Home defense is one of the primary causes of firearm ownership among United States citizens. According to one source, 60% of those who own firearms list “Personal Safety / Protection” as their #1 reason for gun ownership.
There’s a great many privately owned firearms in the United States. As a matter of fact, the U.S. ranks #1 in private gun ownership in the world. Consequently, there’s also a great many private firearm thefts in the U.S. – approximately 1,600 GUNS PER DAY or 600,000 GUNS PER YEAR to be exact.
Considering that the vast majority of these stolen firearms end up on the black market, this is a real problem.
If you’re a gun owner, maintaining your firearms is of the utmost importance. This includes keeping them in a safe and secure place. Gun safes are the most common method of firearm storage, but there are those who believe that gun safes are too large, too conspicuous and too expensive.
In response, some gun owners have decided to use hidden compartments around their home to store their guns.
Let’s Look at the Pro’s & Con’s of Hiding Your Guns in Plain Sight.
Easy access to your firearms is probably the first benefit that comes to mind when pondering hidden compartment gun storage. In a high intensity situation in which you’re in your home and need to get to your firearms quickly, getting to your safe could take too much time.
Hidden compartment storage allows you to store your firearms in nearly any conceivable area. Keeping in mind that time is of the essence – especially during a home invasion – having your firearms readily accessible is the primary benefit of a hidden compartment storage.
#2. Reduced Space
Bulkier and more conventional gun safes are often placed in areas of your home that are not frequented – e.g. the basement, spare bedroom closet, the garage, etc. This is often due to their size and the ongoing battle of maintaining space in your home.
Coincidentally, the same reason you placed your gun safe in these relatively isolated areas is the reason it may cause drastic problems later on…IT’S COMPLETELY OUT OF THE WAY.
Small area space makes hidden compartment storage a viable option. Not only are you saving room, but you’re using the space strategically and efficiently.
#3. Hidden is the Operative Word
If one’s intent is to steal a gun – and they break into a home to do so – what’s the first thing they’re most likely going to look for?
My money’s on…well…a gun safe.
As mentioned above, traditional gun safes are conspicuous. Even individuals who don’t own firearms themselves and who have no firearm experience know a gun safe when they see one. This could make them a likely target for home invasions.
That’s right, while accessibility was listed as the primary benefit of hidden compartment gun storage, it could also be considered it’s largest drawback.
When accessed and handled by properly trained individuals, firearms pose little threat to injury. However, when untrained individuals get their hands on a firearm, accidental fatal/nonfatal injury rates rise.
For example, from 2005-2010, almost 3,800 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings. In 2010 alone, 73,505 Americans were treated in hospital emergency departments for non-fatal gunshot wounds and firearm injuries caused the deaths of 606 people.
Source: Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
We can all agree that firearm deaths are unwanted, undesirable and tragic. Ensuring that unqualified individuals do not have access to firearms plays a tremendous role in reducing unintentional firearm deaths/injuries. Accidentally stumbling upon hidden compartment storage for firearms could result in objectionable gun access.
#2. Legality / Potential Legal Consequences
In the unfortunate event that your guns are stolen, the legal system will most likely come into play. Gun safes are often used as a counter to claims of negligence on behalf of the gun’s legal owner.
The penalties for allowing a child or an equally inadequate individual access to a gun varies by state, but you could possibly be charged with criminal liability for negligent storage if your firearm is used it to cause injury. Of course, firearm laws vary GREATLY by state and some state laws have harsher penalties than others. Every accident and injury is handled on a subjective basis and negligence may be found in some scenarios and not others.
That being said, hidden compartment gun storage may not fall under your state’s outlined firearm storage laws. Before opting for this method of gun storage this is an important aspect to research.
#3. Higher Vulnerability to Corrosion
While standard metal gun safes are NOT wholly immune to corrosion, they’ll more than likely provide better corrosion protection than a hidden compartment. This is primarily due to the the materials used to make hidden compartment gun storage devices…primarily wood.
We’ve seen a multitude of hidden compartment gun storage methods. We think it’s safe to say a large majority of them are not air-tight. This is crucial because it allows for the contact of your firearms with sulfuric gases and moisture: the two biggest catalysts of corrosion.
While we haven’t been able to find any studies done comparing corrosion rates of firearms within traditional gun safes v.s. hidden compartments, science says that corrosion rates would be lower within a traditional safe. What’s more, anti-corrosion gun bags would lower corrosion rates in both.
In conclusion, hidden compartment gun storage could serve you well. However, there’s pro’s and con’s to this method that should be looked into before committing to it over traditional gun safes.