Firearms can be a valuable tool to protect yourself, your family, and your property in the event of a home invasion.
But if you choose to keep a gun in your home, it’s crucial to be aware of the life-threatening risks you take on by doing so.
In homes with guns, the risk of both accidental shootings and suicide is four times higher, and the risk of homicide is three times higher.
That’s why, especially if you’re a parent or frequently host gatherings with small children, it’s absolutely essential to practice proper gun safety at home.
Follow along as we cover the top gun safety tips to secure your firearms and minimize the risk of suicide, unintentional shootings, and other firearm-related accidents at home.
1. Invest in Safe Storage
This gun safety tip is the first on our list for a reason.
Investing in a lock box (or gun safe if you have multiple guns), and trigger locks is the best way to prevent unwanted firearm use.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for gun owners to store their firearms in accessible areas without a trigger lock…
And the result is hundreds of injuries and deaths each year due to unintentional shootings by children. Just last year, there were 301 unintentional shootings by children across the United States, which led to 180 injuries and 133 deaths.
Kids are naturally curious, and without these gun safety precautions, the likelihood of accidents like these is simply too high.
Purchasing a trigger lock for every firearm you own, keeping them in a secure gun safe, and placing the safe in an inaccessible area will ensure no one—especially children—can use them without your say-so.
And, of course, be sure not to reveal the safe’s password or where you keep the key to anyone you don’t want to have access to your firearms.
2. Unload & Lock All Firearms Not in Use
As we learned above, storing firearms loaded and unlocked can have disastrous consequences.
In addition to unintentional shootings, a staggering 40% of kid and teen suicides over the past decade involved guns—nine out of ten of which were found in their parents’ or a relative’s home.
When they’re not in use, turn on the safety on all your firearms, unload them, activate the trigger locks, and store them in your gun safe.
And if you’ve just come back from a session at the gun range, safely storing your firearms should be the first thing you do.
3. Lock Away & Store Ammunition Separately
Lockable ammunition boxes are easy to find online and an excellent investment to upgrade your gun safety at home. Just make sure to store it in a completely separate location from your firearms.
This gun safety tip is an additional precaution to ensure that if someone bypasses your gun safe and trigger lock somehow, they still won’t be able to use your firearm.
Although it may seem like too many steps to use your gun, just remember that you never truly know what someone is going through. If they’re determined to find and use your weapon, every additional security measure could mean the difference between life and death.
4. Always Handle Your Firearms Safely
Now that we’ve covered what to do when storing your firearms, it’s time to discuss safe handling practices.
When handling any gun, whether at home or at a gun range, always point the muzzle in a safe direction. That means never pointing it towards anyone (including yourself), and always pointing it down range (if you’re at a gun range).
Even if it’s unloaded and you’re entirely alone, it’s best to practice this strategy every time you pick up a gun to ingrain it in your mind.
Also, unless you fully intend to pull the trigger, keep your finger completely outside the trigger guard. It only takes one unintentional shot to injure or kill someone, and this gun safety tip goes a long way toward preventing those accidents.
As soon as you’re done using your firearm, turn the safety on, unload it, and safely store it in your gun box.
5. Educate & Review
If you’re a parent and your children are old enough, make sure they understand gun safety guidelines and review with them often.
Project Child Safe, an organization dedicated to providing education on gun safety, offers a few essential tips every child should know about firearms:
- Don’t go looking for guns in your house or a friend’s house. Don’t let other kids look for guns in your house.
- If you find a gun in your house—or anywhere else—STOP! Leave it alone. Don’t touch it. Don’t let anyone else touch it. Leave the area and be sure to tell an adult at once.
- Even if a gun looks like a toy, don’t touch it. Some real guns might look like toy guns, so don’t take a chance. Leave the area and immediately tell an adult.
In addition to these tips, Project Child Safe has a library of valuable information on gun safety at home, including how to approach difficult conversations with young people who may be struggling with mental health.
If you’d like to learn more, you can check out their website here.
6. Set Yourself Up With the Fastest Way to Get Help in an Emergency
Gun safety at home isn’t just about storage and handling practices.
You also want to have a plan of action in case an accident happens despite your security measures.
It goes without saying that gunshot wounds can easily be fatal. So there’s no time to waste when getting help in a firearm-related emergency.
But if you want fast, hassle-free emergency response, 911 isn’t the way to go.
Talking with a dispatcher takes precious time you don’t have, and the risk of being placed on hold, getting rerouted, or going unanswered is simply too high these days.
For the fastest way to get help in an emergency, trust the Rescu app.
With Rescu, help is always two taps away, 24/7.
In a crisis, sending an emergency alert is as easy as tapping the service you need—fire, police, or ambulance—and then tapping “Send Alert.”
Rescu’s private UL-Certified dispatch center ensures you’ll never have to deal with delays, and the app stores your pre-registered home address so first responders immediately know exactly where to go.
Your emergency contacts will also receive a text message whenever you send an alert, so they’ll know you’re in trouble and can provide you with the support you need.
Guns should never be treated like toys, and getting help during a gun-related emergency should never be left up to chance.
Round off your firearm security plan with an ironclad emergency response system. Download the Rescu app today to elevate your gun safety at home.