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The Importance of Safe Gun Storage Over the Holidays

As the holiday season approaches, households nationwide are beginning the process of preparing for friends and family to surround their dinner tables and fill their living rooms. 

You may be welcoming more people into your space than usual, or maybe you’re bringing your own children to a new home—which may or may not have a gun around. Regardless of who’s hosting, it can be difficult to keep track of where people are and who is touching what, especially with curious young children running around. Unloading and locking away guns properly means that the worst thing they’ll get their hands on is probably an embarrassing memento from high school.

There are more guns than people in America. On top of that, more than half of all gun owners store at least one of their guns unsafely, without any locks or other secure storage measures. Nearly a quarter of all gun owners report storing all of their guns in an unlocked location in their home. 

The holidays are meant to be a time full of happiness. Securely storing firearms, both over the holidays and year-round, ensures that gatherings will be joyous, safe occasions for you and your loved ones.


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Why Does Safe Gun Storage Matter?

Storing guns safely can mean the difference between life and death.

26 states and Washington DC have some sort of safe storage or child access prevention law on the books. These laws require unattended firearms to be stored in specific ways, usually locked and unloaded with ammunition somewhere else. The details vary from state to state, as there are currently no federal safe storage laws. 

The strongest safe storage laws might require that all unattended firearms are stored safely. Other states may simply request that owners store their guns safely when certain people are likely to be present, such as minors or people who are prohibited from firearms possession. Many have no safe storage laws at all.

There are 4.6 million minors in the US who live in homes with at least one loaded and unsecured firearm. Most firearms used in gun deaths perpetrated by minors are taken from the child’s own home or the homes of their relatives or friends. The risk of suicide and unintentional shootings increases in a home where guns are stored unsafely. 

Over the holidays in particular, these unintentional shootings can occur for multiple reasons, but are most notably attributed to children and teenagers being out of school and having more frequent access to unsecured guns. Guns are also known to be popular gifts for the holidays—on Black Friday this year, the FBI conducted almost 215,000 background checks as Americans swarmed to buy guns, setting a new single-day record for the program.

How to Talk to Your Family about Safe Gun Storage

Talking about safe gun storage gives precedence to the safety of yourself, your friends, and your family. Approaching this topic may be nerve-wracking, but there are a few strategies that may help make your family more receptive to hearing your points.

  • Approach the conversation from a point of understanding and with the goal of reaching a common ground. “I” statements allow you to assert your feelings without the other person feeling like you’re attacking their own views and beliefs. Leave room for open dialogue and prepare yourself for potential discomfort.
  • Remind your family members that their priorities should lie in keeping their family safe. Owning a gun comes with a great deal of responsibility. Make sure your family thinks about all the potential consequences of having a gun in the house. 
  • Keep the discussions going! You’re not going to come to an agreement after one conversation. Gun safety is a complex issue, but it is important to be persistent in your advocacy, both interpersonally and otherwise.

Securely storing guns to keep friends and family safe should remain a priority year round. Use this holiday season as the push to become a responsible and safe gun owner or encourage friends and family to do the same, and keep that momentum going into the new year and beyond. 




The NRA’s extremist views don’t represent the majority of gun owners. Responsible gun owners understand that commonsense gun laws go hand-in-hand with firearm ownership.

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We’re building a movement of Americans committed to gun safety. Democrats and Republicans, gun owners and non–gun owners alike—we stand united to reject the gun lobby and pass lifesaving gun safety laws.