The other day I had a conversation with a friend about the storage of a defensive firearm in the house. It really boiled down to where and how should it be stored.
Safety for all
This is a lot harder to answer than you may think. The first thing you have to consider is the household frequented by small children or teenagers? If it is, even if they are not yours, so think of grandparents, then you will have to take security steps to ensure that inappropriate access is never granted. Not only do you have a moral obligation to ensure a safe environment, you have a legal one in many locations. It is not an easy decision, many folks have a defensive firearm at their home for safety, but the last thing you want is for that to be the cause of a terrible accident or tragedy because of unsafe habits or conditions.
Worse case scenario
Putting aside the “how” for now, let’s talk more about the “where”. Most people will tell me a bedroom for their defensive firearm, but the real question is what are you preparing for? I think a large percentage of incidents families are preparing for is a home invasion. Different from a burglary in that the owners in a burglary are typically not home. A home invasion is conducted specifically because the owners are home. When doing a quick look at some home invasions it is difficult to determine an accurate time for committing this crime, but one thing I did notice is a fair amount happen early to late evening when the family is still up and doing things.
One of one is none
So, will you have time to response to an attempted home invasion with a defensive firearm if it is all the way in the bedroom. Probably not, hell you may not even have time if it were right there by the door in a closet, but it does beg the question about location. One thing to consider is multiple locations for the safe storage of a defensive firearm. Perhaps, a bedroom and front door area location. If you have a split level type home you may also need consider placing one in an upstairs location. The thought of being upstairs when a home invasion occurs and not having access to any tools can be quite scary so think that through.
Defensive firearm defined
The real question is what is the condition of the defensive firearm in the locked storage container? Again, there are so many variables to consider, but one thing you need to realize is if you need to retrieve your defensive firearm it will take some time to defeat the lock. After all, that is why you are using a locked container, to deny access to unwanted individuals. On average it takes me 2-3 seconds to defeat the lock on mine so that needs to be factored in to your thought process. Now, the big question is do you store the defensive firearm with a round chambered and a loaded magazine or an empty chamber and a loaded magazine. Separating the magazine from the firearm in a locked container to me completely defeats the purpose. If you notice in the article I used the term “defensive firearm” if you decide to store the magazine separate, even in the same locked container it is just a firearm. Truthfully when the kids were younger to add a degree of safety we compromised a degree of readiness by going with an empty chamber.
There are no easy answers and you will have to give it some deep thought as to what are your intentions and do your actions best support your intentions. The last thing you want is to try and figure out when it counts.
6 thoughts on “Around the House”
Being that we live 16 miles from nowhere and don’t have any kids or kids that frequent our home it is not an issue with where our gun(s) are stored most of the time.
That bring said, the one(s) that are not on our person or within arms reach are stashed and secured where we know they are at around the “bunker, locked and loaded with the safety’s on.
Great post. In fact since reading it I have moved one of my weapons to a safe in the basement so that I now have one on all levels of my home (basement, main floor, second floor, and attic). All are in safes and I too decided to store them with a loaded magazine and an empty chamber because of my 6 year old. As you suggested in Combative Fundamentals, I’ve tried to play out every worst case scenario in my mind so that I will have a plan. The difficult part is trying to get my wife and son involved with knowing what to do without scaring the hell out of them. Additionally, I often struggle with the question, should I go for the weapon first then get to my family or secure them with me first and access one of the weapons. Either way, as you say, at least I have a plan … and a bad plan is usually better than none at all. Thanks for the great article and please keep them coming.
So true about having at least “a” plan, better than nothing.
Personally I keep my defensive firearm on my nightstand at night, with weapon light attached, extra handheld light w/strobe next to it, as well as a small fixed blade knife, case things get really hairy, really quick in the actual room. When company is over, handgun goes in top of closet, out of reach of grand babies, 2 yrs old. Weapon is only chambered when on my person, concealed. As far as rest of house, There are several decent fixed and folding blades in the kitchen, where I keep my wallet, out of site, but within immediate reach. Immediately at back door on utility rack is a good medium size combat knife as well as a ballpean hammer, placed there for household use but also as unassuming weapon of opportunity. If I get a knock or sound at night, I always arm myself, turn off interior lights, turn on exterior lights and then investigate…it always helps if your opponant is blind….you can see out but he can’t see in. Once the grand kids get a little bigger, probably invest in a lock box with springdoor until then, risk of accident is minimal given kids size, access and ability.
Risk mitigation is the key, it is a comprehensive approach towards safety and readiness.