The COVID-19 pandemic has confined families and individuals to their homes, creating considerable, widespread stress. Gun sales have surged in North Carolina, where gun retailers report increases of 5-10 times above normal March gun sales, especially for first time buyers. This creates a deadly combination.
Ensuring safe storage of guns is always important – but especially critical during this crisis.
Can you share safe firearm storage information with gun owners you know, and on social media?
To safely store firearms, every gun in the home must be:
- Locked. Gun safes/cabinets are the safest option, but if one is not available, trigger locks or cable locks are good alternatives. Don’t forget to hide the key or combination from children or adults who have threatened to harm themselves or others.
- Stored separately from locked up ammunition.
Local free or low cost safe storage resources
Safety kits, which include a free cable-style gun lock and safety instructions, are usually available from your local law enforcement agency. If you or someone you love feels that having a gun in the home is not safe right now, some gun shops and local law enforcement will store guns temporarily to help in times of concern. Call them first to find out how and where you can take your guns for temporary safe storage.
Why is safe storage in the home so important?
Most (70%) of NC gun deaths happen at home, and mainly include suicide, domestic violence, and accidental shootings. North Carolinians are at home now more than ever, and the pressures from a sudden and complete change to our lifestyle are stressful, real, and we don’t know yet when things will return to normal. Access to firearms increases suicide risk by more than 300%, and homicides by 200%. During this uncertain time, and especially with new gun owners, we need to be talking about safe firearm storage with our friends and loved ones, to keep guns away from kids, and from adults who are a danger to themselves or others.
Can you share this message with anyone that you know that owns a gun, and on social media? You can link to our safe storage fact sheet, which has good data on why safe storage is important and instructions on how to use a cable lock.
Lastly, please check out this blog on NC-specific resources from our partners at North Carolina MomsRising. It has a great list of state and national resources, including links for connecting with mental health and domestic violence resources.
Storing firearms safely at home is responsible and simple. And it just may save a loved one’s life. With the rise in firearm purchases and the evolving coronavirus pandemic creating fear, isolation at home, and uncertain supervision of youth, your sharing of this important safe storage information could save the lives of the people you love.