Secure Gun Storage Is A Wellness Design And Real Estate Benefit

You wouldn’t think that gun violence and residential design or real estate have anything in common, but there is a nexus: secure firearm storage. (Safety and security is a key facet of both wellness design and wellness real estate.)

There is near universal agreement by the firearms industry, health professionals, law enforcement and both sides of the political aisle about the need for locking your weapons away from those who shouldn’t have access to them. This includes children, teens, individuals with mental disorders and the increasing prevalence of firearm thieves.

Security Options

Fourteen states currently have safe storage or gun lock requirements, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Trigger locks can prevent someone from picking up and accidentally firing an unsecured weapon, but it won’t prevent a thief from stealing it and cutting the lock. That gun can then be used in future violent crimes. That’s why a stationary or concealed safe is a more comprehensive option. Gun cabinets can deter accidental use and casual theft, but many lack the security level of a safe. For those with larger firearm collections (and larger homes), a secure gun room is an option.

Real Estate Considerations

“We dug through our listings and found more than 400 homes currently on the market that tout a gun room,” wrote contributor Allison Underhill in a pre-pandemic April 29, 2019 post. Their popularity varies by location, a Sotheby’s agent told the reporter, and another source noted that while a gun room could be a ‘waste of space’ for some homebuyers, collectors could see it as a plus. The room could alternatively be marketed as a safety room or vault for other valuables, rather than specifically as a gun room, the post points out.

Jean Rosalia, a real estate agent at Coastal Town Realty in Virginia Beach, is also director of training at XCAL Shooting Sports and Fitness in Ashburn, Virginia, and a former law enforcement officer. Her XCAL clients often ask about storage options, she said in a direct message conversation, and she’s had homebuyers eye listings with consideration as to where they can house their firearms. “Some clients have considered homes with sitting room spaces or adjoining rooms in the primary bedroom suite to be more attractive because of the opportunity to build a safe room there,” she shared.

On the property listing side, she added, “I have not had any sellers with safe rooms. I wish I did because there are many firearm owners who would consider it to be a huge plus for the home.” She expressed surprise that there haven’t been more listings with this feature. (It should be noted that sales of ‘safe rooms’ have been booming even before 2020, and as the post pointed out, those could be tied in with secure gun storage.)

Installation Considerations

Where might you want to site your secure gun storage? It definitely depends on your space and collection, Rosalia messaged. There are definitely better and worse locations, Jaime Capra, an engineer with construction background who blogs about gun safes, shared in this post: “The best location for a gun safe in your home will be a compromise between theft, flood, fire, and convenience/access.”

He recommended hiring a professional if the safe weighs more than 500 pounds and will be going up or down stairs. A professional can also advise about how much weight the floor will bear, what type of floor surface is best, how to secure the safe in place and how to level it, all points Capra stressed should be factored into your selection and installation.

Bedroom Options

Bedrooms are sought-after locations for secure storage. Washington State-based NW Safe, with locations in Spokane and the Tacoma area, shared valuable advice for selecting a bedroom gun safe in a January 05, 2023 blog post by owner David Ballestrasse: “Quick access bedside gun safes allow you to keep your personal defense weapon close for when you need it most.” He recommended a safe with a keypad or biometric reader for faster entry than a traditional dial lock. He also pointed out in the post, “To prevent someone from simply walking away with your bedside safe, it’s important to secure it to a larger, heavier structure. Mounting your safe to the wall, bedside table or floor is ideal.”

There are now nightstands with built-in gun safes, though they may not be the best choices in either category. This is a worthwhile question for your interior designer if you’re working with a professional on a bedroom project.

It’s not uncommon to have wall safes hidden in the back of closets or behind artwork, but if you have a larger collection of firearms, or want to secure other valuables like watches, coins, passports, etc. in the same safe, there are secure collector room cabinetry systems available too. Given their size, cost and complexity, working with a professional design and installation team would be ideal for this type of arrangement too.

Garage Options

This is a location of last resort, Essential Home and Garden owner Aaron Green warned on his advice site: “Garages are nests of potentially flammable objects like lawnmowers, paint thinners, lumber, and car fuel. When placed near guns and ammunition… Well, let’s just say it only takes one wrong move to cause a series of deadly consequences.”

Humidity can also damage firearms, he noted. So can freezing temperatures, he wrote: “When temperatures drop, you may run into a whole host of issues that could do more damage to your wallet than it’s worth. For example, the batteries might stop working when it gets too cold, which, in turn, will stop the screen from working and virtually making it impossible for you to access your guns.”

Fire is a risk in garage settings, though there are now safes with added fire protection, which can be an asset in areas prone to wildfires. Theft is a major concern too, especially when locating your weapons so close to the street! (Cars are a prime target for gun thieves at the moment, and they won’t necessarily stop at the curb.)

Green summed up his perspective this way, if a garage is your only option: “Choosing the right gun safe, controlling humidity levels, and even adding a small platform is pertinent to securing your gun safe in your garage.” It’s definitely better than no safe at all!

Last Words

As Rosalia with her background as a law enforcement officer shared in her messages, “Securing your firearms is one of the most important and responsible things that you can do as a firearm owner. Firearms are a tool and whether you choose to use one for shooting sports, or self-defense, you should always handle, store and use them in a way that is safe and responsible.”

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