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How Many Gun Owners Don’t Secure Their Guns

More than half of polled gun owners report unsafe gun storage practices, according to a survey published by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in late February.

The internet based survey, which polled 1,444 gun owners in 2016 on their storage attitudes and habits, found that 54-percent of respondents indicated storing firearms in an unsafe manner. The study’s parameters for safe storage included keeping all guns locked in a gun safe, cabinet, case or gun rack or, alternatively, storing firearms with a trigger or cable lock.

Assistant professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, said the results of the survey were alarming, pointing to household gun ownership as a factor in some homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings.

“Many bring guns into their homes for self-defense, but unsecured guns can lead to unintentional shootings, suicides, and tragic cases of troubled teens using guns to commit acts of violence,” Crifasi said in a statement. “The survey findings indicate a real public health emergency.”

In addition to attempting to unearth the methods by which gun owners stow firearms in the home, the study also looked to the attitudes driving gun owners’ storage. The survey concluded that firearms enthusiasts who received training in a class setting were twice as likely to engage in safe storage practices, while gun owners citing home defense as factor in their storage decision were 30-percent less likely to safely stow guns.

While the gun industry emphasizes and backs safe gun handling and storage through programs designed to educate firearms consumers, NSSF Senior Director of Communications Bill Brassard said getting gun owners on board can sometimes to be tricky.

“The majority of firearms owners store their guns responsibly,” Brassard told via email. “That being said, some gun owners say they don’t use locked storage because they want quick access to a firearm for home protection. Others say locked storage isn’t necessary for them because there isn’t a child in their home. Neither is a reason to skip safe storage.”

Brassard pointed to the growing array of safe manufacturers offering a plethora of options that balance both access with safety. “As NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program points out, options exist for locked storage that allows quick access. And all gun owners should take steps to prevent theft of their firearms whether from home or vehicle.”

The GunBox is one such company, providing techy solutions, such as RFID and biometric options, to alleviate the conundrum of access versus safety. Tom Wright, president of The GunBox, said the biggest hurdle is convincing reluctant gun owners that safe storage doesn’t mean giving up gun rights.

“As a gun owner and concealed carrier myself, you want protection; but a traditional safe isn’t conveniently located,” Wright told “Gun ownership is a deeply revered right worth fighting for. Once gun owners realize we are on the same side and can provide that right without compromise, then it becomes a good idea. No one wants their weapon to end up in the hands of kids, grandkids or visiting friends.”

For many, the decision to lock up firearms is a personal one dependent on a bevy of individual factors. Gun owner Jason New told his home features a difficult floor plan that makes owning a traditional safe challenging. New said he plans to balance the issue of access versus storage by eventually purchasing more safes to distribute inconspicuously throughout his home.

“I believe (guns) should be locked up when away from home. If my guns were stolen and they weren’t in a safe, I’d never be able to sleep at night,” New said. “Eventually, I’d like to own a safe in most areas of my home for ease of access in an unexpected emergency. My home layout is fairly complicated so running from area to area isn’t ideal.”

Gun owner of four years Amanda Stoltenberg added that lifestyle also plays a large factor for many gun supporters when making the decision to lock up their arsenal.

“You can never 100-percent be sure that you won’t have unexpected company or kids around or even a burglary. Things happen. Life is unpredictable. I think not locking up your firearms is a calculated risk,” Stoltenberg told “On the other hand an inaccessible gun is useless in any self defense scenario. If I were single without kids I, honestly, likely wouldn’t have them all locked away.”

A study published in the journal of Pediatrics in June 2017 indicating that nearly 1,300 children die and 5,790 are treated for gunshot wounds in the U.S. each year. Though unintentional firearms deaths and homicides among children are on the decline, the number of suicides by firearms has been trending upward since 2007, according to researchers. These unfortunate events are why the NSSF implores gun owners to safely store their firearms to prevent tragic accidents from occurring.

“A firearms owner’s most important responsibility is to keep their guns out of the wrong hands, including children and at-risk persons,” Brassard said. “Keep in mind that nearly two-thirds of all firearm-related deaths are suicides, not homicides or accidents. If you know someone is going through a difficult period, preventing access to firearms (and other means) can save a life.”

Brassard urged interested gun owners on the hunt for more gun safety tips, including where to pick up a free gun cable lock, to visit the NSSF’s Project Child Safe website at for more information.



  • meamark

    031418 the right to bear, an article about gun owners who don’t secure their guns

    a gun, locked in a safe : somewhere in a gun in a safe is in a place where you cannot get to it in a timely manner; THEREFORE

    it is useless – you have are disarmed yourself = you might as well have just given the ‘anti-gun “stupid ‘Kommunist’ disarm the citizen thug advocates your weapons and ask which train they want you to load yourself and family onto.

    The reason you have weapons is to have those weapons available for immediate use in unexpected – unforeseeable circumstances = so they are available when the situation requires them…

    now, I do not know the statistics on the number of looting : murdering thugs who pre-notify their victims that they will arrive to rob them – kill them, at the corner of walk and don’t walk ,at 9:32 pm pst… but my guess is there is no existing or emerging statistical notification curve; so,

    until a useful notification curve is established… I guess you just advocate disarming the Law abiding citizen with storage requirements, OR you advocates could pass a law requiring all assaulting criminals to give their victims a 2 hour lead time and the location of the attack so victims have a chance to go get their weapons and body armor from wherever you require law abiding citizens to store private weapons… in which case, your safe gun citizen disarmament storage plan might work to do something besides disarm the gun owner with state ordered storage requirements.

    When ‘you’ the gun owner cannot access your weapons because the Law requires law abiding Citizens ‘you’ to have them ‘properly stored’, you are disarmed in all cases in which you are not standing at your safe with the door open.

    And, of course, you anti-gun nuts will, along with the safe gun storage laws, pass those criminal statutes that make the law abiding gun owning citizen the target felon of any weapon active moment because she did not safe store her guns…

    O ! wait the state already does that with leaving your keys in your car….


    • Christikido

      Amen! Secular Humanistic Relativism has Murdered more than all the Barbarian cultures from antiquity and all Religious Zealots combined! They stifle Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Association and force their unproven, unsound supposed Science Doctrines down our Children and Societies throat! They are the very definition of a violation of the Establishment Clause regarding, “Congress Establishing and Preventing the Free Exercise of Religion”, by Establishing Secular Humanistic Relativism as the Exclusive Religion of the USA. We the People are subsidizing that Religion and its Teachers, Architects, Librarians, Agents, Scientists, Professors, Police Security, Rangers and Tour guides. We do this from K thru Doctorate educational Institutions, Federal and State Museums, Libraries, Zoos, Parks and Wildlife Refuges. All pushing an Atheistic Darwinist Evolutionary worldview, with No Tolerance for opposing worldview, regardless of the merits and evidence of its truths. So there is only one conclusion to such a path of intolerance and that is to Disarm the People, so absolute control of information, history and scientific fact may be manipulated, without fear of reprisal of the Governed! Perhaps it is time as in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “To refresh the Tree of Liberty with the Blood of Patriots”, or at least to Sue the Congress of the USA for Violating the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution! If we don’t do something soon the Nazi Democrats are going to steal back Congress and then they will finish us off as an independent country, this is our last chance to stop the Globalist Society! We must stand United and Armed! Thanks for your post!


  • oldwestman

    All my firearms are in a locked safe except the two (a semi auto sidearm and either a rifle or shotgun, depending on the time of day) that are kept out for the occasional varmint and for self protection. When we leave our home these too are locked up. All ammunition is locked up in another room away from the safe. My wife has a safe of her own for her firearms which is away from the main safe. She also keeps a .357 handy when she is home.


    • rottenrollin

      Sounds reasonable except keeping the ammo away from the artillery.

      THAT makes no sense at all.

      If I’m not locked and loaded, I want to be able TO GET THAT WAY very quickly.

      To each his own, safety above all……….except self-defense.


      • oldwestman

        The firearms that are kept out when we are home are fully loaded with extra mags for the semi auto and extra shells or ammo for the rifle or shotgun , depending on which one is being used at the time.


        • rottenrollin

          Sounds like you’re all set.

          Pray you never have to use them, wish you every success if you do.


          • oldwestman

            Yeah I know, I don’t ever want to be in the position of having to defend our home and lives with a firearm but we are ready. I’m a Viet era vet and know that you have to be able react at once to a threat situation.

          • rottenrollin

            Likewise, Army, 1968-72, stateside.

            Wasn’t it a great time to be in the military, particularly stateside? Sarc.

            Good luck and keep your eyes and ears open.

          • oldwestman

            I was not stateside but overseas hunting men for fun and profit for my favorite Uncle

  • sandraleesmith46

    Accidental shootings aren’t apt to happen if you teach your children gun safety early on, and as Meanmark points out, a gun in a safe is the same as NO gun at all when the crisis occurs for which you need said weapon. YOU are disarmed as much as if you had NO gun; it must be easily accessible at all times and LOADED, ready to use for defense! During colonial times and clear into the early 20th century in many parts of the country, kids had their own guns and carried them for defense against deadly critters, such as snakes or large predators they might encounter in the course of their days. It was a matter of life and death to be armed, or not. They learned how to use those guns and accidental shootings were rare. Today, people teach children to be AFRAID of guns as if those inanimate tools were more deadly, than many other tools around them in day to day existence. They AREN’T! What has gotten more deadly is their FELLOW HUMANS! And that too, has more to do with the leftist push in schools and media, than anything else. You can’t marinate kids in an environment of violence and evil 24/7-365 and NOT create broken humans who have no conscience, and no empathy! Given any “frustration” and /or “cause” and any kind of weapon, THOSE become deadly, regardless what the weapon might be!
    IF anyone is serious about stopping mass shootings and other assaults, FIX the PEOPLE; don’t take the defenses away from those who need them because “9 mil is always faster than 911” is a FACT! And we all have a God-given RIGHT to self- and other-defense, which police aren’t in a position to provide, unless by chance 1 happens to be RIGHT THERE, when the need arises.


  • rottenrollin

    It’s the eternal catch-22.

    A weapon that’s ready to use vs the weapon that is safely locked away, totally ineffective.

    In a like vein, I’ve ALWAYS called an unloaded weapon a club. No bullets, it’s next to worthless. An expensive baseball bat ….. or baseball, if a pistol.

    Gunowners with kids in the house are cursed to ineffective gun access, they must ABOVE ALL be sure their kids cannot access and misuse their arms.

    Gunowners with no kids at home must still ensure their weapons cannot be easily appropriated by a break-in and thereafter used against the homeowner or others at large.

    My kid is long out of the house, she’s got her own guns in her own house, and I like to keep mine handy, so anyone trying to break in is going to have a .357 welcome followed by a multiple .223 goodbye.

    Then I’ll haul their sorry very bloody ass over to the farm and get the backhoe out so I don’t have to play GOV.s sorry assed game and spend $20000 clearing myself. Let bygones be bygones.

    Six foot down.


  • Robert Meyers

    Please notice that this survey was done by a Bloomberg backed org. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


    • rottenrollin

      Well, that makes it practically worthless, eh?

      The anti’s are not particularly bipartisan with their polls and attitudes, are they?


  • 7734daniel

    Natures way, The Stupid Sick and Slow will not survive the migration. That has been turned upside down by all the laws and regulations that have been put into place by the Government (which is now run by the stupid) to protect the Stupid and Slow.
    They need the votes from the Stupid and Slow.
    If you don’t believe me just look around the next time you go to a government office in a big city.
    I will keep my arms accessible where needed, my grand children know what guns are capable of doing. They have been educated on firearm use as have their parents. Therefor locked storage is not necessary. As for being stolen They will have to be found before the Calvary arrives, Arms are concealed, we all hunt Hogs and Bear, live close to each other alarms are connected to each house, someone will respond well armed with the dogs.
    I know every one can’t do the above I am just blessed by God to be able to.
    Police are to slow in responding. My family decided to take care of ourselves as long as we can.
    Grumpy old Vietnam Vet


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