Growing up, most gun folks had a glass front display cabinet to store the family firearms. Most were long guns assigned to hunting duties. The cabinets weren’t locked because the kids that entered the house or lived there had a healthy respect for the guns and other people’s belongings. We wanted to do the right thing because we respected life and wanted a chance to shoot the guns occasionally with supervision. There were consequences for disobedience such as grounding or a spanking. We wanted our freedoms as kids and crossing lines never entered our minds. In 2017 things are a bit different.
This is not meant as an education on being a parent in the 21st century. It is, however, a primer on how to sensibly secure your firearms in this day and age. Fortunately, we have many options.
I’m asked how I keep my firearms secure being a firearms instructor and a gun retailer. The quick answer is: don’t raise ignorant spoiled brats. When your child is old enough to understand that matches burn and cars can run you over, they are old enough to learn that they are not to handle or touch guns without adult supervision.
As they get older, and every kid is different, you can introduce them to shooting. Don’t be the YouTube guy that hands his 8-year-old a 12 gauge. Start slowly and with a very mild caliber like 22LR. Rifles are generally easier for beginners than hand guns too. Set them up for success and begin and end every section with safety and safe gun handling. Air guns are a great introduction to rifles too. Many a kid took his first shots with a single cock Red Ryder. Teaching the child how to clean and care for the gun is also an important aspect to cover. There are great resources from the NRA and NSSF to supplement what the child learns at home. I often teach brand new kids to shoot because the parents don’t shoot. Often it becomes a family class so everyone is safe in the house and has an understanding of safe gun handling and protocol whether they shoot or not.
My kids started shooting with 22 rifles and revolvers at around age 9. By the time they were 12, they could safely and accurately shoot Glocks, 1911’s, AR15's and AK’s. Every kid is different. My daughter is a great shot, but doesn’t “love” it. I’m happy she has the skill set if she ever changes her mind.
The key is to take away the mystery or taboo aspect of guns by education and safe gun handling.
Regarding storage and unauthorized persons: I’m always armed. My sidearm is on my person unless I’m sleeping or showering. I’m not going to share the details just like I’m not giving out my social security number, but I have several methods. Nightstand safes are great. As your kids get older you can explore other options. I secure the bulk of my guns in a safe, in a safe room. I secure the ones I have for immediate protection differently, and only adults know how to quickly access them. We do not leave guns lying about the house. I trust my kids, but I do not know all of their friends personally. My kids know not to point a gun at anything that they are not willing to kill, destroy, or buy: but their friends probably haven't received that rule and other gun safety rules drilled into them. Locked and unloaded guns are of little use for home protection. Uneducated children in a house with guns is just asking for big trouble.
As an extra FYI: My guns are secured. As an FFL, I do not keep a lot of inventory by design. The inventory I do have is secure in a safe in a locked room. My personal "non go-to guns" are also secured in a safe. We have alarms, video surveillance, and dogs. I am also the township police commissioner and have regular patrols on my street. I do daily deposits on an irregular schedule. I am always armed and have additional firearms close by if needed. Just so you know...