Gift giving season and gun safety

MikeGunner / Pixabay

It’s that holiday season time of year again! For some sects, the holidays have already come and gone, for other’s they’ve yet to arrive. Either way, we’re looking at a time of the year when gift giving is happening, and with that comes some liabilities for us gun owners. I talked about some gift ideas the other week to help prime the thinking process on what to get those special shootists in your life. Once you’ve procured whatever items you may have bought, I’m going to assume you’ve got to hide it somewhere in the house. The gift giving season brings two things that can be rather hazardous; 1 – Prying eyes looking for presents and 2 – Company.

Most adults were children at one point. I say that because some of us are still there, but that’s a digression. For those of us that have taken on the adult role or are at least are pretending to have, a good many of said adults might be parents. Of those that are parents, a good many might be playing Santa. Depending on the age of the children and what they know, depends on how much weight one might put on this subject.

When I was a kid I don’t quite remember when I stopped “believing”, but I do remember at one point or another, with a sardonic eye wink, asking my folks “This from Santa or from you?” And they’d go “ugg”. They were made. Our attempts to capture the jolly ole St. Nick on video camera, that usually failed, were not for naught. There was that one year, to squeeze out a little more magic, we did catch Mr. jelly belly himself in the act of putting presents around the tree. What I do know is by the age of 9, just about ten, I was actively searching the house for Christmas presents. In particular I remember that age because my father had accused me of searching through his closet, and challenged me to answer why a camera was moved on the top shelf. I don’t know who moved the camera, but I sure did take the blame for it. Yeah, I did search his closet, but no, I did not touch the camera. Talk about dumb luck.

Why this is important has to do with how we may store our firearms. If we think our guns are safe and secure when they’re hidden, we’re wrong. Yes, we can teach our kids about firearms and firearm safety. But, if we’re hiding our firearms in places where if they’re found, there will be an element of novelty to it regardless. A friend of mine recounts a story of when he was a child searching for gifts, or just being nosey around the time of his birthday. He found a revolver between the mattress and box spring of his parents’ bed. He said “Oh, this is nice. It’s heavy. It must be for me for my birthday.” He talks about the shot he fired off with the gun pointed at his sister, “To this day, I don’t know how she did not get shot or killed. The gun was pointed right at her. We never found a bullet hole anywhere.” The point being, we need to be extra vigilant with how we keep after our firearms. The fact that we’re in prime season for snooping around is just a reminder.

Besides any little ones we may have in the home, visitors and guests might be swinging by for holiday gatherings. Now we’ve got to worry about everyone else’s kids, as well as everyone else. We’re assuming that adults are responsible and don’t snoop in other people’s things. We assume they won’t play with guns if they happened upon them. We can do that. I remember trying to buy a new medicine cabinet and telling a friend about the process. They’re hard to come by, at least they were when I was looking for one nearly a decade ago. She said to me “Medicine cabinets are just not a thing anymore. That depresses me because they’re not there to look through when visiting other people’s houses.” I’m sure she was joking, but like most jokes there might be some truth to that. If you have a shower gun, maybe don’t keep it in your medicine cabinet.

We have many options to handle the situation of firearm storage. This subject is a personal one and one that may come with statutory regulations, remember that. We might have legal responsibilities. We do have moral responsibilities. Seeing there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this subject, here are a few recommendations to consider.

  • The nightstand – No children? No visitors? No problem. Maybe your storage method is going to be the nightstand drawer. That’s for you to decide.
    Pros: Easy access Cons: Not secured at all. Not protected from fire.
  • The safe – You’ve decided you want to keep your firearms in a big locked safe. These are great options for both security and protection from fire (depending on the rating).
    Pros: Firearms secured from casual and even some aggressive attempts to gain entry. Controlled environment. Protects from fire. Cons: Heavy, expensive, and difficult to move. Depending on the grade, the sides can be easily cut open with easy to obtain battery operated tools from the hardware store if time allows. Not quick access and might be in a location out of the way.
  • Concealment furniture – You want your firearm nearby but you don’t want it in a box or safe that screams “I’ve got a gun in me!” There are all kinds of concealment options out there to take a look at. They generally offer quick access and keep the gun where you need it most.
    Pros: Concealed. Easy to access. Firearm would be close by. Cons: Might not be really secured if someone knows the access points. Depending on construction, easy to break-into. Not protected from fire.
  • Quick access boxes – If you want to keep your firearm locked up but loaded and ready to go, this might be for you. There are a multitude of quick access options out there that’ll help achieve a good middle ground when it comes to firearm storage.
    Pros: Firearm is secured and locked up. Gun can be accessed fairly quickly with practice. Cons: Boxes can easily be stolen if not bolted down or affixed to something solid. It does take practice getting into these boxes. Depending on features, technology might be involved and that can leave you vulnerable to malfunction and hacking. Might have no fire protection.
  • Cable/trigger locks – Most people that are keeping firearms for self-defense would employ one of the aforementioned options. Those that are not may utilize a cable or trigger lock to keep the firearm form being able to be fired.
    Pros: Inexpensive/free. Easy to install. Keeps firearm from being able to be fired. Cons: No protection from theft or fire. Cables are not difficult to cut off (ask me how I know).

These are just a few of the options out there to help gun owners store or secure their firearms. It’s up to you to decide what works best. Do your research to find out what products will work for you and if there are any laws governing how you store guns in  your jurisdiction. As we’re full steam ahead during the season of moving elves around and hiding presents, let us remember that some of the things we own might be hazardous (or embarrassing) if found by the wrong people. Things are stressful enough these days with the kids saying things like “Cocoa the Elf is just a toy!” Then you have to set up a new diorama that night, for the next day, just to prove he’s freaking magical. Forget about all the other things on our to-do lists. Stopping to give pause on this topic can be lifesaving.

For more information on firearm storage, or to find out where you can get a free lock, check out the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Project Childsafe program.

Holidays have you feeling down? Consider visiting Walk The Talk America’s page on anonymous mental health screening and checking out their resources page. Having suicidal thoughts? There’s always help at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255