3 Circumstances That Affect How You Store Your Firearms and Ammo

Minor children in the home? No space for a big gun safe? No worries. There is a solution to gun storage issues for any home-life scenario.

by posted on February 16, 2024
Yackley Firearms Storage 1

Let’s hypothetically assume we are helping a friend develop a preparedness plan for their family. Since we embrace the Second Amendment, firearms will be included as part of that plan. Here a few ways to store firearms and ammo for emergency use, based on different household situations. Each method will be for a different sort of home life, and the considerations needed to ensure safety.

1. Families with Small Children
This type of family needs a plan where firearms and ammo are locked in a safe that is accessible to only adults. A large gun safe takes more time to unlock and open, but if long guns, handguns and ammo need to be stored, then a full-size safe is an ideal option.

Organizing the firearms and ammo by type, maybe even with magazines loaded and on the top shelf of the safe, is a good method.

Some parents who use a large safe also choose to keep an immediately accessible firearm in a lockbox near their bed. These types of safes can be very secure and are where many people chose to keep a loaded handgun for home defense.

Make sure minor children do not have the safe code or keys, or know where they are stored. Keep ammo stored out of reach inside the safe. You can even keep it in a locked box inside the safe. Obviously this will make it take longer to load a magazine and a firearm, if you need it. This is why so many people often keep a lockbox or handgun vault in their bedroom. They keep one firearm ready to use and others locked securely away.

2. Households that Do Not Have a Safe
There are some households who do not have a safe or the budget to buy one. There is always the option of using a gun lock. These can be obtained for free from Project Childsafe and your local law enforcement agency. The lock is simply to lock the action open, so children or anyone else who might find it cannot load it. It’s basically just making the gun inoperable, unless you have a key. 

Similar to a large gun safe, storing a gun with a lock through the action that makes it inoperable means it will take longer to get the gun unlocked, loaded and ready to use. However, with the liability that comes with owning a firearm, especially if you have children in your home (and in some states it’s even law if you have minors living in the home), a lock is better than nothing securing the firearm.

Storing ammo in a locked container or drawer would add another layer to this method. If you have small children, or your children bring friends into your house, storing magazines in a separate, locked container, separated from ammo, is wise (and again, in some states required by law).

If you don’t have small children, loaded magazines in a locked ammo can would decrease the time required to load and use your firearm.

3. Vaults or Locked Rooms
Some people chose a locked room or vault for their firearms. There is a difference between a vault room and a locked closet or bedroom. Vaults usually have reinforcing features like fireproof walls and special doors. Closets are not usually reinforced.

Often, parents of inquisitive children will put their safe in a locked room. This is not a bad plan, even without children. It affords another layer of protection for your firearms from theft or unapproved access.

Ammo can also be kept in a vault or locked room. If you have children, again, using a high shelf would be an additional step to keep them from accessing it.

You could also leave one home-defense firearm ready to use in a vault. But the danger of doing this is like the danger of leaving any firearm loaded: Whoever handles it must know it’s ready to shoot. 

Rounding Things Up …
Overall, following the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety when handling any firearms, especially while removing them from storage or putting them away, is the sure way to be safe with your firearms.

Setting up our firearm storage should be done to accomplish a few goals:

  • To protect ourselves legally
  • To keep children safe
  • To still have a means of accessing the firearms for home-defense

Every home, family, and situation will require refining our choices for what is happening there at that time. It is beneficial to understanding that more layers and separating guns from ammo helps to protect our children.

There are going to be people who tell you an empty gun is useless, etc. However, there have been studies that document the time it takes for a sleeping adult to fully awaken and cognate situations; it’s not a split-second thing. In the end, it comes down to personal choices and what you are bound to by factors such as your local laws. But good nightstand handgun vault should be on every homeowners list of “must haves.”


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