You have probably seen or heard on the news that firearm sales have escalated along with the spread of the Coronavirus. Some of these people that are buying firarms now are doing so out of fear of a coming period of civil unrest. While they may be spending hundreds of dollars on a firearm, many new firearms owners are neglecting the storage and liability implications of a gun in the home.
A firearm can provide a means to equalize an imbalance of force situation when your life is threatened, it also comes with a liability that could result in the injury or death for someone in your home. Firearms must be kept and stored so that unauthorized persons can not readily access them. This means keeping firearms unloaded and stored in a safe.
By safe, I mean a device made to deny access by ordinary means such as a screw drivers or pry bars. They should also slow access by power saws and torches.
Firearms should be stored unloaded. Ideally the ammunition and firearms should be stored separately.
Fire rated safes are designed to provide protection for a specified period of time at a specified temperature. The better a safe is rated for fire protection the smaller the internal space will be compared to a non-fire rated safe of the same external dimensions.
Not storing ammunition in a fire rated safe could result in the loss of the ammunition in a fire, but the safety aspect of that decision is not nearly as dangerous as a loaded gun in a fire. Studies by SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, Inc.) conclude that the projectiles from cartridges ignited outside a firearm have significantly lower velocities and energies than when shot from a firearm. Typically any ignited small arms ammunition ignited outside a firearm are contained by 2 panels of 5/8″ fiberboard (drywall).
When choosing to keep a loaded firearm in the home for personal protection in the home, it must still be kept in a manner to not allow unauthorized persons to access it. This means it is either on your person or stored in a locked safe. The locked safe in this scenario might be one designed for a single handgun or long gun that allows rapid access to the authorized user while denying access to unauthorized users. Safes with biometric, RFID, or touch sensitive combinations can fill this purpose.
Concealment is not a secure method of storage. As I like to say, “Anything purposefully hidden will be accidentally found.”