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Can You Keep a Loaded Gun in Your House Safely?

Can you keep a loaded gun in your house? The overriding answer to that question is yes, but at the risk of some very grave consequences. There is also the issue of legality since some states like California do not allow keeping a loaded firearm within your home premises.

California gun laws require owners to make certain that a gun is stored unloaded. It should also be in a place not accessible by adults and children, or other people prohibited from possessing a gun.  

This subject has become such a polarizing issue, engaging much of public opinion into the fray.

This post is by no means an attempt to look into the conditions set forth by law to keep a loaded gun in your house. Instead, it will examine the practical arguments for keeping one, or conversely, why you should not.

What Are the Benefits of Keeping a Loaded Gun In Your House


The benefits of having a loaded gun are apparently the speed at which you will be able to respond to an emergency. Having a gun locked and loaded will have its obvious advantages if you are reacting to a life and death situation, or where self-defense is imperative.

The length of time it will take one to respond in such a perilous circumstance will be drastically different if your gun was loaded or not.


Gun models load differently, with some requiring more effort than others. Furthermore, when under duress, a gun owner will likely be anxious and nervous and could fumble during the loading process.

Having a loaded gun bypasses this probability, with an owner able to respond more effectively to protect his life and/or safeguard his family.

Crime Prevention and Deterrence

The benefits of gun ownership and possession are to deter crime and stop crimes in progress. The main argument for people to have a handgun in the home is for protection from criminal violence. Not to initiate aggression. However, it is vital to point out that the home is a rather safe place, especially from strangers.

Studies in fact have shown that few burglaries occur when someone is at home. In the burglaries when violence does ensue, the intruder is usually someone the homeowner knows.

Anti-gun advocates say that the conditions under which the possession of guns is justified does not exist in modern, civilized society. The anarchy and lawlessness that is invoked by pro-gun groups simply do not exist, even in the rowdiest neighborhoods (according to anti-gun groups).

Risk of Keeping a Loaded Gun in your House

The risks of keeping a loaded gun are so established that it would be foolish to ignore them. Safety groups not only recommend that parents lock up their guns but even stress that the weapons need to be taken out of the house altogether.

This drastic approach is backed-up by statistics that point at some very disturbing facts.

Accidental Fatalities

Can You Keep a Loaded Gun in Your House Safely?

First, having any loaded gun in the house is a risk for accidental injury and even death. Hundreds of fatalities result from accidents with guns each year.

Likewise, nonfatal injuries from guns occur at an average rate of 20 a day in the U.S. That figure does not count injuries accidentally inflicted by pellet-guns or injuries that involve guns but not a gunshot, such as burns.

Many of these Injuries often occurred during innocent, non-malicious gun handling.  Routine gun cleaning, loading and unloading, and so on.


Suicidal tendencies and the presence of a loaded are a very deadly combination to have at home. Too many suicides have resulted from guns present at home in recent years.

In fact, more suicides were committed with guns than with all other methods of taking one’s own life. There is a morbid success rate committing suicide with a pistol simply because they are more lethal than other methods.


Most murders usually involve guns.  The accessibility of a loaded gun in the house makes disputes, quarrels, fights, assaults, and thefts more deadly. The truth is many murders are done in a moment of rage and blind fury.

For instance, a large number of homicides, especially in the home happen during disagreements over finances, domestic problems, neighbors, lovers, and family members.

How to Keep a Gun Inside the House Safely

In light of these realities, how do you keep a gun at home with utmost safety? Many families who elect to keep guns in the home resort to confronting the issue head-on. These parents teach the kids about gun safety.

An informed child is much better than one kept in the dark. They are also taught not to touch a firearm if they find one. This precaution is very effective according to gun owners

Parents can further bring down the chances of kids being injured by instituting these safety protocols.

Focus On Child Safety Foremost

Can You Keep a Loaded Gun in Your House Safely?

Parents usually underestimate a child’s ability to access and fire a gun, and often this is where the problem of safety emanates. As mentioned earlier, it is imperative to talk to kids about guns.

They should likewise distinguish between real, toy, and video game guns, to make sound judgments about handling. Adherence to gun safety rules should also be consistent.

For instance when using a gun for hunting or target practice, always teach your child to keep the safety lock in place until you are going to fire it. Likewise, before putting the gun down, always unload it first.

Be a consistent example of showing how to safely handle and shoot a firearm. This will all contribute to making them understand how deadly it is, and they will grow up to be responsible gun owners too someday.

Proper Gun Storage – Loaded Gun In The House A No-No

Always keep your gun under lock and key and keep the key yourself. Here is a quick checklist to go through as you keep your firearm.

  • The location should be out of sight and reach.
  • A firearm should be kept UNLOADED, Not cocked, and locked securely.
  • Visually examine the chamber of a semi-automatic handgun. It should be empty.
  • Remove the magazine.
  • Keep and lock up ammunition separate from your gun.
  • Store ammunition in a place that is neither moist nor hot.
  • Do not keep your gun under a mattress, bed, or in an unlocked drawer.
  • Avoid keeping your gun or ammunition with items that are likely theft targets.

Do these safety measures and the results are well worth the effort. The habit of keeping firearms unloaded, under lock and key, and storing ammunition in a separate locked location serve as redundant, protective measures.

Combined, these practices reduce suicide and accidental injury in homes with children and teenagers where guns are legally owned.

Gun Safes

An option for keeping guns securely is a gun safe. These range from high-tech, mobile safes that can be visible to everyone in the house and yet are secure. Alternatively, you can opt for huge, fireproof safes built to store larger numbers of guns.

There are multiple types of gun safes that can be used to store your guns safely. Buyers should be aware of the pros and cons of different gun safes so that you can buy the best gun safes for your needs. If you’re unsure, you can read our take on the best cheap gun safes on the market.

Anchoring Large Safes

Good old gun safes are a good option for people who have gun collections and want to keep them securely. The goal is the same, which is to keep your firearms out of the hands of people who should not have them, such as children.

Other storage tips to prevent damage when storing your guns is not to wrap your guns in a transport sleeve. Doing so can result in moisture damage. Instead, fully expose the gun to air and leave it unwrapped.

Gun safes are great at keeping children from accessing firearms but can also protect the weapons in case of fire. When anchoring your safe, reinforce the overall safety and security by doing the following:

  • Make the safe hard to steal;
  • Make it even more difficult to break into;
  • Keep the safe secure so it does not accidentally tip forward.

It is a good idea to bolt gun safes of any size onto the floor. Even smaller pistol safes all have mounting holes underneath to enable securing to the floor or anything that will not budge. Similarly, with the larger gun safes, anchoring it makes it immune to theft.

Anyone just getting started on his gun collection should have a parallel interest in gun storage. Such a collection is expensive, potentially dangerous, and something worth protecting.

Preventing the theft of guns in a home is another reason to own a gun safe. Guns are not cheap items, and some enthusiast’s collections can be quite extensive, and cost a small fortune.

Gun Cabinets

Being much lighter than gun safes, gun cabinets are also good for securely keeping gun collections. They are lockable, and can effectively keep the weapons from getting into the hands of kids.

The downside is due to their lightweight they can be carried away or broken into by burglars much more easily than large gun safes.

Furthermore, a gun cabinet provides little protection from disasters. For instance, if a fire guts your home, the thin sheet metal that makes up your cabinet will not withstand raging flames for very long.

If you are looking at cost, a gun cabinet is much less than a safe. Handy guys can even have the option of building one out of wood and turning it into a beautiful piece of heirloom furniture.

Gun Cases

Gun Cases are available at most gun shops and sporting goods stores. They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and materials to suit every type of firearm. Gun case designs range from padded fabric sleeves to rugged foam-lined plastic cases. The prices will range anywhere from $10 to $200. The main use of this kind of carry case is to protect one or more pistols from damage.

The majority of soft and hard-side cases are lockable for transport to and from shooting events and your home. Affordability and portability, and easy storage make locked gun cases a common and convenient safe gun storage method. It is not ideal, but far better than keeping a bare gun in a bedside drawer or closet. A locked carry case can effectively keep children from handling a pistol too.

The downside to their usefulness as safe storage devices is the materials that they are made of. Soft fabrics and plastics used will be their limitations for durability.  It is easy to penetrate some cases quickly using ordinary sharp tools. Likewise, since gun cases are light on purpose to carry and handle, they are easy to steal by a thief or anyone else.

If they are not secure or chained in some other lockable compartment, it very easy to pick one and it is gone forever. In other words, while gun cases may provide safety from accidental firing they are not great against burglary.

If you’re looking for a gun case, head on to this article to read more about the best gun cases, especially for air travel.

A Loaded Gun In The House Is Dangerous

Can You Keep a Loaded Gun in Your House Safely?

27 states have laws in place that penalize gun owners who do not take measures to prevent their firearms from falling into the hands of a child. This are the ‘Child Access Prevention,’ or CAP laws.

These laws do not require gun owners to keep their firearms in a specific manner. What they do is strongly encourage their safe storage.

This same sense of responsibility is an advocacy of the National Rifle Association. Embodied in its own gun safety rules, The NRA states that guns must be stored in a way that they are not accessible to unauthorized persons, such as children.

The association even went further to say: “However, mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns, can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun safety rules.

Final Thoughts

Yes, you can keep a loaded gun in your house, if the law permits it. However, you need to take serious precautions to ensure that your choice will not endanger anyone, especially your family.

To reiterate and underscore the points discussed in this post, all firearms stored at home should be locked away safely and unloaded. Also, lock ammunition away in a separate location but preferably still close to where you store your guns.

Take measures to guarantee that children and teenagers cannot access the storage keys, or cannot gain knowledge of combinations to unlock boxes or gun safes. Furthermore, do not keep a loaded, non-secure gun in a vehicle parked in your home.

Ownership and possession of a gun is a huge responsibility. Be sure that you are ready to be compliant with all the safety regulations if you decide to keep firearms at home. At the end of the day, there is simply no substitute for safe storage and gun safety knowledge.

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