How to Safely Own and Store a Weapon
For many people, social unrest and uncertainty breeds panic and the need to feel secure. With a deadly pandemic facing a sustained international protest movement this year, it’s no surprise that 2020 marks a record year for arms sales in the United States.
According to figures compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation in August, total US gun sales so far exceeded 17 million, driven in large part by the five million new owners. Many of these new owners are blacks and women , possibly suggesting that gun fever is permeating more traditionally liberal Americans.
Regardless of your policy, weapons are serious and powerful weapons that should be handled with care and respect. Here are some tips to help you store and maintain your weapons responsibly and safely, even if you’re not living in an era of mass hysteria.
Practice safe storage
It is very important to store any firearm in a controlled storage location, such as a safe or safe, which can only be accessed with a password or key. Always keep your firearm unloaded during storage. Under no circumstances should your weapon be available to children, adolescents, or anyone with vulnerable mental health. Vigilantly guard the combination of the padlock or keys – this is not the same as giving the combination to your cubbyhole at your local YMCA.
Store all ammunition separately from firearms, following the same protocol, using a locker and safe with the appropriate security combination or key.
Use a SAFE system
Abbreviations may sound trivial, but it is a useful system for anyone even remotely interested in responsible gun ownership. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reduces firearm safety to this four-step process , which states:
S – secure your firearm when not in use
A – Maintain awareness of nearby people and prevent unauthorized access to weapons
F – focus on your responsibility as the owner of the weapon
E – get to know yourself and others about safety when handling weapons.
It’s a simple directive, but that’s the point. Following these general guidelines can help you in any area of gun handling.
Talk to your kids about weapons
In the United States, many children live in close proximity to unsecured, loaded firearms. There were about 1.7 million of them in 2016, according to the Research Institute of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which means that one in three homes with children also had a gun this year.
It is important not to keep the gun a secret from children and to explain to them how to react if and when they see a firearm. Kids Health offers some simple instructions if kids see the gun at home or anywhere else:
1. Stop what they are doing.
2. Do not touch the gun, even if it looks like a toy.
3. Leave the area where the gun is located.
4. Notify an adult immediately.
Understand the severity of gun violence in the United States
When you buy a gun, you are not dealing with a toy. Tens of thousands of people are killed every year from firearms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
In 2018, there were 39,740 gun-related deaths in the United States, meaning about 109 people die from firearm-related injuries every day. Six out of every 10 deaths were suicides by firearms and more than 3 out of every 10 were homicides by firearms.
If you live at home with someone with a mental health problem, you need to treat the situation with extreme urgency. Suicide is the tenth most common cause of death in the United States, and firearms are the most common method by which people take their own lives. In the United States, about 24,000 people commit suicide with firearms a year, according to the CDC .
Domestic violence is also a serious problem when it comes to firearm fatalities. According to the weapons research and safety organization Everytown :
Every month, an average of 53 women are shot by an intimate partner. About 1 million women living today reported being shot or fired by intimate partners, and 4.5 million women reported being threatened with a gun by an intimate partner. In more than half of the mass shootings in the past decade, the perpetrator has shot a current or former intimate partner or family member as part of the riot.
An epidemic of gun violence has plagued the United States for decades, and there are many ways to avoid getting involved in the crisis. Safe gun maintenance and violence prevention starts with the individual gun owner.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Help Line for Suicide Prevention by phone at 1-800-273-8255. If you or someone you know is subjected to domestic violence, call the national hotline on domestic violence call 1-800-799-7233.