Guns and ammo stored together are like petrol and a matchbox stored together. They look harmless but capable of causing a great disaster if accessed by an inexperienced person.
Keeping the two in one place might appear to be a good option for self-defense emergencies. However, it can amount to lawbreaking, leading to charges against you in a court of law.
What does the law state about the storage of guns and ammo? Are there circumstances where you can store the two together? Let us consider these two questions.
Storage Regulations for Guns and Ammo
The law requires guns and ammo to be in different places to ensure safety. However, this helps to prevent unauthorized access and use of the firearm.
If kids were to come across their parents’ firearms in the house, they would want to try them out. How safe would they be if the firearms were loaded?
According to the National Firearms Association, a gun owner is likely to get charges of three offenses. These are inappropriate use, illegal transportation, and unsafe storage of the firearm. Most gun owners get charges of unsafe storage offenses.
If someone other than you misuses your firearm, the first question that would arise is how that person accessed your firearm. The obvious conclusion would be that you were careless in storing it.
Keep It Unloaded and Secure
For a non-restricted firearm, the law requires you to store it when unloaded or when you remove the bolt. Alternatively, you can lock your firearm in a secure device, room, or any container that someone cannot break into.
If someone can access a room can through an unbarred window, it is not a secure room. If a person can break into a closet by removing the hinges, it is not secure for storing loaded guns.
Removing the bolt from the gun makes it dysfunctional. In this case, you can store it anywhere. For non-restricted firearms, the law does not specify the distance between the gun and the bolt.
For restricted firearms, which are automatic, the law requires you to store the bolt in in a separate room or a secure container.
A restricted handgun should have a trigger lock. The store can be a safe or any container that is difficult to break into.
When Can Guns and Ammo Be Together?
There are only two circumstances where you can store firearms and ammo together. The first is for non-restricted firearms. You can store the two together if you store them in a lockable container that is hard to break.
The second is when the firearm is being used. If you are cleaning it, hunting with it, or just holding it, then the firearm is in use. In such a case, it can be loaded. Just be careful not to forget it on the table while it is still loaded.
Police officers often hurry to arrest people just because they saw a firearm on the table. If the firearm is loaded, the best defense in such a case would be to prove that the firearm was in use at the moment. If it is not loaded, then there would be no reason for the arrest.
In case of an improper arrest, the National Firearms Association can provide technical advice, which can help drop the charges before trial. A court trial for unsafe storage of firearms can lead to a prison sentence of up to 2 years.
Guns and Ammo Storage That is Safe for Children
If you have no kids, you still need to be careful. Your nephews, nieces, grandchildren, or the neighbors’ kids may come to visit you. The best thing is to ensure that you hide the safe where you keep your gun. Children and visitors to the house should not have any access to it.
Hiding the safe would also be helpful in case an intruder or a bugler comes to your house. If they see the safe where you keep your gun, they may try to break into it or steal the entire safe. You may consider fixing the safe on the wall or the floor where no one can remove it to avoid theft.
If a child below 18 years obtains your gun and goes with it in public places or uses it to cause harm or death, you would be guilty of a felony.
Keep the Children Safe
To keep your gun safe from children, you can either use a cable lock or trigger lock. The cable lock keeps the gun from working by preventing any magazine from proper insertion in the magazine. You use a key to lock the cable and then put the key in a separate location.
A trigger lock uses a type of lock that blocks access to the trigger. It also requires you to keep the key far from the access of children.
With these two locks, the risk of harm is reduced. It would be better to use both a safe and one of the two types of lock to maximize your safety. Bear in mind that a properly stored key, combination, or even biometrics are not completely full proof, so gun safety education is a must.
If you can’t keep the children in your home safe, its better to not own guns and ammunition since you harm exactly who you intend to protect.
Storage Conditions Suitable for Ammo
Guns and ammo stored together may not be appropriate. First, to comply with the law, you may have to store your ammo separately from your gun. Second, you may have a large stock of ammo that you cannot store together with the gun.
There are three important factors to consider having good ammo storage – temperature, humidity, and freshness.
Keep your ammo in a dry place away from moisture. You can lock it in an airtight can, use silica gel packets to absorb moisture, or keep them in a dry room.
Keep your ammo away from high temperatures. A normal room temperature is appropriate. Avoid high-temperature variations as this can ruin the powder in them.
Use your oldest ammo first before you use your new one – this will ensure that you always have fresh ammo in the stock.
The law requires the storage of guns separate from ammo. The safest way to store a gun is to disable it then lock it in a safe. Whether you are keeping your firearm at home, in the car, or a hunting camp, always ensure that how you store your gun is safe for everyone.