Pro Tip: Keep Your Gun Safe Locked

Maryland boy gun safe trapped

Courtesy Howard County Fire and EMS

When I was a kid, there were public service messages on TV about preventing kids from playing in or around refrigerators. Some of the little urchins liked to climb inside where they could suffocate.


That came to mind when we heard the news of a 5-year-old Maryland kid who’d gotten himself trapped inside a gun safe.


A mother called 911 at 12:08 p.m. to report that her child had somehow gotten into the safe and was locked inside. A fire department crew arrived eight minutes later, spokesman Brad Tanner said.

Firefighters immediately started reassuring the child and drilling holes in the safe in case there was no air inside.

It’s hard to figure how this happened without someone — another kid — locking the door once the kid was inside. Fortunately, all’s well that ends well.

The child spent at least 40 minutes inside the safe and was freed by 12:46 p.m. There were no guns inside.

The child was scared but was released to their parents “in good spirits.” Officials declined to say whether it was a boy or a girl who was trapped.

Whether there are guns in your safe or not, keeping your safe locked is the safe thing to do.


  1. avatar Ralph says:

    A few years ago, a boy was intentionally locked inside a gun safe in a store by his older brother. Fire rescue was called and released the child unharmed. It seems that the safe was not airtight, so the kid was never in physical danger.

    What I don’t understand is why there was so much drama. Couldn’t the safe be opened from the outside with the combination lock?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Fire rescue? Bullshit flag! Why not just have the store open the safe?

      1. avatar Anymouse says:

        It was at a Gander Mountain in Franklin, WI. The boy who closed the safe fiddled with the keypad too many times and put it into 20 minute lockout mode.

      2. avatar Not Larry from Texas says:

        Harder than you think. I jokingly closed a friends safe that he bought and lost the combination too. They had to send out a service technician to open it up for him. They won’t give out the combination for a causal event I doubt they would for a “emergency .” Just easier to have EMS open it and hope they have insurance.

      3. avatar Supermike says:

        From my experience, half the time the halfwits working at the stores have NO idea where the keys or combinations are located. They are just ‘floor models’.

  2. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Well Duh,If one doesn’t keep the door shut and locked on a safe why even bother with a safe.

  3. avatar jwm says:

    I know folks that have gun safes with no guns. They store documents and other valuables in them.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Fire safes are for documents. They have insulation and a certain amount of protection from a fire if it’s contained quickly enough.

      Maybe some gun safes are insulated for fire, but mine certainly aren’t.

      1. avatar Bob says:

        Mine has a fire rating on it and a seal that expands when it reaches a certain temperature to help protect the contents for a certain amount of time. Also, safes with electronic combinations have a mechanical “key” backup to open it. Should be behind the control panel when removed.

        If its a combination lock, the combination cannot be changed without a locksmith or other mechanical means of changing it through partial disassembly. Just my 0.02

        1. avatar KK says:

          No, you don’t necessarily need a locksmith to change a combination, and it does not have to be disassembled. It needs a change key that is inserted in the back of the lock to make the change. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, or don’t have the change key, then yes, you might need a locksmith.

      2. avatar neiowa says:

        A “Fire Rating” starts and 2hr. Less than that it’s just smoke/mirrors BS

      3. avatar joeyj says:

        then, you merely have a metal box……Stack-On, etc.

        1. avatar Tom Carlson says:

          I use a Stack-on 14 gun cabinet and a Cabelas 2 door 10 gun cabinet. The fire ratings combined with the low value of my firearms and my insurance coverage led me t the conclusion that a locked metal cabinet will work for my needs.

          The cabinets are quite a bit more portable than the safes.

      4. avatar Tom Carlson says:

        I work at a Cabelas. I sell probably 3 or 4 safes a week. Fire ratings on the ones we carry generally are 30 minutes at 1200°, 45 minutes at 1200°, 60 minutes at 1400°, or 75 minutes at 1200°. At least as much as I can remember off the top of my head.

    2. avatar arc - the annoying one says:

      Tbh, I would store my artwork and stories in it one. Can’t replace a decade of drawing and writing.

  4. avatar Whitest Gook You Know says:

    I use mine more like a rust prevention box. Don’t know why you’d keep it open letting all the moisture in. Annoying to chuck in bags of flower drying crystals just to get it ready for storage.

  5. avatar LifeSavor says:

    My gun safe is a decoy to keep the bad guys busy and focused so they don’t notice that the guns are mounted on my office wall.

    Just kidding.

    They are on the living room wall.

    1. avatar Geoff "Ammo. Lots of ammo" PR says:

      *Snicker*… 😉

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      A claymore and pressure switch would add to the illusion nicely.

    3. avatar frank speak says:

      purchased a bunch of denix replicas to display all over the house..[very realistic!]….while keeping the real ones handy,.. but out of sight…tends to confuse people…and provides a distraction…

      1. avatar SkyMan77 says:


    4. avatar SkyMan77 says:

      Now that’s my kind of art collection!!!

    5. avatar R. Corrino says:

      I keep mine in my 9 yr old’s NERF gun chest. I hope he knows the difference when he plays cops and badguys with his friends tomorrow. Ah well, i know he can handle a 10mm…………

  6. avatar Virgil Caldwell says:

    You would be surprised at the safes in Wal Mart and Academy Sports that cannot or could not be sold because they were delivered without a key or someone lost the key. Happens all the time.
    I work at home and work out of my safe so it is open most of the time. Locked when I am away or the grandkids are here.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      I can attest to this – there was a 12 gun safe at a local feed store that no one could open. It was half off, and the manager said half off that if anyone could open it. The combination was on the safe. I couldn’t open it. My wife did. We brought it home. Seems people were getting the first number of revolutions wrong for the first digit of the combination. Have had it for a few years now and it opens every time I get the combination correct!

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        i had combo to a friends safe who passed. his brother wanted in there. utilizing my high school padlock skills didn’t work- i called a shop to learn you start turning left for first number. the last spin was clockwise until it stopped.
        only time i ever opened one…

  7. avatar Big Bill says:

    Most gun safes aren’t safes, they are gun cabinets.
    And I’ve never seen one advertised as hermetically sealed (airtight).
    While circulation from outside the safe is certainly curtailed, I doubt a child could suffocate inside one, like they could inside a fridge.

    1. avatar enuf says:

      ^^^___ What Big Bill says, eggzactly so ___^^^

  8. avatar enuf says:

    Safes? Don’t need a safe. Have several Stack-On steel gun cabinets. Come in a flat box, assemble at home. Lag bolts to the frame of the house.The function is to keep idle hands off the boom sticks. Though I do believe teaching them about boom sticks is the better option, along with them not being idle. But during those years when neighbor young persons could be visiting, the Stack-On metal gun cabinets, built-inside a walk in closet that itself had a solid door and frame with a deadbolt just always worked fine.

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:


      I will be re-building a closet soon. Looking at Stack-on right now. Thanks for the tip.

    2. avatar lew says:

      Gun cabinets that are hidden are a great idea in that the best defense is that it is hidden. BUT hardened / reinforced door and frame do nothing to prevent someone from tearing through the dry wall adjacent to the door or coming at it through another adjoining wall. I know…I had a friend that is exactly what happened to him. They didn’t touch the the door, they went around the door.

    3. avatar GS650G says:

      Stack ons are junk compared to the cabelas boxes. I had the stackon and the lock broke necessitating breaking in which was easy. I have another steel box with double locks that is ok but still not as good as the cabelas.
      Cabelas makes single and double door steel cabinets that are far superior in design and construction. If you can do a real 600lb box it’s the next best thing.

      I’d rather have a real safe but can’t do one in my place.

      1. avatar Robert A says:

        Zanotti, 100% They come apart, are easy to move, are very secure and are made in America.

        1. avatar Biff says:

          I bought a Zanotti when I lived in an apartment and knew I would be moving. They are pretty solid compared to a Snap Safe.

  9. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    People have room to fit a kid in their safe? Yeah, with gun safes, if you have a kid sized space left in your safe, you aren’t doing it right. Or maybe you are just at the range for the day.

    Those guns just breed like rabbits, next thing you know, the safe is filled up.

    1. avatar Todd in the sticks says:

      That happened to me awhile back. I realized the safe was getting pretty full so I bought another one. Then I realized there was a lot of empty spaces, so I bought some stuff to fill them. Seems like some kind of chicken and egg thingy…

  10. avatar American Patriot says:

    There’s a lesson learned…..Bet he won’t do that again.

  11. avatar shiggs says:

    Gun safes are a joke. They always tout how strong the doors are but never how thin the sides and backs are. You can cut one open in just a few minutes. That fire rating? Yep, it’s a lie too.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      You miss the point . It’s part of a larger security plan and beats under a bed or sitting in the closet. But you do you.

      1. avatar shiggs says:

        Oh, I got the point. Sold the junk safe and bought a real vault. Dang thing was expensive. Had to save up for a long time to get it. But thanks for letting me control your emotions.

        1. avatar John says:

          You’re not a very good troll, are you? Keep trying, I’m sure you’ll get better. Good luck.

  12. avatar LifeSavor says:

    Everybody knows you do not allow kids in the gun safe unless they are potty-trained.

  13. avatar Jimmy Beam says:

    Like anything else concerning gun safety, the good god Darwin plays a big role …

  14. avatar Eric Bishop says:

    Who has enough room in their gun safe for a kid to fit in? An embryo couldn’t fit in mine, let alone one of my seven year olds. That reminds me………I need to buy a bigger gun safe, or just put a vault door on my spare bedroom.

    1. avatar Darkman says:

      Turn the bedroom into a vault room. Won’t cost any more than a good quality large safe and will hold a lot more toys.

    2. avatar StLPro2A says:

      Three friends and I bought a closed bank building just for the vault for our guns. Removed and sold most of the safety deposit boxes for extra room. Turned the offices and lobby into a man cave……fantastic hang out. Still ended up putting several additional AmSec safes in the offices for lesser value overflow guns. Life is good.

  15. avatar Jeff says:

    I had a stackon gun cabinet, my wife hid the keys and forgot where she hid them. We had to call a locksmith to open the cabinet. It took the locksmith less than five minutes to open the lock. I learned my lesson that day.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      putting all your guns in one place is never a good idea…for a number of reasons…..

  16. avatar Pete says:

    Kind of like saying to keep a can opener in your fallout shelter, glaringly obvious.

  17. avatar Phillip R Forman says:

    By chance I met and became friends with the only real criminal I have ever met—-a Willy Sutton type bank robber—big time jewelry store armed robber —and—-collectible coin expert and thief—-he eventually pulled 10 yrs in Leavenworth—that is another story for another time—-the point is—-I asked him one time what he did about home safes in the closet—–his response was “we don’t try to break in the safe—we steal the safe and take it to our shop for easy entry”—my “gun safe” is attached to my house with one inch stud bolts boogered on both ends with channel iron on the bottom attached to the floor joists —-I figure it would take a huge John Deere tractor to pull it out of the closet and through the exterior wall—–maybe a big Ram could get it out by jerking but I bet it would pull the under carriage out first—BTW the combo is written on the bottom inside of the medicine cabinet in the loo——pfc bum f**k

    1. avatar ME says:

      They would use a chain saw if they wanted the safe, but they don’t. In this age of battery powered cutting tools anyone who can walk into a Lowes and walk out battery powered cutting wheel can open a safe in 15 minutes. Safes keep the honest people honest. And BTW, now they know what tools to bring to your home.

      1. avatar StLPro2A says:

        Old Harley riding buddy was a locksmith. His favorite comment was, “Locks keep the honest and the terminally stupid out.”

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