Do you know exactly where guns are stored in your home? Storing guns safely inside your house or apartment is extremely important. Guns must always be stored in a way that limits unauthorized access. Guns that are left unsecured can be prime targets for theft or unauthorized “borrowing,” and they can be hazardous if handled by someone who is not trained on gun safety concepts. You as the gun’s owner have a responsibility to keep them out of the wrong hands. It is possible that you could be held liable for bad things that happen as a result of neglecting to secure your gun. For this reason and to protect yourself from theft, it is a good idea to keep guns securely stored in your home. There are many different techniques for effectively storing guns and keeping them out of the wrong hands. A few solutions are free-standing safes, mini gun safes, and built-in gun room/closet.
Free-standing gun safes are exactly what the name implies. They stand upright on their own when placed on a level surface, and are completely enclosed on all sides except for one door, which can be opened by entering a secret combination. These safes, depending on their size and dimensions, can hold between half a dozen and several dozen guns, documents, and valuables. One of the advantages of a free-standing gun safe is that it can also be used to store documents and other valuables in addition to guns. The walls of these safes can also sometimes be insulated with a fire-resistant material, which can help protect your guns and valuables in the case of a home fire.
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Fire resistance ratings for these safes are normally measured in the number of minutes that the safe can withstand the temperature of a fully-involved home fire. You can expect to pay several hundred dollars for an entry-level safe that has no fire protection and thin walls. Larger safes and those with fire-resistant qualities can easily cost between $600 and $2,500 dollars, depending on size and fire resistance rating.
Most devices used to store guns, are secured with a combination rather than a key because keys can fall into the wrong hands. Combinations cannot fall into the wrong hands unless they are shared with others verbally or in writing. However, people may be able to watch over your shoulder and figure out what your combination is if they are in the same room and have the opportunity to see you open the safe. Safes can be equipped with mechanical combination locks (usually the lower-cost safes have these) or digital combination locks with a 10-digit keypad. It is normally possible to re-program these digital combination locks with a new combination. If possible, it is a good idea to change the combination on a gun safe periodically (every 90 days or every time you think that someone might have seen you open it). There are also safes on the market that have biometric scanning devices installed on the locking mechanism. These are programmed to read a finger or thumb print, which makes them potentially more secure than other types of locking mechanisms.
“Mini” gun safes are an option for those who need quick-access to one of their smaller guns, or for those who own just one single gun for home defense. These types of safes typically cost between $150 and $300 depending on the type of locking mechanism and level of security (the ones that have Biometric scanners will typically cost more). They are typically large enough to hold one full-sized pistol such as a Ruger GP100, Springfield XD9 or Glock 21. The advantage of this type of safe is that it is cheaper than a larger safe but still helps keep one gun out of the wrong hands. These safes are available in models that sit on a flat surface and also in models that can be mounted on or recessed into a wall.