In the US, one of the most controversial and ongoing national debates is concerned with the ownership and possession of firearms. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to gun ownership, and one of the least discussed topics concerning gun ownership is whether or not a gun can remain loaded while stored inside a person’s home.
It is only legal to keep a loaded gun inside your home if your state or local laws permit so. There are a number of variables to be aware of, including the type of gun you own, the necessary permits you possess, and any restrictions applied to other members of your household.
If you plan on storing a loaded gun in your home, or if you already possess a gun and are unsure about the legality of keeping it loaded in your home, here’s some information to help you stay safe and within the law.
Does It Depend on Where You Live?
The state and county in which you live is the main factor determining the regulations of firearm possession. Gun possession (loaded or unloaded) within a private residence is typically permitted throughout the US.
If you own a gun, be sure to check your local and statewide ordinances to prevent any infringements of the law. If you plan on purchasing a gun, be sure to follow the legal procedure, as some states require purchasing a trigger lock in conjunction with buying a gun. Some states prohibit firearm possession for anyone living with another person who is prohibited from gun ownership, such as convicted felons. Be sure that all other members of your home are within legal status.
Also, if you are traveling with a gun, it’s important to research the laws of where you are going and all highway and interstate regulations; gun regulations are much stricter for storage and concealment in an automobile, and restrictions may change if you are staying in another person’s home.
The Dangers of Keeping A Gun Loaded in Your Home
With a loaded firearm, an accidental discharge is always possible. Even the most cautious and experienced weapon carriers are capable of error. If a loaded gun is left unattended in the home, the risk of accidental discharge increases significantly, especially if more than one person lives in the home and if proper awareness of the gun’s location is not established.
The biggest danger of keeping a loaded gun in your home is if children are present. Safety switches, trigger locks, and concealed storage are important safety measures, but they cannot ensure 100% security.
How to Safely Store Guns in Your Home
The safest way to store a gun in your home is to keep the gun unloaded and in a separate location from the ammunition with both the gun and the ammunition in a secure safe or lockbox.
However, many people prefer keeping a loaded firearm in their home in the case of necessary defensive measures. If you choose to keep a loaded gun in your home, know where the gun is at all times, and inform all other members in your home of the importance of gun safety measures.
Can You Carry A Handgun on Your Own Property?
Carrying a gun anywhere on your own property is usually within the law. This includes business property or rented property. However, brandishing the gun in any way that might appear violent or threatening to anyone within or beyond your property line can result in legal consequences.
Can You Shoot a Handgun on Your Own Property?
This is highly dependent on the location of your property. Every city or municipality has its own “unlawful discharge” ordinances that prohibit firing a weapon within certain geographical boundaries. This is especially true for urban, suburban, or neighborhood communities where people live in close proximity of each other. If your property is in a geographically rural location, then firing a weapon for specific purposes, such as hunting, may be permitted by local ordinances.
Do You Need A License to Have A Gun in Your House?
Federal law does not require licensing for gun ownership. However, some states do require a license, permit, background check or a gun safety course of some kind. Some states also require regular gun license renewals. These laws vary from state to state and should be researched before purchasing a gun.
Gun ownership is a coveted right for many people who find that keeping a loaded gun in the home offers a vital sense of security. Across the country, it is more or less legal to possess a loaded weapon within your home and on your property. However, stipulations vary and should be understood by any gun owner. Furthermore, gun safety is crucial when a loaded gun is stored in one’s home, especially if children or other household members are capable of accessing the weapon.