police would notice would be if they were called there for some other reason.

    My question to all is, would a law still be too far on the slippery slope if it specifically defined that if your unsecured firearm is used by a minor to injure another person outside of self-defense then you as the owner are liable for civil damages to the victim or victim’s family as negligence?

    There would not be a requirement for searches of one’s home to check compliance (unless your homeowner’s insurance policy requested it), nor would you be criminally liable. Should you lose your defense case you would assuredly be put into bankruptcy.

    This along with zero sales taxes for safes would be the financial carrot and stick approach to reducing accidental child-on-3rd party discharges (which is a statistically small event anyway) without creating another level of criminality or encroaching on the 4th amendment. It also only punishes people after an actual harm has occurred.

    • I’m not keen on the civil liability angle as it’s simply far too easy to abuse and sets a shaky precedent, but I have long thought tax breaks through write-offs and sales tax credits would be a far more constructive way to encourage use of safes, bearing in mind that they are no substitute for responsible parenting and education.

      Tom

  18. It is a crying shame that a police department so openly confesses that it cannot protect you and your property.

  19. They have such laws in Australia.

    In practice, it means the police can drop by your house and check for compliance. Of course, to check the compliance of this law, the police also needs to know which guns you actually have, thus requiring some kind of registration. Does anyone want this in America? I’m no constitution lawyer, but that doesn’t sound all that good to me.

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