Learning Center

Firearm Safety at Home

firearms storage locker

Use extra caution when storing guns.

More than a third of Americans say they or someone at their residence owns a firearm. Among U.S. residents 24 and under, gun injuries cause twice as many deaths as cancer and five times as many as heart disease, according to a 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control.

If you own a gun – whether for hunting, sport shooting or as part of a collection – take steps to prevent accidents.

  • Store guns and ammunition in separate locked cabinets, safes, vaults or cases – and keep the keys or combinations where children can’t find them.

  • Place a trigger-locking device on stored guns – and hide the keys.

  • Lock up gun cleaning equipment and supplies, which can also be dangerous.

  • Even BB, pellet and paintball guns can cause serious injury or death. Never point them at anyone.

  • Don’t load a gun until you’re ready to use it.

  • Know what’s behind your target.

Talk to Your Children about Guns

On television and at the movies, firearms are often handled carelessly. Additionally, children may see characters shot and "killed," only to have the same actors appear in other performances. Help young children understand the difference between what appears on screen and what occurs in real life.

Gun safety does not end when your child leaves your home. Talk to the parents of your children’s friends to ensure you have a consistent understanding of gun safety rules.

If your child does encounter a firearm, make sure he or she follows these rules:

  • stop what you’re doing
  • do not touch the gun
  • leave the area
  • tell an adult right away

Note: If you own a gun and are unsure how to store it safely, contact your local law enforcement agency for assistance.