A gun lock is a device which is intended to prevent a weapon from discharging. There are several basic styles of gun lock available, designed for guns ranging from revolvers to heavy duty rifles. Many people believe that a gun lock is an important aspect of firearms safety, along with proper training and other security procedures. The use a gun lock may help to prevent a gun from being used by a child or an inexperienced user who could cause inadvertent injuries.
Gun safety advocates who support gun locks agree that a gun lock alone is not sufficient. Firearms should always be stored unloaded in a locked and secure location. Ammunition should be kept in a separate location, and the keys to both weapons and ammunition should be carefully guarded. A gun lock is intended to act as a final safeguard, not the only one.
In most cases, a gun lock cannot be applied to a loaded weapon. A common type of gun lock is a cable lock, which blocks the chamber of the gun and prevents the gun from firing a round. A trigger lock blocks the trigger and surrounding areas, while customized locks perform various other functions. A customized lock is usually installed by the manufacturer. In all cases, the gun lock usually opens with a key or combination.
To install a gun lock, the weapon owner unloads the gun and makes sure that the safety is on. As is general good practice with firearms, the gun is pointed away from people or property while it is handled. The directions which come with the gun lock are followed, and the gun owner makes sure that the lock is securely attached.
In some cases, a gun lock is universal, meaning that it can be attached to almost any gun. Other gun locks are designed with a specific type of gun in mind. When buying a gun lock, a weapons owner should know which type of gun the lock will be installed on, to ensure that the proper lock is purchased.
In many communities, gun locks are offered free of charge by law enforcement. Law enforcement personnel are also usually happy to accept firearms from members of the public who no longer wish to own them. Free gun locks are provided as part of larger firearms safety programs, which usually focus on keeping homes safe for children. In other areas, a gun lock can be purchased at a sporting goods store, or ordered through a company which specializes in gun locks.