During this time of fear and uncertainty, there is one thing we can control: making sure guns in the home are stored securely and families are safe from family fire.
Our End Family Fire program urges all gun owners — new and old — to responsibly store their weapons. Guns should be stored locked, unloaded, separately from ammunition, and inaccessible to children. If you decide to bring a firearm into your home, protect your loved ones from family fire by storing them safely.
You Can Prevent Family Fire During Coronavirus — Here’s How:
Always Safely Store Your Firearms: As a result of coronavirus, families across the country are facing daily disruptions to their lives. With school and daycare closures come millions of children spending more time at home — many in close proximity to firearms. With 4.6 million children living in homes with access to an unlocked or unsupervised gun before coronavirus,it’s critically important that parents and caregivers take the steps to protect children in their homes from family fire.
- Store your guns locked, unloaded, and inaccessible to children and those who should not have access to guns.
- To ensure your firearm is inaccessible to children, lock it in a drawer, container, or safe rather than keeping it in an unlocked bedside table, under your mattress or pillow, or on a closet shelf.
- Always store the ammunition separately from your firearm.
Have A Conversation With Your Family and Friends About Responsible Gun Ownership and Gun Storage:
More now than ever, we must assess how family situations have changed. Parents are working from home, and with schools closed, children are sometimes left unsupervised, new family members may be living with you now, and with more people remaining in their homes for long periods of time, conversations about safe, responsible gun ownership are more important than ever.
- Ask any family member staying with you during this time if they brought a gun into your home, and if so, talk with them about safe gun storage options. Do not store guns unlocked in cars, as they can be easily accessed and/or stolen.
- When you check in with friends and family, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, ask how they are feeling, and don’t be afraid to have tough conversations about firearms and suicide risk. Add this question to your list: “Is there an unlocked gun in your home?"
- Be aware of the risks of unsecured firearms to you and your family, especially those most vulnerable to isolation and loneliness, including older adults and those living with mental illness.
- If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or Text HOME to 741741.
Consider Home Protection Alternatives:
- If you are not confident about, or untrained with firearms, consider other home protection measures like home security systems or a guard dog.
- Make sure you have recently assessed your safe storage plan to account for any family or living circumstances that have recently changed.