U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Safe at Home: Keeping Your Firearms Secured is the Best Way to Prevent Off-Duty Firearm Accidents

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 26 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2002 Pages: 12-13,16,18,20,22
Roy Huntington
Date Published
July 2002
6 pages
This article discusses the importance of keeping police firearms secured in the home.
The easy familiarity with guns by a police officer may make him or her less attentive when it comes to possible dangers at home. An officer cannot afford to lose focus when it comes to safe and reliable security of his or her personal firearms. A loss of attention, of responsibility, or of control accounts for many gun tragedies in this country. California recently passed legislation holding gun owners accountable when it comes to children. It is now unlawful to leave a firearm unsecured in an area where a juvenile may have access to it. If a youth should use an adult’s firearm to commit a crime, accidentally wound or kill someone, or otherwise destroy property or injure another, the owner of the gun is liable, both civilly and criminally. Handguns have to be subjected to and pass a string of functionality tests in order to be sold in California. These tests cover reliability and safety issues and cost manufacturers thousands of dollars. If the guns don’t pass the test, they don’t sell in California. State law also mandates a series of pre-approved locking devices for all firearms. Under the law, a dealer has to either supply a State-approved locking device before he can release the gun to a customer, or the customer must sign an affidavit stating there is a State-approved lock box or safe at home. This law is part of a trend that could affect other States. Many police agencies have mandated a department policy regarding the security of weapons both on and off duty. Some Federal Government agencies issue locking devices along with duty weapons. Education remains the core defense against the misuse of firearms. Children should be made “gun-safe” by demystifying guns and answering their questions. Other ways to secure a weapon are to partially disassemble it; use trigger locks, cable locks, or bore locks; or use a hidden wall safe. Many manufacturers are installing built-in locks in firearms. Using a proprietary key, the owner can lock the gun, making it unusable for anyone until it is unlocked.


No download available