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Gun Safe: Does My State Require One and What Are My Options?

by Sofia Andrews

Storing guns safely is one of the most crucial responsibilities of all gun owners. In the U.S., owning a gun safe was not mandatory until 2005 when the Federal Government made it illegal for all licensed gun dealers, manufacturers or importers to transfer or sell a gun unless the buyer has or purchases a secure locking device. This law was meant to guarantee that all new gun owners buy a gun safe, and it was one of the first major steps the federal government took towards mitigating the risk of unsecured firearms.

However, out of the fifty American states, only eleven have laws concerning gun locking devices. Most states have stricter rules regarding swimming pool fences than firearm safes. Out of the eleven states with gun safe storage laws, only Massachusetts requires all guns to be locked in a safe. New York, California, and Connecticut only require guns to be stored in a safe under certain circumstances.

The other eight states, including Rhode Island, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, and Illinois, only have laws concerning handguns. Texas has a law that penalizes any parent who makes his or her firearm accessible. Therefore, to avoid being penalized, it's advisable to purchase a safe for your firearm. So, here are five different types of gun safes for you to choose from:

Five Common Types of Firearm Safes

Biometric Gun Safes

A biometric safe is one of the world's most secured gun locking devices. Unlike the traditional safes which used combinations or passcodes, you can only open biometric safes with your fingerprint. This high-quality gun vault only opens when an authorized user places his or her finger on the scanner.

Popular biometric gun safes: Barska bio-safe, Viking security safe, and Vaultex VT20I pistol safe.

Biometric Safe

 

Strength

  • Secure: The probability of two individuals having similar fingerprints is 1 in 64 million people. Therefore, a biometric safe is very secure.
  • Faster access: The biometric fingerprint system offers quick access, and it can be even beneficial if it is a gun safe. In emergencies, remembering the combinations or where you placed your keys can be tricky. But, with a biometric safe, you only need your fingerprint.
  • Easier for multiple users to access: Biometric systems allow you to save several fingerprints in its database. Therefore, some family members can access your gun safe with their fingerprints.
  • No keys to lose: The biometric system eliminates the need for keys.

Weakness

  • Needs the power to operate: Biometric scanners require power to function; therefore, most biometric safes use rechargeable batteries. Remember, you can't access your safe when the battery runs out.
  • False scans: False scans occur when fingers that aren't stored in the system open the safe. False scans are not common with modern safes.
  • Non-scans: Non-scans occur when the scanner fails to recognize stored fingerprints. Non-scan can be caused by dirty fingers or system failure.

Fireproof Gun Safes

Most firearm safes are made from steel, which is relatively fireproof. Steel can only melt when the temperature exceeds 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit. It cannot melt in case of a normal house fire. However, what you should be worried about is the heat penetrating inside and damaging your expensive guns. Therefore, look for a safe that is both water and fireproof.

Popular fireproof gun safes: Gunvault MV500 Microvault safe and SentrySafe Pistol safe.

Strength

  • Keep your gun safe: A fireproof safe can protect your expensive firearms in case of a house fire.
  • Waterproof: Most of these safes are also waterproof; therefore, they can keep guns safe in case of a flood.

Weakness

  • Expensive: Unlike most safe, which are made from steel, fireproof safes are manufactured using vermiculite, perlite, and insulate, among other materials. Therefore, they can be quite costly.

In-Wall Gun Safe

In-wall gun safes are usually installed inside the wall. Therefore, stealing in-wall safes can be quite tricky. These safes are available in different sizes, and they can protect a wide range of valuables and important documents.

Popular In-wall gun safes: Protex PWS-1814E wall safe and Barska AX12038 wall safe.

In-Wall Safe

Strength

  • Cannot be stolen: In case of a robbery; this safe cannot be stolen
  • A wide range of locking mechanisms: in-wall safes come with a wide range of locks, and this includes fingerprint, electric keypad, and combination locks, among others.

Weakness

  • Not portable: In-wall safes are stationary; therefore, carrying them when you are moving can be quite challenging.

Hidden Gun Safe

Hidden gun safes are safes that allow you to hide your firearms in plain sight. Normally, hidden safes mimic other objects in the house, such as shelves, mirrors, and picture frames. In fact, people can walk in your home without noticing them.

Common hidden safes: Stealth Defense Vault DV652 and V-line Hide-Away keyless security systems.

Strength

  • Easy to reach: Hidden safes are usually hidden in plain sight; therefore, very few people in your house know the exact position of your safe. You can easily access it in case of an invasion and protect your family.

Weakness

  • If the safe is discovered, it's gone: If someone happens to stumble onto your safe while grabbing and smashing your cabinets, coffee table, clocks, or mirrors, he will steal them.
  • Not fireproof: Most hidden safes are not fireproof. Remember, a coffee table that serves as your gun safe is simply a coffee table that can be destroyed by fire

Car Gun Safes

Even though car safes are not as secured as in-wall safes, putting your gun in a car safe is safer than in your glove box. Car safes have a reliable steel cable that you can use to attach to a part of your car. Most Car safes are small in size and are meant to hide only one handgun.

Strength

  • Portable: Being small in size, these safes can be moved from one vehicle to another.
  • Secure: Keeping your handgun in a car safe is safer than just leaving it in your glove box. These safes can fit perfectly in one of your car's console

Weakness

  • Small in size: Most car gun safes are designed to fit only one gun. Therefore, you can't keep your valuable documents inside a car safe.

Final Thoughts

Gun storage laws promote responsible firearm owning practices. These laws require every gun owner to keep his or her weapon locked and unloaded when unattended. Safe storage laws can help prevent unauthorized gun users from accessing these weapons. These laws can reduce tragedies due to gun theft, unintentional discharges, and suicide. In the U.S. alone, this law can help reduce the number of firearms stolen every year from the current average of about 380,000 guns. So, to be on the safe side, make sure you always keep your guns locked.