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At gun safety events, 40% of gun owners reported not locking all household guns—even around kids

While waiting for free firearm storage devices at gun safety events held in sporting goods stores across Washington, nearly 3,000 people filled out a one-page survey asking how they stored guns at home and other household information.

“Even in this population, which clearly had some interest in or awareness of firearm , there was a high prevalence of unlocked firearms,” said lead author Aisha King, who worked on the study while a graduate student at the UW’s School of Public Health and as an intern with Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center’s INSIGHTsummer research program.

Furthermore, results of surveys conducted at the events in 10 Washington cities between 2015 and 2018 determined that the presence of children in the home did not make a difference. The study is available online now and is part of the February 2020 edition of the journal Preventative Medicine.

At gun safety events, 40% of gun owners reported not locking all household guns — even around kids


Firearm safety devices on display at a recent pubic firearm-safety event put on by Seattle Children’s. Credit: Kelsie Cleboski/Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center

The firearm safety events were put on by Seattle Children’s in partnership with UW Medicine’s Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center,  agencies, local hospitals in each city, community organizations and Safe Kids coalitions.

In addition to taking a survey and receiving a free firearm lockbox or trigger lock, people at the public events received training on safe firearm storage and proper use of storage devices. The events were held in Monroe, Tacoma, Kirkland, Wenatchee, Seattle, Lacy, Mount Vernon, Moses Lake, Silverdale and Federal Way.

“The purpose of the events is to increase the use of safe firearm storage, an evidence-based strategy to reduce firearm related injuries and deaths,” said Elizabeth Bennett, co-author and director of community health and engagement at Seattle Children’s. “Our goal is to create a comfortable environment to learn about locking up firearms and to have the devices ready to use right away.”

Public gun safety events are an effective tool for improving the safety of kids living around firearms, a previous study found, and the events reach an key audience: male gun owners.

At gun safety events, 40% of gun owners reported not locking all household guns — even around kids


A trigger lock is demonstrated at a recent firearm-safety event put on by Seattle Children’s. Credit: Kelsie Cleboski/Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center

This is an important demographic to reach, King said, because men make up the majority of gun owners and typically take responsibility for how guns are stored in the home. When gun safety interventions are held in pediatrician offices or similar clinic settings, most parents or guardians who attend are female.

Importantly, nearly all of the roughly 3,000 who submitted surveys said they planned to use the free safety device within the following week. Storing firearms locked and unloaded, the researchers point out, is associated with a greater-than 70 percent reduction in risk of unintentional and self-inflicted firearm injuries among young people.

King, who is currently a project coordinator at Columbia University, added that when it comes to firearm storage some adults might think that younger children don’t know where the guns are or don’t know how to access them, but that is not always the case.

“A lot of times, the kids do know,” King said. “Also, guardians might think that training adolescents or older children is enough to keep them safe, that training means they don’t have to lock their guns. Unfortunately, a lot of adolescents are at high risk of suicide, and unlocked guns add to that risk—regardless of training.

Secure Display’s new InvictaSafe is a great option for exhibiting and storing Handguns; Product Line for Long Guns on the way too.

Launching at the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits is the new InvictaSafe from Secure Display. Conceived as a new type of safe and is an industry game-changer, allowing gun owners to not only protect their firearm but also put it on display. We spoke with Sam Galler to learn more.

American Shooting Journal Tell us about the new InvictaSafe. How did you come up with the idea?
Sam Galler I own some beautiful firearms that I keep in a traditional firearm safe to keep them from unauthorized access and my teen children. I believe in safety to prevent tragedies and also believe in the Second Amendment and the right to protect my family and country.
The only time I take my firearms out is to go to the range, clean or show them to a friend every now and then. I was thinking, why hide these beautiful firearms that have so much historical significance and meaning to me?
I think they look cool. Why not display these firearms like a work of art, safely? I did not see anything like it in the marketplace and thought I would build one, and I actually liked it better than the artwork on my walls. It is really beautiful, cool and safe.


Rather than hiding your handguns in a vault, you can securely display them with the InvictaSafe, which features a “box within a box” to safely store your exhibited firearm.

ASJ What sets it apart from other safes on the market?
SG Traditional firearm safes have been in existence for over a hundred years in one form or another. They do provide functional advantages; keeping your firearm secured and protected against unauthorized access and theft. The manufacturers of traditional firearm Secure Display’s new InvictaSafe is a great option for exhibiting and storing handguns; product line for long guns on the way too.
safes have tried to make them look better with painting on the front, sleek designs, gizmos, etc., but at the end of the day, they still are just metal black boxes that hide your firearms.
InvictaSafe is almost entirely different. It showcases your firearm like a work of art with see-through ballistic glass and an art frame, LED lights, beautiful background and rare earth magnets that make it look like your firearm is floating. Most importantly, it provides the benefit of a traditional firearm safe, while unlike any other safe on the market, displaying your firearm proudly with quick access in case you need it.
Personally, my firearm safe is in the basement, so not really convenient for quick access.

ASJ What materials is the safe made of?
SG We use 12-gauge steel in the front, 14-gauge steel on the back, and 16-gauge steel for the box within the box, which provides for added structural integrity and places to store ammunition, electronics, alarm modules, etc. This is combined with ballistic glass, LED lighting, and attractive background material to provide a safe that is built to last a lifetime and beautifully protect.
ASJ What do you think shooters will like best about the InvictaSafe?
SG If you own a beautiful firearm, why hide it? Securely display it!
Some people own firearms they are emotionally attached to because it was given to them by someone special, or they think it looks really cool, or it has historical significance. Regardless, shooters will desire InvictaSafe because instead of their firearms being hidden away in a dark traditional firearms safe, they can view it constantly in their bedrooms, offices, dens, man-caves, etc., and they have relatively quick access in case of emergency. Most importantly, it will be safe to have around children, family, coworkers, etc.

ASJ The safe is designed for a pistol. Are there plans for other types of firearms? SG Yes, we are launching our long weapons safes designed for rifles, shotguns, etc., within the next three to four months. Keep tuned in on this! We are excited!
ASJ The InvictaSafe will launch at the NRA Show. What else should readers know about your company and products?
SG All of our patent-pending products are made in the USA. We are a family-run business that seeks to protect children and families with high- and low-tech solutions. We believe many Americans will enjoy looking at their prized firearms “safely.”
Editor’s note: Visit Sam Galler and the new InvictaSafe at booth #4824 at the NRA Show.