28 Sep Where to Keep Your Handgun at Home
Handgun safety is a paramount concern if you’ve taken on the responsibility of firearm ownership, so it’s best to treat the issue with the utmost respect. This goes doubly if you have young children, as keeping your guns secure is key in reducing the likelihood of accidents around the house. For many gun owners (particularly newer gun owners), though, the question of how to store your guns is one that can be quite perplexing. Today, we’re going to delve into the variables you should consider when weighing your gun storage options, and provide some suggestions on gun storage devices you should be using.
First Things First: Know the Law
In November 2018, Washington passed a state ballot initiative — Initiative 1639 — that sought to alter state firearms regulations to deter gun violence. Though contentious, the initiative passed, and its provisions went into effect earlier this year.
The laws are something you’ll need to consider when contemplating how to store your firearms in the future. While the I-1639 doesn’t mandate that gun owners use a particular method of storage or store their guns in a particular part of their home, it does, according to HeraldNet, place new potential liabilities on gun owners:
“A person who fails to securely store a gun could be charged with a Class C felony if someone legally ineligible to possess a firearm uses it to injure or kill themselves or someone else. Punishment could mean prison or a fine of up to $10,000. In other cases, the owner who failed to securely store it could be charged with a gross misdemeanor.”
Are there caveats? Of course. As HeraldNet also points out, gun owners are not liable in situations where, “through unlawful entry, the theft of a gun is reported to law enforcement within five days of the time that [the] owner knew or should have known it was taken.” Additionally, liability only applies in situations where you (the owner) “knew or reasonably should have known the gun could be accessed by someone prohibited from possessing it.”
Still, though, the new laws change the gun storage landscape in Washington, and to ensure compliance with these updated rules, it’s best you use secured storage methods like lock boxes and gun safes. Next, we’ll be going into more detail on some of these options, and how you can use them to their maximum effect.
Secure Handgun Storage: The Safe
Far and away, one of the most secure methods for handgun storage you can utilize is the handgun safe. With proper positioning within your home, a handgun safe will keep your firearm out of the hands of children and potential burglars, while also granting you quick access to your handgun should you need it. That being said, not all handgun safes are created equal, and there are some qualities you’ll need to look for to make sure you’re getting the appropriate bang for your buck.
Can You Secure It?
First, for a safe to be truly secure, you have to be able to secure it to your wall or floor. Why, you might ask? Imagine, for a moment, if your safe wasn’t bolted down. It wouldn’t be much of a hassle for an intruder to simply pick up your safe, carry it back to their hideout, and break into it at their leisure with the proper tools.
What Kind of Locking Mechanism?
Beyond securing your safe to the wall, though, you’ll want to think about how the safe itself locks. At the most basic level you have your key locks. These are cheaper, and while they aren’t the most secure out of the pack, they provide decent enough security for the purposes of most handgun owners. There is a drawback, though, in the fact that you need to have your key present to open your safe. If you don’t have your key nearby (or if you’ve misplaced it) and need to access your firearm, you might have yourself a bit of an issue.
Mitigating that particular issue are safes with mechanical locks. These are the kind of safes that you’ll need to input a code into in order to unlock. Not only does that mean you won’t need the key to access your firearm, it means that anyone trying to break into your safe will have a have a tough go of it, having to try to guess the one correct combination out of thousands of possibilities.
And beyond these two popular options, you also have high-end safes with a variety of electronic and biometric lock options. These are fine if you want an added bit of security, but by no means a necessity for keeping your guns out of unwanted hands. In most cases, a mechanical or key-based lock will do the trick and satisfy the requirements of the new regulations brought on by I-1639.
Is It Durable?
You’ll want to make sure that any safe you buy to store firearms is a durable one. Cheaply-constructed safes, those that haven’t been welded together properly or use inferior materials, can simply be smashed with a hammer to get to what’s inside. Selecting a high-quality safe (typically made from steel and welded together competently), however, will help you ensure that your handguns (and whatever else you’re storing inside) stays secure.
Additional Questions to Ask Yourself
Finally, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions to further narrow down your options on what sort of safe will best suit your needs. Will you be storing one handgun, or two inside your safe? The more you’re going to be storing, the larger you’ll need your safe to be to accommodate the contents. Then there are things budget concerns, the location within your home you’ll be placing your safe, etc. Keep all of this in mind, and you’ll be able to locate a safe that meets all your personal specifications.
Admittedly, there are a lot of variables to consider when you’re trying to determine the best kind of safe to store your firearms. Thankfully, these are variables you don’t just have to ponder by yourself. If you ever have any firearms-related questions, feel free to drop us a line at Bellevue Gun Club, and we’d be happy to offer further guidance and advice.