Gun Safety in the Home: Preventing Accidental Shootings
A gun is a powerful deterrent for a would-be home invader, as they don’t want to be staring down the barrel of a gun just like anyone else. However, statistically, more innocent people are hurt or killed in accidental home shootings than criminals. Some reports suggest that numbers can be as high as 4 to 1. Four “good guys” get shot for every one bad guy. It is important that all of us follow certain safety protocols to ensure that accidents don’t happen.
However, it is also important that the weapon is easily-accessible and ready for immediate use during a life-or-death confrontation that can develop in a matter of seconds. This is the dilemma that most people face: How to keep guns safely tucked away while making them accessible at the same time.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers that work for every situation.
The biggest advantage to having a gun safe is that it provides solid protection and limited access. Of course, there are lots of different safes on the market, and some are better than others. Try to find one that has a keypad as well as a key lock for a backup. This will allow you to have faster access as opposed to a dial combination, and you can get into the safe with the key if you forget the numbers.
The big things to decide when using a safe is where to put it and whether to keep the gun loaded or have the clip outside of the firearm. Some people also keep bullets or the magazine in a different location, such as a drawer near the safe for some added protection. Only you can decide on the level of protection that will keep the weapon secure and out of the hands of children, house guests or even intruders. Just remember that the more complex you make your system, the longer it will take to access, load and draw the weapon.
There is a lot of debate about the benefit of trigger locks. News reports a few years ago showed that some top-name manufacturers were producing products that could easily be compromised. Furthermore, many models by different companies were strikingly similar. This meant that cables could be cut through and locks picked with minimal expertise or effort. It’s safe to say that there are excellent and effective trigger locks out there, but it’s very important that you shop around and buy one that will work for your particular gun while also living up to its claims.
The two main options with trigger locks are the cable system and the trigger guard. The cable system is essentially a pad or combination lock that is attached to a cable. You feed the cable through the empty magazine chamber or revolver wheel and secure the weapon. The trigger guard fits in the trigger space and prevents fingers from getting inside.
Aside from the weaknesses mentioned above, you will need a key or combination to open and remove the lock. If you use a cable guard, then you will also need to load the weapon before use. This can take valuable time and be cumbersome during the heat of the moment. However, practicing can help to free and prepare the weapon quickly, so trigger locks shouldn’t be ruled out entirely.
You can also use a combination of both options or come up with your own as well. The point is to find a way to keep your weapon out of the wrong hands in order to prevent accidents, and the best solution for you will depend on your particular needs and preferences. The important thing is to do something.
By far, the most accidental shootings at home are caused by children who get a hold of a gun and show it off to friends or satisfy their curiosity. Aside from taking practical steps such as those listed above, you may want to consider taking a more direct approach. Talk to your children about gun safety and the importance of staying away from where you keep the weapon.
You may also want to consider taking it a step further and showing them stories or images of kids who are involved in accidental shootings. This may seem a bit gruesome and harsh, but it may be one of the best ways to drive the message home that playing around with a gun, even with the most innocent of intentions can lead to tragic consequences.
Take time to evaluate your current level of gun safety in the home. Weigh the pros and cons as well as your needs in order to find the best solution to keep that weapon secure while making it easily accessible. This is the only way to minimize the risk of accidental shootings and ensure that only the bad guys end up facing the business end of your gun.