If you own a gun or guns it is your duty to keep them safe. If the gun is kept at home, for your families safety you must make sure they are all properly and safely stored,
especially if you have children in the house. The other side of the coin is that even when they are safely and securely stored, they must be easy to access when needed. it would make no sense if you had a gun at home but could not use it in an emergency situation because it was too securely locked somewhere and you were unable to retrieve it when you needed it the most.
The quick answer is, technically, yes you can keep your guns in a regular safe, but there are far better solutions out there and a proper gun safe will give better security and protection for your firearms against fire, damp and corrosion. Also, gun safes are generally very heavy to deter theft as they are often too heavy tp move without specialist equipment.
Once you have decided to keep your guns safe in your house then you have to decide which safe will you store them in.
Should I have a gun safe or a regular safe?
A gun safe is fire rated and much stronger than a regular safe. It is usually bolted to the floor to prevent burglars from walking away with it and has better locking systems. It also might have dividers and stands to keep your guns stacked properly. A regular safe might not be fire rated which I feel it should be if its job is to protect and safeguard your important documents.
When buying a gun safe the following points should be kept in mind
- It must have a UL RSC rating.
- It must have a fire rating of minimum one hour, UL 72 rated.( 350 degrees F)
- It must have a door seal. This helps to keep out moisture. We do not need our prized guns to get corroded. Besides the fire and flames, the door seal will keep out the
moisture and water that might be used by the fire department to douse out the fires.
- Hinges should be external. They help to open the door fully without any restrictions as an internal hinge would do. They also allow for easy transportation while installation. External hinges do not make the safe more prone to theft. As long as the locking mechanism is strong there is no danger of burglars running off with the door – it will stay in place.
- Anti-tampering relockers. A good safe should have anywhere between 2 to 10 relockers. Relockers are hardened pins which come into play when the safe is tampered with, Once
they are activated they cannot be retracted easily – it takes hours of drilling.
- A 750 lb safe should be the norm when opting for a gun safe. It offers weight and security and deters manhandling it either manually or with a dolly.
- 8 to 10 gauge steel thickness is the best recommendation for firearm storage , with at least a 5″ steel door.
- A rotary locking device. This is the preferred locking system. Some older electronic touchpad combinations are prone to faults regularly, although modern biometric safes are pretty reliable these days.
- Bolt locking system. The safe should have 1″ bolts on all four sides of the door to foil prying attacks.
Gun safes vs regular safes
Now we address the question of whether guns can be stored in a regular safe or should they ONLY be stored in a gun safe. And yes, you could possibly save a lot of money using a regular safe, but when you weigh the benfits of using a prupose built firearm safe, you may change your mind.
There are huge debates raging on the topic and results are inconclusive. Guns can be stored in a regular safe but they would always run the risk of getting rust on them as the regular safe is geared to storing documents and valuables, and has to maintain a moisture level of 50 per cent relative humidity. This problem can be overcome by using desiccants or dehumidifiers. The normal home safe uses a different type of insulation to fight a fire. The insulation is moisture rich which begins to generate steam in case of a fire. This steam causes high humidity which might curl up and toast your documents but will not ignite and thus protects your documents and valuables. However, the same moisture would rust your firearms.
You would need a strong sturdy heavy safe to prevent it from being manhandled and taken away. The safe must be bolted to the floor to prevent it from being taken away. If you are having just handguns a normal safe would be sufficient as storage but for multiple guns and rifles, a proper gun safe would be a good investment for your prized possessions. Firearms are pretty expensive, so why would you wnat to take the risk of them becoming damage by rust.
There are of course a few things you can do to prevent your gun fomr rusting, regardless of what kind of safe you use. You should clean your gun with an ammonia free cleaner to prevent deterioration. Clean the bore of your gun and apply a thin coat of EEzox, This will protect the surface. Many experts recommend EEzox. Auto grease should not be used, as it is not a reliable preventative.
Wax the wood stock to prevent any swellings, lumps and cracks.
You can store your gun in a normal safe without going in for expensive gun safes which claim fire rating which is not 100% certified by UL. You only have to be careful that the storage place is out of reach and bounds for children.
If you wish to take extra care about the gun going off accidentally, then it is best to have the gun unloaded and disassembled. The ammunition must always be stored separately for obvious reasons. However, in this case, you would not have easy access to it in case someone were to break in and you needed the gun for self-protection.
The main concerns of whether to use a regular safe or a gun safe are as follows:-
according to US FEMA Fire Administration on average about 0.3% households experienced fires in recent years. So that makes fire a relatively rare occurrence, and thus should not be considered the main criteria in deciding whether to store your gun in a regular safe or a specialised gun safe, although it is always a possibility.
Department of Health Sciences says 300,000 guns are stolen from homes every year. The main targets are those who make an open show of owning many guns and those who carry guns on their persons or in their cars. So the onus of preventing these guns from falling into criminal hands rests squarely on the owner who has to provide and secure these guns under lock and key. You should also be wary of posting photos of your firearms on social media, where a would be thief, could find out your address and target your house to steal your guns. The danger in these type of situations is that there is always a higher chance of gun injury or even homicide during a house theft where they burgler is looking for guns.
3) Accidental discharge
6885 people died from unintentional shootings in the US in 2016. 495 accidental firearms deaths. 2549 children between 0 to 19 died of accidental discharge, due to improperly locked guns. That statistic is far too high, and illustrates the importance of properly locking away firearms and ammunitions.
It is therefore clear, that it is not the safe that secures the gun, but how the gun owner prevents the use and misuse of his guns. You can opt for a normal safe with some of the specs of a gun safe, but overall you are probably better going for a safe that is specifically designed for guns.