A mother of two young children recently came into Los Ranchos Gun Shop. She knew that a gun had the potential to be an excellent tool for keeping her and her children safe, but she was also keenly aware of the great responsibility that comes with owning such a powerful tool. She spent much of her time with us discussing the safe handling and storage responsibilities she would be assuming as a gun owner. I commend her for her dedication to ensure she would be a safe and mindful gun owner, especially with children in the home. An unsecured gun and a child can be a tragic combination.
While this information is not legal advice, it is important to familiarize yourself not only with your rights but also your responsibilities once you have chosen to become a gun owner. This is not meant to scare you but to provide you with knowledge that can prevent negligence or legal entanglements in the future. You can find more information about New Mexico state gun laws here.
The following are some fundamentals that I’ve shared with customers that are important to keep in mind whether there are children in the home or not.
Firearms should be stored with ammunition stored in a separate secured location away from the firearm, until ready for use. If you decide to keep a firearm loaded to use in an emergency, you should still use some kind of locking mechanism, in addition to any built-in safety features of the gun itself, any time the firearm is outside of your sole control.
Safely storing and securing your firearm doesn’t have to be expensive either. You can choose anything from a simple and affordable cable lock, which looks somewhat like a padlock and often comes with the purchase of a new gun, to a state-of-the-art biometric lockbox, which allows access to a gun when one or more fingerprints are programmed to open it. Keys and combinations to guns and ammunition should always be kept in separate locations and out of reach of children.
Choosing a locking mechanism is much like choosing a personal firearm. There are many options available in all price ranges and everyone has their own preference for how they want to store their gun. It’s about achieving a balance between access to your firearm when needed and keeping it out of the wrong hands. The knowledgeable staff at Los Ranchos Gun Shop are happy to discuss which options are best suited for your needs when you come visit our shop.
As with personal carry safety, safe gun storage is also about education. Educate children and adults who live with you about firearm safety and the hazards of improper firearm use. Children should know to never handle a firearm if they come across one that is unsecured and to tell an adult. Gun owning adults should only trust their storage and security information to other trusted adults.
Your own mental health, as well as the health of your friends and loved ones, should also be a consideration when thinking about securing and safely storing your gun. While mental health conditions don’t necessarily disqualify someone from owning a gun, it’s important to judge whether a mental health condition creates the need for additional safety measures. If someone you know is at risk, there are several steps you can take to make sure that your gun remains stored safely. Again, education is key. If you or someone in your household is suffering from a mental health condition, take steps to educate yourself and consult with a trained medical professional if necessary.
An extra safety step you may need to take is making sure the person at risk does not know the location of the gun or where the keys to the gun and ammunition are stored. If you are at risk yourself, consider asking a trusted and responsible friend or family member to take temporary control of your keys or firearms.
If you have any other questions about safe gun storage, or want to chat with us about options for your firearm, we’re always here to help. Come into the shop at 6542 4th St NW in Los Ranchos, New Mexico and we’ll walk you through the many options we offer.