Gun safety is of the utmost importance to law enforcement and military officials. Not only do improperly stored guns increase the risks of an accidental discharge, but in facilities that handle suspects, an unsecured gun gives the suspect a chance to damage the facility, injure an officer or even escape. Storing your gun properly when you are not using it not only protects the gun, but it also protects you, your co-workers and the facility where you work.
A proper gun storage plan should cover three main goals to prevent:
- Theft of the firearm
- Accidental damage to the firearm
- Unwanted discharge, whether accidental or intentional
As a public safety or military professional, you need a plan in place when you are done using your gun. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, living in a home with a gun increases the risk of homicide by a minimum of 40 percent. It also increases the risk of suicide by a minimum of 90 percent. Often, while the officer is trained to use the firearm safely, improper storage at home puts those in the home at risk. Here are some options to consider to keep your gun secure when you are not using it:
1. Gun Locks
For officers who take firearms home with them, home gun safety must be carefully planned. While making sure the safety is on whenever the gun is not in use is a good first step, it may not be enough to protect those you love most. Home storage safety begins with a gun lock: Locking a gun when it is not in use ensures that curious children or adventurous teenagers do not get their hands on a loaded firearm.
2. Gun Safes and Gun Cases
Gun safes or gun cases are another affordable security measure to keep unwanted hands off the gun, while also preventing theft. A strong box with a manual or electric lock can also be used to store guns and ammunition while at home. A portable strong box allows an officer to transport a gun safely to and from work while protecting the piece and those in the home.
Gun cases can also present a portable storage option. When firearms need to be transported from one facility to another or from the main storage facility to a field operation, portable storage options are a necessity. Even while in transit, improperly stored guns present a risk to the agency and the general public.
Gun cases can be hard or soft sided and protect the firearm from damage. Soft cases primarily protect the gun from damage, rather than providing protection against theft. While locked, hard-sided cases provide protection from someone who may attempt to steal the gun.
3. Mobile Weapons Storage Lockers
For times when you are transporting your firearm from one place to the next, mobile storage is a necessity. Small, portable weapons storage lockers can transport a large number of weapons securely. These can be loaded into vehicles for transport and stored at the weapons storage facility when not in use.
For tactical teams that regularly drive with weapons in hand, truck or van-mounted gun storage lockers and cases are a valuable option. These lockers and cases protect the guns from damage while in transit and allow the guns to be transported in combat-ready status. Once the team arrives at the location, the officers can simply grab their firearm and head into the field.
4. Gun Storage Lockers
Weapons storage is equally important on site. When you are not using your firearm at work, and are not required to wear it, know where it should be stored. For a personal firearm, a simple gun storage locker may be all that you need. Before storing your gun, ensure that the locker has a properly functioning lock.
5. Universal Weapons Racks
Universal weapons racks (UWR) are also an excellent choice for secure, yet accessible, weapons storage. These storage options are designed to hold specific types of gear — or they can be adjusted to accommodate various lengths of weapons. A UWR allows optics to remain on the weapon while it is stored. Weapons can be stored combat ready, so the entire facility can be armed in a moment’s notice.
A gun is an important part of your gear. You can spend hours learning how to use it safely, yet without proper storage protocols, that safety training may not be as valuable as you thought. With these storage options, you can ensure that your firearm is properly stored at all times, even when you are not relying on it to help you do your job.
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