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Secure Gun Storage


Secure Gun Storage

What does it solve?

Gun owners can make their homes and communities safer by storing their guns securely. This means storing them locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition. Securing firearms protects children and adults by preventing unintentional shootings and gun suicides.

Research shows secure storage practices play a vital role in reducing the risk of gun violence. Storing firearms securely protects children and adults by preventing unintentional shootings and gun suicides.

Unload, Lock, and Separate

Assume children and teens can find guns. Store firearms unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition.

Illustration of the proper method of gun storage. The illustration shows a gun being unloaded, locked, and being stored separate from the ammunition

Myth & Fact


Storage devices defeat the purpose of owning a gun by putting barriers between the gun owner and their means of defense.


There are many affordable options for firearm storage that provide owners with quick access to their guns while still preventing access by children and people at increased risk of harming themselves or others. Further, it is possible that unsecured guns may actually increase the likelihood of crime and violence through an increased risk of gun theft. Each year, an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 guns are stolen, and many are funneled into the underground market, where once-legally-owned firearms can be transferred to people with dangerous histories.

How it works

Secure storage prevents shootings by disrupting unauthorized access to firearms.

Eight states and the District of Columbia, as well as several cities including New York and San Francisco, have laws mandating that owners secure their firearms.

Fifteen states have passed another form of firearm storage laws, known as child access prevention (CAP) laws, which generally provide that if a minor accesses a firearm, the person who failed to adequately secure the firearm is liable. Six states have storage laws that are also aimed at preventing access to firearms by persons legally prohibited from having them.

Public awareness is also critical to ensuring that guns are stored securely. The Moms Demand Action Be SMART program is one of many models that can be used by public officials and members of the community to build awareness of the importance of secure firearm storage.

We are all safer when guns are stored unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition. One study found that households that locked both firearms and ammunition were associated with a 78 percent lower risk of self-inflicted firearm injuries and an 85 percent lower risk of unintentional firearm injuries among children and teens, compared to those that locked neither. Another estimated that if half of households with children that have at least one unlocked gun switched to locking all their guns, one-third of youth gun suicides and unintentional deaths could be prevented, saving an estimated 251 lives in a single year.

By the numbers


You might be wondering…

  1. 1 How can I help make sure my child doesn’t gain access to an unsecured gun?
  2. 2 Is a gun that is hidden from view considered securely stored since children cannot readily access it?
  3. 3 My child received training telling them not to approach or play with a gun. Is that enough to keep them safe?