Merrick Garland
Attorney General Merrick Garland (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)
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By Larry Keane

The Biden administration this week tried to take a gun control victory lap, but stumbled badly over facts coming out of the starting blocks. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a press release ballyhooing a new Department of Justice (DOJ) rule telling firearm retailers they must provide secure firearm storage devices for sale to their customers.

It sounds good on paper, especially if someone is trying to make a political statement. That’s all it is, however. Attorney General Garland might have been better off issuing a press release stating the DOJ affirms the good work the firearm industry has been doing on its own for years when it comes to safe firearm storage.

The only thing new about this is that an anti-gun presidential administration is attempting to take credit for what is already being done.

Still the Same

The DOJ published their press release announcing the new rule for the new year, along with a Best Practices Guide for federal firearms licensees (FFLs). The rule says it codifies a Gun Control Act provision that requires all firearm retailers to certify that they do, in fact, offer some sort of secure storage option for sale at the same location from which firearms are sold.

That includes a safe, gun safe, gun case, lock box or other device that is designed to be or can be used to store a firearm and that is designed to be unlocked only by means of a key, a combination or other similar means.

NSSF notes, however, that firearm retailers have already been doing this. Firearm retailers have had to certify to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) when they apply or reapply for their federal firearm license that they make secure storage devices available for sale. This rule handed down by Attorney General Garland only implements what’s already being done. This is nothing new or Earth-shattering, despite what the Biden administration would have you think.

Firearm retailers didn’t need a law or a rule to sell secure storage devices. It’s good business. Firearm retailers offer safety products because customers want them and need them. The same goes with the safety training. The new rule wasn’t needed.

gun safe handgun storage
Courtesy Amazon

If anything, this is a tip of the cap to the work NSSF has been doing for decades to promote safe firearm storage. Since 1997, firearm manufacturers have been voluntarily providing free locking devices with each new firearm they ship from their factory. That’s a lock in the box of every new gun. Some manufacturers had already been providing free locks for decades.

Beyond all that, there’s already a law that requires what firearm retailers have been doing. The bipartisan Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), that President Joe Biden wants so desperately to scrap, includes a provision called the “Child Safety Lock Act of 2005.” That portion of the law requires firearm retailers to provide a safety locking device with each handgun they transfer.

child safe lock
Courtesy NSSF

Industry Leading

None of that includes the voluntary programs spearheaded by the firearm industry to ensure all firearms not in use are securely stored. The firearm industry’s Project ChildSafe is one of the foundational components of the Real Solutions. Safer Communities campaign to promote voluntary efforts that provide effective answers to firearm ownership concerns.

The firearm industry openly advocates that every firearm not in use should be stored securely and out of the reach of individuals who should never possess them. That includes all unauthorized users, from unsupervised children to prohibited individuals to those who might be suffering through a mental health crisis. This has been especially important as millions have become first-time gun owners over the past two years.

Project ChildSafe partners with 15,000 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states and five U.S. territories and has distributed over 40 million free firearm safety kits, which include a locking device. When properly installed, these locking devices render a firearm inoperable and prevent an unauthorized person from the consequences of negligence.

This program isn’t novel, but it is lifesaving. It has been recognized the Government Accountability Office and the National Safety Council’s Green Cross Awards for its efficacy. The free gun locks and safety kits program was expanded to include the Department of Veterans Affairs in conjunction with another Real Solutions component of suicide prevention. Even President Biden, when he was vice president, told NSSF we were “doing good things” with Project ChildSafe.

Education and Options

The secure storage campaign doesn’t focus on mandates or requirements, but education about the best safe storage options for gun owners throughout their lives. The storage options for a single adult living alone are much different than they are for a married couple with children. Even as children grow and families change, safe firearm storage options change, too.

Some individuals might opt for the cable-style locking device or a trigger lock accessed by a key. Others might be better served with an electronic lock box or RFID-equipped small safe. Traditional large upright safes might be a better option for others. Each firearm owner should periodically assess their own firearm storage needs and adjust as lifestyles change.

Liberty Safe
Courtesy Liberty Safe

The firearm industry has been at the leading edge of this education process. Many firearm retailers will explain the differing options and help customers choose the secure storage options that work best for them. Firearm manufacturers provide a locking device in every firearm sold at retail. Combined with those distributed through Project ChildSafe, that tops over 100 million free locking devices distributed in the past 20 years. Many retailers keep these same locks on hand to distribute to customers that may need extra.

These voluntary efforts to promote safe storage of firearms in the home has been a bedrock of the work the firearm industry does to promote safe and responsible gun ownership. The DOJ Final Rule doesn’t do anything new and it doesn’t change the work the firearm industry will continue to do to be a leader in this effort.

Th DOJ’s Final Rule isn’t new. It’s a way of the Biden administration of saying they endorse the work already being done by the gun industry, without having to actually say it.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


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  1. We all have our problems with Mitch McConnell, but if it wasn’t for him, that sleazy scvmbag Merrick Garland would be on the Supreme Court.

  2. “free locking devices with each new firearm they ship”

    You apparently learned about “FREE” from fedgov. I want a refund on the various (useless) POS cable locks that I have been FORCED TO BUY since 1999. “Free” – my ass.

    • ” various (useless) POS cable locks ”

      Well, mostly useless, anyway. They probably work well enough to keep a curious child from doing any damage. But if the gun is stolen those locks are going to slow someone down for maybe a couple of minutes. I tried this myself, having a surplus of cable locks. I took one out to the shed to see how long it would take to cut that cable. A hammer and chisel got the job done in about two minutes. A grinder with a cut-off wheel took about twenty seconds. Bolt cutters are the least effective, since the cable tends to squish, but even those only took a few minutes. Bottom line is, it takes more effort to steal the gun than it does to defeat the lock.

    • You were forced to buy them?

      How were you forced to buy your “(useless) POS cable locks”?

      Firearms manufacturers don’t charge extra for them, they are provided free with the purchase of the firearm.

      Check your police or sheriffs department and see if they have them, many do and will give them away for free if you ask for one. Here, anyone can walk into the sheriffs department and ask for a gun safety kit and get the lock and information pamphlets.

      Gun stores have them too. Here you can walk into any gun store and ask for one and if they have them they give them to you for free.where you are might take them, they do here.

      Some firing ranges also keep some on hand and are free for the asking. The range I sometimes use here keeps a big 50 Gal drum full of them free for the taking and if you have some to donate you drop them in the barrel.

      They are free all over the place. I’ve never heard of anyone being “forced” to pay for one.

      • Locks are often “bundled” with the gun by the manufacturer. Does that mean that they are free? I don’t think so. I think it means that the price of the gun includes the cost of the lock.

        When an FFL provides the lock with a gun purchase, the cost of the lock is part of the price paid for the gun.


        • You could say its not necessarily free because the gun must be purchased to get the lock that comes with it – in that sense you could say it costs something in terms of getting it physically, but monetarily its free from the gun manufacturer.

          From the manufacturer the lock is a separate ‘bundle’ item that’s free and its just included with the gun physically, and not as an item additional cost rolled into the gun cost.

          I’ve never known an FFL to charge anything extra for a cable lock when you purchase a new gun. Over the years I’ve bought hundreds of guns new and used and never once has that cable lock cost me anything from an FFL.

          Where are you guys buying your guns from where you are forced to pay for that simple cable lock? Do you let your selves get screwed like this all the time? The next time you buy a gun don’t let them charge you for the cable lock if the gun is new from the manufacturer, the lock is free from the manufacturer and any FFL that would charge you for it is not an honest FFL. If the gun is used ask them to throw in a free cable lock. Your paying at least a few hundred dollars for a used gun (sure maybe you get something really cheap but even then) and if they can’t throw in a cheap cable lock for a used gun then the heck with them.

          You can buy those cable locks all day long, depending on where you get them, for less than $3.00 in a lot of cases. In bulk of 100 count they are less than $0.50 each. I’m pretty sure an FFL can throw one in for free.

          You can get them around here all day long for free from any gun shop without a purchase, just walk in and ask for one. Here, you can get them at the firing ranges for free for the ones that keep them on hand, just ask. Here you can walk into the sheriffs department and get them for free just by asking. Heck, here the hardware store even keeps some around and you can get them for free just by asking.

          What country are you guys living in where you are forced to pay for that cheap cable lock?

        • Let’s pretend gun manufacturers were required to include 1 ounce of gold bullion with each gun sold. The price of the gun would be $3k, but you get free gold. A cable lock might be a dollar or less, but it is a cost to the manufacturer, which is passed on to the consumer along with some margin tacked on, as is advertising, transportation, corporate taxes, etc.

        • @Anymouse

          Lets pretend we live in the real world where that cable lock is provided ‘in package’ with a new gun from the manufacturer and there is no cost for it included in the price for the gun nor separately for the customer purchasing the gun.

          Sure, there may be some cost to the manufacturer for the lock but for the customer purchasing the gun there is none. Simply because the cable lock is ‘in package’ physically with the gun does not mean the manufacturer cost of the lock is passed on to the customer in the price of the gun nor does it mean the customer is also paying for the lock.

          In business the cost of doing business is not always passed on to the customer, somethings are just given away as ‘good will’ or ‘promotion of something’ or ‘accomplishment of something’ or as a ‘feature for product appeal enhancement’.

          Could there be a gun manufacturer which would roll their couple of cents cost of that cable lock into the price of the gun? Sure there could be.

          Could pigs be said to be flying if you put them on an aircraft and take off? Sure they could.

          You can come up with all sorts of different angles to all sorts of things claiming that correlation equal causality but the reality here in the non-pretend real world is that correlation does not equal causality.

      • Rolling my eyes; shaking my head; LMAO at you Booger. Priceless is not free. Booger, you probably think the stimulus checks were free money from heaven…, government. Ever heard the old adage…There are no free lunches? Well, that applies to gun locks as well. If the gun company including a “free” gun lock with your new gat is making a profit, then you are paying for that free lock in their Cost of Goods Sold. Free locks from Fire Department… shit paid via taxes. Free Stimulus money? NO. Government has zero money save that which they steal….er, tax…..from Productive Citizens, then “give” as “free shit” to the Free Shit Addicted Government Plantation Dwellers. Obummer phones?? Free Shit paid by Productive Citizens. Free Shit is a great wealth redistribution from Productive Citizens to Non-Productive Citizens/Illegals. Politicians…aka Government…..see We The Little Peep Productive Citizens’ money as their to skim, scam, squander, launder and pocket, and with which to buy votes of the Non-Productive Free Shit Addicted Government Plantation Dwellers….of which Ole Booger may be one based on demonstrated lack of a clue about free shit.

        • to StLpro2A

          Well said Stl, well said and completely accurate. Booger Brain must be high on drugs or drunk on his ass most of the time so that is why his rants seldom make any sense

        • Stop being ridiculous. How many times have u been forced to pay for that cheap cable lock?

          They are free. No one is forced to buy one.

          Is this another posting name for you dacian?

        • @StLPro2A

          One day you might understand the difference between government involved taxes/ stimulus money and gun cable locks provided for free by a commercial entity.

          Oh and by the way this “Free locks from Fire Department… shit paid via taxes.” – if these are the cheap gun cable locks being discussed that are supplied ‘in package’ with guns from the manufacturer – those types – outside that inclusion provided by the gun manufacturer these were not provided with tax dollars, they are provided for free from ‘Project Child Safe’ and are given away free of cost and don’t cost the tax payers anything. If a fire department chooses to go and actually buy some to give away then you need to be complaining about it because ‘Project Child Safe’ will give them the locks for free.

      • Due to vagaries and ambiguities in the California law on the subject, FFLs were requiring buyers to purchase a SECOND lock irrespective of one being included, I suspect because they wanted to be sure to have a record that a lock was sold with the firearm. I’ve bought several $10 locks…It is much less of an issue now than it was before. I haven’t bought a lock in a number of years. Then again, I have a safe and can sign the safe verification, and skip that problem all together.

        • You were getting screwed Mark, period. California has a standard for the cable lock, if it meets the standard you only need one. All of the cable locks that U.S. manufacturers include with new guns meet the California standard.

  3. I’ve used my collection of cable locks. Especially the one from Mossberg. Better than harsh language but short of impregnable😎

      • Gun locks in socks make great massaging tools for intruders. Intruders have a habit of stumbling in the dark and striking their face upon my socked gun lock. Terrible stumbling accident.

        • An athletic sock with a fist full of pennies does the same thing but leaves no tell tale impressions…

  4. And remember Biden has not given up on a Safe Storage law either which would have some teeth in it to prosecute shiftless, lazy and irresponsible gun owners that leave guns laying around the house that results in the death or injury of their children or children that come over to play. Such a law would also drastically cut down on smash and grab robberies as well but the Neanderthals that oppose such a law are too damn dumb to know it just might save their gun collection from being stolen. Its far to complex for the Neanderthal mind.

    • dacian, The number of deaths resulting for “lazy gun owners” leaving guns out is miniscule. What you really want is the elimination of gun ownership period. Tell the truth! With you it’s all about control over the people.

    • As I asked below, how would you enforce storage laws? Punishment after the fact doesn’t prevent the act. Random inspections are not a workable solution when depending on whose estimates/surveys you choose to believe, between a third and one half of households in the US have or have access to firearms. You would have the majority of local and federal LEO’s just checking on firearm storage. I would propose a combination of education, starting in elementary school, of firearms safety, and harsh penalties for criminal misuse of firearms.

  5. A number of years ago a firearms dealer I bought several firearms from ran a program of giving free cable locks out with every firearm sold. Even if the manufacturer included one in the box. About half of the locks ended up in the trash can outside the front door and recycled back into the free lock program. The shop finally just started asking if the buyer wanted a free lock.
    Safe storage of fire arms is a great idea, but, mandating it is a fools errend. How do you enforce it? Same thing with mandating safes or lock boxes. How do you enforce it? ATF is not any more likely to follow up on storage mandates than they are on denied back ground checks. And local LEO’s likely have more pressing issues than checking up on non criminal firearms owners to see they are properly locking up their firearms.
    A better solution would be to make the penalties for criminal use of firearms unpleasant enough to convince potential criminals they may not want to commit the crime.

    • If you happen to use your firearm in self-defense, more than likely the cop would ask you if it was locked up before you retrieved it. Give the wrong answer and you will find yourself riding in a patrol car where you will be booked along with the perp after his trip to the county hospital if he survived the encounter. That’s when it will be enforced. It will be used to punish people who dare to protect their property from folks who have suffered the indignity of slavery and prejudice and are only claiming what is rightfully theirs.

    • Skateboards will turn you into a murderous pedo. Making you the perfect recruit for the ss/antifa.

      Burn that skateboard immediately.

  6. “Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a press release ballyhooing a new Department of Justice (DOJ) rule telling firearm retailers they must provide secure firearm storage devices for sale to their customers.”

    As with most things with this Brandon Administration, they are two steps behind the rest of America. I usually donate my extra gun locks to my local PD. The chief says there are folks who constantly ask for them.

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