Can you childproof your Guns?
Easy answer, no, you can’t completely childproof your guns. Children are curious, they don’t comprehend complex decision making, and they don’t understand the dangers of guns until someone teaches them.
Whether they’re in your home or someone else’s, it’s YOUR responsibility to educate your children.
It’s like pool ownership. Just because you don’t own a pool doesn’t mean you don’t teach your kids to swim. Because one day they’ll be around a body of water and you won’t be there to save them from drowning.
*Just in case you thought you could get away from the famous “Dr. Love” AFN Commercials…we found this video.
So, even if you have a weapon safe, make sure to educate your mini-me. Why, because children have this crazy way of getting into and finding everything. We’re certain they’re the most determined beings on the face of the planet.
“I have two little boys. I don’t hide my gun but I also don’t make it a curiosity. I’ve taught my 5 year old that it’s dangerous to handle a weapon and how someone can get hurt. I’ll be teaching my 2 year old when he’s older. When they’re old enough to handle they’ll be taught how to use one properly.”
-Salam, mother of two, ages 5 and 2
Children and Firearms: Education and Storage
Maybe you have children too young to comprehend the lessons of weapon safety. You’re going to want a way to prevent little hands from getting wrapped around your firearm.
That’s when you might consider something like a gun safe, trigger locks, keeping it hidden, or maybe just out of reach. In that case, what are the best options, is there a best option, and what are others doing to keep their children as safe as possible?
Determination, Ignorance, and Curiosity
Before we get too much further, I want to take a moment to hit a few key points that can lead to negative outcomes: determination, ignorance, and curiosity.
“Of course it depends on the age of your children, but keeping them in unreachable range of smaller children is always a good idea. If you have older children they should always be taught gun safety but suicide is a big issue and should always be a consideration when keeping firearms in your home. Talking to and teaching your children (communication) I think is key!!”
-Patti, mother of two, ages 26 and 30
Let’s address the elephant in the room, first. Suicide is on the rise, and getting a hold of someone’s gun isn’t all that difficult. Remember, a determined individual, child or adult, will find a way, whether that’s with your gun, a friend’s gun, one they got off the street (maybe not a gun at all).
Think about it this way, do more gun laws stop criminals from doing bad things? No. Will making it harder for your child to access YOUR gun make it so they don’t do bad things? No. But, educating them, being a support system for them, teaching them right from wrong, safe from unsafe acts, are all vital steps we, as a community, parents, educators, etc. should be doing to help.
If you do a quick search on keeping weapons in the home with kids, the first five pages are articles put out by news companies. I say five because that’s when I stopped looking.
Let’s take our weapons out of the “scary” news and work on educating one another, including those new to our community. Otherwise, we end up with a bunch of fear-induced advice, given out by a bunch of people who’ve never even touched a firearm.
A lot of people are out purchasing home defense weapons as a result of what’s going on in the world. With that, we need to make sure we’re educating ourselves on everything that revolves around the safe use and storage of these tools, especially when it comes to those of us who have kids.
Now, there’s always the, don’t tell your kids where you keep your pistol option, but let’s be honest, that’s probably not a great idea, especially if you have a child old enough to walk. Why, because children are curious.
If you keep your firearm in your bedside table, okay, there’s nothing wrong with that when you’re sleeping next to it. But, what if your kid is up exploring during the day and you’re back in the office doing some work from home taskers. The next thing you see is your five-year-old walk into the room swinging your revolver around, saying, “Daddy, you have a gun just like in the movies! Pew, Pew, Pew!!!”
Basically what I’m saying is, don’t make your kids more curious than they already are. Educate them!
Home Defense Weapons and Children
My last article was on the importance of teaching kids about weapon safety, where I made the comment that having a safe and practicing safe storage was no excuse not to teach your children about weapon safety.
With that, I’d also like to say teaching your kids about weapon safety is no excuse to not practice safe storage, either. Now, before you get too worked up, because I imagine many of you are, after reading that last sentence, let’s go a little deeper.
There are some of you saying, well if someone breaks in, how will I have time to retrieve my gun from a safe?
I get it, it’s a lot like the states that don’t have the castle law—here, let me just retreat into my room, jump out a third-story window, and call the cops while my kids are sleeping in the other room…if they’re smart, they’ll jump out their windows too, because we DEFINITELY had the opportunity to get away. In case you can’t tell, yes, that was sarcasm.
We definitely don’t expect you to have your firearm stored at all times, where it’s going to take several seconds, to maybe over a minute to retrieve it—a lot can happen in that time. Maybe consider a quick access style safe that’s ready for self-defense, or carry your weapon on you when you’re up and moving around for the day.
“We keep most of the guns locked in cases. The one that’s for home defense has its own lockbox with a code that only John and I know. It sits on our dresser for easy access.”
-Brittany, mother of one, age 11
Now, let’s say you’re out running errands while the babysitter stays with the little ones. Do you really want your 13-year-old neighbor having access to the gun on or in your nightstand? Probably not. It’s best to have it locked away or on your person.
“Most of my guns stay locked in a large safe. I keep home defense pistols in a pistol safe with finger code by the bed. Two rifles are in a gun cabinet in a locked room, and they both have trigger locks. The only time I have weapons out of a secure container is at night when I put a pistol in the nightstand beside my side of the bed.
My older kids all learned to shoot at age 12, and the firearms safety rules were the number one priority.”
-Chris, father of four with two grandkids, ages 6 to 26
Where to Store your Firearm
Let’s talk about where to store your weapons, whether that be in a safe or in your nightstand. Personally, I’m a fan of keeping the weapon on my body when kids are running around and I’m awake, this gives me easy/quick access to my weaponry.
However, when I go to bed, I want my gun next to me, so I keep it loaded and in my bedside table, again for easy access.
“I keep them in locked cases, and hidden. I do, however, keep a loaded pistol with me, when it’s not with me it’s locked away.”
-James, father of three, ages 36 to 40
For the rest of my guns, which I’m not using for home defense, I keep them locked in cases, ammo separated from the firearm, and out of reach from the younger ones.
How to Store your Firearm
How you store your firearm should depend on how you use it.
For example, self-defense weapons should be readily available. You might consider an easy access safe or keeping it holstered when you’re up and about. Otherwise, you’re adding time to how long it takes to get ready and on target—by then you might be dead (worst case scenario).
If it’s a gun used for target practice, locked, unloaded, and placed in a safe is going to be your best option.
“I live alone so my gun stays loaded and in a holster. When I was around my kids, my gun stayed loaded and in a holster. From day one I taught my kids the dangers of firearms, and that they were to never touch it without me supervising them. They know that firearms are not toys, because I took the time to educate my kids about them.”
-Jordan, father of four, ages 8 to 13
Again, we really value educating your kids about the dangers of firearms. So, even if you’re practicing safe storage, it’s NO excuse not to educate the youngins.
“I keep my main firearm in a holster in the drawer beside my bed. The rest are locked away. My kids do not play in my bedroom, they rarely set foot in it, but they know where my gun is so they know to avoid it.”
-Michaela, mother of three, ages 22 months to 15
Different Types of Weapon Safes
If you’re looking to secure your weapon in some type of safe, there are a few different options you can look into, below is a list of the most common. If you’re in the market, we recommend doing a little research to find out which suits your needs best.
“We keep ours in a safe locked up.”
-Bobbie, mother of two with three grandkids, ages 1 to 23
You can get gun safes from a variety of places, it just depends on how much you want to spend, the type of gun safe you’re looking for, and size. Companies such as and sell various pistol and rifle safes, you can check out. Of course, this isn’t an all-inclusive list, and you can find bigger, better, more or less expensive, elsewhere. Again, we recommend you do a little research and decide what best fits your needs in a gun safe.
Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to open a combination safe, especially when you’re under stress, which you will be if someone is actively breaking into your house.
“I keep my pistol in a combo safe on my dresser. As with everything firearm related, training is key. Run drills on getting from bed to safe and inputting combo. Daytime, nighttime, lights on and blacked out. Training is key for your children as well. My children, ages 9 & 11, know gun safety and that they are only allowed to handle a weapon with me in a safe environment. They do not fear weapons nor do they glorify them. I have taught them guns are tools used for specific purposes and they get to use them when they are at an age and capability to do so safely.”
-Cody, father of two, ages 9 and 11
Biometric safes are quick, but they might not always be reliable. Because like all things using technology, they break, and probably at the most inconvenient time—if you have luck that looks anything like mine.
More reliable than a biometric safe, but still presents its own list of pros and cons. Keypad safes are easy to operate and can be accessed fairly quickly. However, if you’re opening and closing the safe enough, you’ll probably start to see the natural wear of your fingerprint, which will leave a nice little trail telling both your kids and anyone who breaks into the house, how to get in the safe.
“We have a safe in the house with our firearms. All but one we keep in its own locked case in the master bedroom closet shelf.”
-Victoria, mother of five, ages 4 to 13
Lock and Key Safes
Since electronics aren’t a factor here, a lock and key safe is going to be the most reliable. However, when you’re nervous or scared for your safety, lining up the key to the hole might be more difficult than you think.
It’s like a bad horror movie where the victim can’t get in the car because they keep fumbling with the keys. Of course, having a key means you also have to maintain accountability, and it has to be easily accessible during an intrusion.
Hidden safes, depending on where you want to go with this, can be costly. And most likely, they’re more hidden to the intruder than your kids. Like we’ve said before, your children are smart and they pay attention. Chances are, they’ve seen you access this safe when you didn’t realize they were around.
“My kids are always around my guns. They see me conceal it almost every day. They have been taught never to touch them. If I’m leaving for a while, such as a deployment, they go in a safe located under my bed. And only my wife and I know the combo or the location of the quick access cards to get to the guns quickly if the need arises.”
-Nick, father of two, ages 7 and 4
Radio Frequency Identification Entry Safes
“Only accessible via RFID card which is not left laying around. I also have another safe opened by a key and that key is kept in a separate location.
My daughter, 6, knows I’m law enforcement, routinely sees me carrying. Never once has asked about my gun nor to touch it. She knows that’s mine and to never touch it.”
-Christopher, father of one, age 6
Since Nick brought it up, let’s talk about quick access cards. You can purchase safes that don’t require you to punch in any codes, take your fingerprints, turn a dial, etc. These typically work off some type of RFID device, such as a card.
So, there you have it, practicing safe storage with kids in the house. At the end of the day, no matter which option works best for you, educating your children on firearm safety still remains number one in my book.
Remember, your kids are smart. Hide a pistol from them, they’ll find it. Lock it in a safe with keys, they’ll probably find those too. Safes work great for the younger kids, but keep in mind younger kids become older, so teach them how to safely live around and operate firearms.
Once you teach the kiddos about firearm safety, why not check out some of our targets, and then go to the range for a little practice.
Did we miss anything? Do you have further recommendations? Please, comment below. We love hearing from our readers!
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