For any individual owning one or more firearms, the question of proper gun storage is an important one. Some individuals are proud of their gun or rifle collection, and wish to have said collection on display for all to see, while others wish to be discreet, keeping a gun in the house for use only in case of emergencies or self-defense, but not wishing to advertise the fact. Some countries have gun laws allowing individual registered gun owners to store their firearms as they see fit, while others have stringent laws in place concerning the ways in which guns must be stored and secured by their owners. The question of storage often boils down to two issues: security and presentation. The following article will address these two issues based on the various types of gun cabinets and safes available on today’s market, and will attempt to determine whether there need be a conflict between the two.
There are a great variety of reasons that an individual or household may own a firearm. While hunters may regularly make use of one or more rifles during hunting season, an urban household may possess a handgun for over a decade and never make use of it. For every gun owner, a different storage method will be most appropriate. Some of the most common gun storage units take the form of the gun cabinet and the rifle or pistol safe. While the former suggests a form of furniture, and even a means of displaying one’s firearms, the latter suggests a more utilitarian function geared primarily towards security. Thankfully, the two styles are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to find secure storage units that are also attractive and functional furniture pieces. The key to finding the right type of storage unit for your needs is being able to distinguish between them, while identifying the features that are most important to you.
Before issues of firearms possession, registration, and secure storage became widespread, the most common way of storing pistols and larger guns were utilizing rifle or gun cabinets. These cabinets were generally attractive and prominent furniture pieces, much the way curio cabinets are today. Features of a traditional gun cabinet generally included molded hardwood frames that were either punctuated with attractive glass doors, or left solid. While still available on today’s market, this traditional gun storage method inspires a controversy among those who believe that all firearms should be secured under lock and key when not in use. In addition, several countries around the world, including Australia and Canada have instituted laws specifying these and other security measures for all registered firearms. There are multiple solutions available: either outfit a traditional rifle cabinet with a modern lock system, or select a more modern pistol or rifle safe.
A basic safe for firearms or otherwise will be judged for its various security features, including locking mechanisms, the sturdiness of its materials, and additional features such as anti-pry mechanisms and an ability to withstand external elements such as fire and flood. One of the most popular materials for safes is steel; obviously not the most attractive or decorative material for a furniture piece, but extremely functional and durable. In order to make a steel safe work within the general decor of a home, safe makers will often decorate the safe door with images (this strategy works especially well for rifle cabinets, on which etchings of hunting scenes create an appropriate container for hunting materials of all sorts), or frame the safe itself within a larger, more traditional-looking wooden cabinet. Because of their construction specifications, the purchase of a gun safe is not an inexpensive investment. If you are considering looking into used gun safes, either to save money or to find an older, more rustic-looking design, remember to take into account the safety features of the container, as well as its price and appearance.
Another aspect of gun storage and security that must not be overlooked is the nature of the container’s lock. The most common types of locks for gun safes include combinations, digital systems, electronic systems, and biometrics. Different sources will argue for all of these locking systems, but essentially the most appropriate type of lock will depend upon the needs of each individual owner. The first three lock types listed above are more commonly known. The last one however, uses newer technology, and merits additional discussion.
A biometric gun safe, also called a fingerprint gun safe, is one that uses fingerprint detection as a means of identifying individuals authorized to access its contents. In other words, instead of using a key that is easily reproduced such as either as physical key, a combination or a password, biometric lock safes rely on specific biological information that is virtually impossible to fake or forge. Advantages to this locking and unlocking method include the knowledge that no one aside from pre-authorized individuals will be able to access or use firearms registered in one person’s name, providing an easy and accessible means of being entirely responsible for the firearms in one’s possession. Unfortunately, most biometric gun safes will also have a fairly modern look, simply owing to the nature of the lock. While dial locks can still be quite traditional in appearance, even when they are not housed in a cabinet-style container, fingerprint locks are harder to disguise.
While in some countries the degree to which firearms must be concealed and secured when not in use is determined by the government and other firearms associations, the responsibility for safety and security essentially boils down to every individual gun owner. Attractive display and storage options may be most appealing and important to some proud collectors, but ensuring that all firearms remain accessible only to authorized and responsible adults is equally, if not more important. Thankfully, with the great variety of gun safes on today’s market, it is possible to find storage options that are both attractive and secure.