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Why do many of us own guns? I own guns for several reasons: hunting, plinking, and competition are just a few, not to mention it’s my God-given right as an American. The most important reason, of course, is the defense of my family and myself. Owning a weapon is a right and a responsibility, and nothing makes less sense than your self-defense weapon hurting someone in your family. As a gun owner, you take the safety rules seriously when handling a weapon: you are always mindful of your muzzle, you always treat a gun as if it is loaded, and your finger isn’t on that trigger until you’re squeezing it. But how is your safety applied in your home?
I’m writing this now because I had a realization the other day. Beside my bed I keep a loaded .38 special revolver, and in my closet is a loaded 12-gauge shotgun. Should something go bump in the night, I plan to bump back. I’ve always considered easy accessibility an important factor in self-defense—that is, until my sixteen-month-old son opened our silverware drawer and started pulling out spoons.
If he could open that drawer, then my nightstand drawer would be nothing. My wife and I always keep an eye on our son, and he doesn’t go far without one of us with him. There’s always that “what if” though: What if he gets in our room, and we aren’t following him?
My other guns are locked up in my closet safe, a bulky combination safe that houses guns, knives, and ammo. It can take a few minutes to open with a light on and no adrenaline; with the threat of a bad guy outside my door, I’m not going to store my self-defense piece in there. So I needed a new safe. I set parameters for myself when shopping for this safe: First, it had to be small enough for my nightstand; second, it had to quick and easy to open; and third, I had to be able to afford it.
I started my research and quickly decided biometric was the way to go for a gun safe. Biometric safes work using your fingerprints to unlock the safe, so it’s dummy proof. All you have to do is get your finger to your scanner and it’s open. These safes have become quite popular, and now dozens of companies are producing a variety of models.
One that easily fit all my criteria was the Drag and Draw Gun Vault. It is small enough to fit in my nightstand drawer, but large enough to accommodate my revolver and my Surefire flashlight.
The Drag and Draw Gun Vault is made of heavy-gauge steel, so it’s pretty tough. In fact, the company’s website shows a fairly large guy standing on the case without it caving or buckling. The safe opens fast enough—my fingers hit the scanner, and a second passes before it unlocks. The safe holds up to nine templates, so it instantly recognizes both my wife’s and my prints. It also has a key that can be used as well.
Biometric safes come in all varieties, from large multi-rifle systems to the convenient small safe I purchased. Some people have expressed doubts in biometric safes, but in my experience they work perfectly. I’ve only had to re-swipe my safe once to open it. I say anyone who owns a weapon needs some kind of safe. Whether you choose a simple lockbox or a biometric safe doesn’t really matter; the key is to have some sort of safety system, and both can prevent a tragedy.
As a final note, I would like to say that I see safety in the home in two ways: both mental and physical. The physical safety is covered when you have a way of securing your weapons; mental safety is achieved through education. Growing up, I learned a lot from my father, including gun safety and how to shoot and hunt. When I was a kid, I knew better than to touch Dad’s guns without permission. Thinking back, I cannot remember ever being told this or ever getting in trouble for touching his guns. To my family, it was law.
On the other hand though, whenever my father brought out his guns to shoot, hunt, or clean, he had no problem letting us handle and shoot them. He answered any of our questions and never rushed us to put the guns away. Guns were not a mystery, but they were respected.
Right now, my son is too young to understand guns, so we keep him separated from them at all times. When he is old enough to learn, I look forward to teaching him. Anytime he is curious about my guns, I will bring them out for him, ensure he knows safe handling procedures, and try to satisfy his curiosity in any way I can. I will teach him how to load, unload, make ready, and shoot a gun. The four safety rules will be etched into his mind, and should he disobey those rules, the consequences will be severe. He will also know under the threat of a good old switch that he is not to touch my guns without my presence.
In my opinion, education is just as valuable as any safe. Children are naturally curious, and with the way guns are portrayed in movies and video games, an uneducated child in a house with firearms can be a disaster. Keep children away from guns until they are old enough to understand, and then when they are older, teach them to respect guns and handle them with care. Always remember that as a gun owner, you’re also a representative of the 2nd amendment. If you own a weapon to protect yourself, do not let that weapon be the instrument of harm in your home.
©2013 Off the Grid News