What is a Gun Lock?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

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 locks are designed to fit a variety of types of firearms, including revolvers.
Gun locks are designed to fit a variety of types of firearms, including revolvers.

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.

Gun owners are advised to secure ammunition as well as firearms.
Gun owners are advised to secure ammunition as well as firearms.

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.

Some gun locks are universal and can be attached to any gun.
Some gun locks are universal and can be attached to any gun.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

markk

Gun sales in this country are up 400%, gun ownership in this country is at an all time high, people are purchasing guns as a sense of security yet ignoring the need to ensure their gun is safely stored and at all times. Every gun that is stolen from a lawful citizen will become a weapon of crime, and every child that is injured or killed by a poorly stored gun is a tragedy.

I believe strongly in the second amendment. I also believe in the many responsibilities that accompany such rights. To say that a citizen has a right to own a gun without first being educated about gun safety is irresponsible. And I also believe part of the instructions of gun handling and gun safety must include the awareness of gun locks in the market and safe, secure gun storage. We all know of cable locks and trigger locks and the downfalls of these products, Gun safes are excellent for storage but price restrictive for many gun owners; and the storage box is restricted to hand guns only and forces you to reach blindly into the box to remove your gun. A gun must be accessible in the time of crisis and yet secured safe from children and intruders. There are far too many innocent children paying the ultimate price for gun owner’s irresponsibility. Every gun that is stolen from a lawful citizen will become a weapon of crime, and every child that is injured or killed by a poorly stored gun is a tragedy.

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