Light Over Heat #8: What is Safe Storage of Firearms?

As with gun safety, safe storage of firearms is something that people on all sides of the Great Gun Debates in America agree is important. But the way some gun violence prevention organizations, like Brady United Against Gun Violence in the “End Family Fire” initiative, define “safe storage” is not acceptable to many responsible gun owners.

A recent editorial in the American Journal of Public Health included gun educator Rob Pincus and the definition it proposes is more adequate to the reality of how responsible gun owners want to store (and stage) their firearms at home.

As I discuss in this week’s Episode 8 of “Light Over Heat,” the sort of dialogue and collaboration that yielded this editorial may be a good path to promoting light over heat on the issue of guns.

Background to this week’s episode is that I appeared on the Red, Blue and Brady podcast last summer to talk about new gun owners and Gun Culture 2.0 and the hosts were very professional. One of the hosts, J.J. Janflone, said if I was ever in DC I should come by the Brady offices, so when I was there in January I took her up on her offer.

I had a very interesting and productive conversation with several Brady staff, in particular about the “End Family Fire” initiative and the issue of safe storage of firearms. They define “family fire” as “a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun in the home that results in death or injury.

Although we disagree about the correct definition of safe storage, the goal of reducing “family fire” via safe storage is something many can agree on. And that’s a start.

New “Light Over Heat” videos are released on YouTube every Wednesday, so please surf over to my YouTube channel and SUBSCRIBE to follow, RING THE BELL to receive notifications, and SHARE so others can learn about this work.

One thought on “Light Over Heat #8: What is Safe Storage of Firearms?

  1. Their definition is, as par for the course, deliberately deceptive. The title and illustration implies “children being shot by parents, or children shooting themselves or others, with a legally-owned firearm, IN THE HOME,” but the definition is not that restrictive, allowing them to lump any misuse of a firearm, legally or illegally possessed, including by criminals, including by thieves, inside or outside the home, against anyone at all.

    Given their definition of safe storage – “Always store guns unloaded, locked, separately from ammunition, and inaccessible to children and other at-risk individuals” it could also encompass a suicide by someone who has rightful access to the firearm and chooses to commit suicide with it. Which happen to be the vast majority of firearms suicides. By definition that person was, post-facto, “at-risk” and with 20/20 hindsight available to the anti-rights activist evidence the family “should have known they were at-risk” can always be found to justify a “safe storage” failure and thus the need for ever more stringent access restrictions.

    I am pleased they chose to add the actual gun safety rules to their page “Family Fire” page, I just wish they would be more honest and precise in their advocacy. Actually promote actual safety, not nudge toward the backdoor bans they continue to seek.


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