Frequently Asked Questions

How does safe gun storage really make a difference?

Safe gun storage can reduce unintentional injuries, suicides, and intentional harm, including school shootings, by stopping unauthorized access.

Research indicates:

  • Nearly 1 in 4 children have handled a gun in their home without their parents knowing. Safe gun storage helps prevent their curiosity from turning into tragedy.
  • Access to a gun triples the risk of death by suicide. In 75% of youth firearm suicides for which the gun storage method could be identified, the gun was stored loaded and unlocked. Adding time and space put between an individual in crisis and a gun decreases the risk of suicide.
  • 76% of school shooters under the age of 18 accessed the gun from the home of family or friends. Safe gun storage can decrease unintended access to guns and help keep our kids and families safe.
How should I store my guns safely?

Any steps taken to store guns more securely can make your home safer. Safe gun storage can prevent firearm misuse, while still providing you with quick access when it’s needed.

Gun storage may look different for everyone. But, locking all of your guns is a great first step to preventing unintended access. If all of your guns are locked, consider storing your guns unloaded and away from ammunition for additional security.

Explore cable locks, gun safes, and more storage options to determine which are the right fit for your household.

How can I store my gun securely while still having quick access in case of an emergency?

There are many ways to ensure that guns are both securely stored and easily accessible for their intended users.

You can use quick access locks like biometric readers and practice unlocking and loading a gun to prepare for an emergency.

"When it comes to safe storage in the home, there’s a lot of fear and anxiety about being protected or protecting your home. But if you need quick access, there are methods with new technologies like biometric safes."

Read Chris' Story

Chris J.

When making firearm storage decisions, it is important to not only consider the threats from outside of the home. You should also consider the threat of family fire and firearm misuse inside of the home. Both can be prevented with safe gun storage.

What are affordable safe gun storage options?

Cable and trigger locks are often given away for free by law enforcement and community organizations. They are also widely available for purchase ranging in price from $5-20.

For additional security, consider lock boxes and carrying cases that can be purchased for as little as $15.

Consider all safe gun storage options to determine which are the right fit for your household.

Why is safe gun storage important to preventing gun suicide?

Access to a firearm in the home triples the risk of death by suicide. Safe gun storage can help delay access to a firearm in a moment of crisis. This gives individuals critical moments to reconsider or seek help.

"I tell people now that it may seem kind of silly that I lock my gun up. But when you’re in that state, while you’re trying to find your ammo and unlock the gun, you can get that moment of clarity and say, 'I need to pick up the phone and call somebody and ask for help.' That’s the important part. That moment can happen to anyone."

Read Cliff's Story

Cliff B.
Who is affected by gun suicide?

Gun suicide directly and indirectly affects many people, and oftentimes it is a private struggle. Out of the 48,830 gun-related deaths in the U.S. in 2021, more than half of deaths were gun suicides. That is more than unintentional shootings and homicides combined.

Some communities are uniquely at risk for suicide. As a group, service members and Veterans are uniquely at risk for suicide, partly because they are more likely than their civilian counterparts to have access to firearms. They also have the knowledge and training in how to use them. We lose 12 Veterans a day to gun suicide.

As firearm suicide rates rise across the country, there have been marked increases in children ages 0-17, people of color, the Midwest, and rural communities.

What can I do if I'm contemplating suicide or if a loved one is in crisis?

If you are concerned that you or your loved one is in danger of hurting themselves, consider reaching out to one of the below options:

The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides trained crisis workers available 24/7 to guide you through options to help you or your loved one with thoughts of suicide. The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline can also provide information on local resources, including treatment.

Call or text 988. Veterans can select “1” to be connected with someone uniquely qualified to support Veterans. Support is also available in Spanish by pressing "2".

For deaf and hard of hearing users who would like to use TTY, use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988. Online chat is available at

The Crisis Text Line

The Crisis Text Line provides volunteer crisis counselors through a confidential texting service that is available 24/7 in the United States.

Text HOME to 741741 for English and AYUDA to 741741 for Spanish.

Online chat is available at

Message 741741 on WhatsApp.

The Trevor Project for LGBTQ+ Youth & Young Adults

The Trevor Project provides 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ+ youth & young adults ages 13–24.

Call (866) 488-7386, text “START” to 678-678, or chat online at

For Young Adults in Communities of Color

The Steve Fund has created a special keyword STEVE that young people of color who are feeling stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed. Text "STEVE" to 741741 and a live, trained crisis counselor will respond 24/7.

How do I temporarily remove guns from my home?

Explore options to temporarily remove guns and help a loved one who may be in a temporary crisis.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C. offer a civil order known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO's; also known as "red flag laws"). The civil orders can temporarily prevent a person at risk of harming themselves or others from purchasing or possessing guns.

ERPO's hit pause on a potentially deadly situation and give loved ones the necessary time to heal. Researchers estimate that at least one life was saved from gun suicide for every 10-20 ERPO's issued in Connecticut.

Click here to learn more about Extreme Risk Protection Orders. Visit your state's public health department website or contact local law enforcement for information.

Off-Site Storage

Firearm retailers, shooting ranges, and/or law enforcement facilities in your area may offer off-site gun storage. Off-site storage can offer an additional temporary or long-term layer of protection when you need it. This could include when you have children in the home, when you are traveling, or if a loved one is in crisis.

Explore off-site gun storage options in Colorado, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you don't see your state listed, contact your local law enforcement for information.

How do I permanently remove a gun from my home?

If you no longer want to have a firearm or think having one at home may present a danger to you or others, you can permanently give up your unwanted guns.

You can usually deliver your firearm to a local police station or sheriff's department. Call ahead to ask if they accept personal firearms and what procedures are involved. It is important to understand if the gun can be delivered to the station or if law enforcement will come to your home to collect it.

If you are going to the station, oftentimes you will not be permitted to bring the firearm into the building. Ask how they would like you to store the gun during the exchange. If they are coming to your home, ask for a time frame so you can prepare.

There are also national organizations that can help you give up your firearms. Research national organizations to ensure they are responsibly recycling or disposing of your guns.

How can I learn about gun storage options and laws in my area?

There are no federal laws regarding safe gun storage. There may be laws in your state that require certain forms of storage and/or the purchase of a storage mechanism with guns.

Click here to see if your state has gun storage laws.

Should gun owners talk to others about safe gun storage?

Gun owners can play a key role in ending family fire by regularly having conversations about responsible gun ownership and safe storage practices.

"When we check in with our friends and loved ones, we should be asking them if they have a gun, and if they do, is it safely stored? We can normalize the idea that gun safety is important and it’s okay to talk about."

Read Adam's Story

Adam F.
Who should I talk to about safe gun storage?

Talk with your family, friends, and members of your community and ask if they have their guns securely stored in their homes. You can also speak with your medical provider for guidance on how to keep your home safe.

Start a Discussion with Family & Friends

It can be intimidating to talk to loved ones about how they store their guns. But having regular conversations can help everyone learn about the importance of safe gun storage and the options available to them to prevent incidents of family fire.

When you check in with friends and family, ask how they are feeling. Don’t be afraid to have tough conversations about firearms and suicide risk.

If you are caring for an elderly loved one with guns in the home, read the Alzheimer's Association Firearm Safety guide.

ASK Before Visiting Other Homes

Parents and guardians ask all sorts of questions before their kids visit other homes.

"Are there pets in the house?" "Will my child be exposed to allergens?" "How do you manage internet access?" Asking about guns in the home and how they are stored should be no different, because Asking Saves Kids (ASK).

Learn more about how Asking Saves Kids.

Speak with Your Medical Provider

Gun violence is a public health crisis. Your physician can help provide you with research-backed guidance on how to keep your loved ones healthy and safe.

How do I start a conversation about safe gun storage?

Start a conversation about gun safety and safe gun storage with these tips:

  • Approach the conversation casually and from a point of understanding. Remain calm - emotions can escalate the conversation making it more difficult for your message to be heard.
  • Explain how storing guns safely will help protect them and their loved ones.
  • Listen to the other person’s response, without interruption.
  • Focus on what safe gun storage looks like in everyday life.
  • Be prepared to share a few safe gun storage options.
  • Give examples of gun owners in your life who practice safe storage, or see if they would be willing to join the conversation.

If the first conversation doesn’t go the way you want, consider what you might change and try again at a later time.

Consider using these conversations starters based on your situation:

  • For parents dropping off their kids for a playdate: “My kid is pretty curious, and our doctor recommended that I ask if there is an unlocked gun where my child will play?”
  • For teens taking their first babysitting job: “Is there an unlocked and/or loaded gun in your home?”
  • For young adults moving in with roommates: “Does anyone own a gun? If so, how is it stored?"
  • For those caring for an elderly loved one, especially those who may suffer from a form of dementia: “Do we need to rethink how we safely store any guns?”

Learn more about how to ask about unlocked guns in the home.

Do I need to teach my kids about safe gun storage?

Even if they've been exposed to firearms from a young age, it's important to regularly teach kids about gun storage.

Nearly 1 in 4 children have handled a gun in their home without their parents knowing. Safe gun storage helps prevent their curiosity from becoming a tragedy.

Storage of guns in the home is an adult's responsibility. Having conversations with children can instill the importance of safe storage to keep the family safe.

Are there resources available for medical providers interested in discussing safe gun storage with patients?

The American Medical Association provides resources for physicians to promote firearm safety, including conversation and safe storage guides.

The BulletPoints Project teaches medical and mental health care providers how they can help reduce firearm injuries. Explore educational guides, clinical scenarios, and intervention options to better prepare for patient conversations.

What is End Family Fire?

End Family Fire is a joint public education effort by Brady and the Ad Council that encourages safe firearm storage. The goal is to reduce shooting deaths and injuries caused by the misuse of guns from the home.

The program aims to bring awareness to the issue of family fire, give gun owners a role in reducing gun-related deaths and injuries, and encourage a national dialogue around safe storage practices.

Visit the About page to learn more about End Family Fire.

How can I help promote End Family Fire?

Get inspired on how you can spark conversations about safe gun storage and promote End Family Fire in your community.

How can I share my story about safe gun storage?

If you are at least 18 years of age and would like to share your story about the importance of safe gun storage in your household, you can email [email protected].

A Moment of Crisis Can Happen to Anyone

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, text or call 988, or chat at