All too often, the conversation over the right to bear arms tends to lean towards the legality of firearms. And while debates like these are important to have and even participate in, plenty of valuable insight into other aspects of this multifaceted issue is easily overlooked.
The legality of firearms (in the United States, at least) may be up in the air for a while, and while the politicians deliberate the topic, the general public deserves to know all it can about gun safety. After all, guns may never go away completely, and all gun owners – proud or not – should be able to properly protect and maintain their firearms.
Luckily, plenty of gun owners have the necessary know-how to ensure that their gun does not cause any harm and have taken the necessary precautions to keep it safe for the peace of mind of their loved ones, and themselves. One such precaution is the installation of a gun safe, a sturdy metal locker meant to keep sticky fingers and idle hands off of the dangerous piece of weaponry a gun owner would have stored in their home.
In the spirit of gun safety, however, we feel that it is necessary to extend the care and respect we might show for a firearm to all its accessories as well. Gun safes need to be well-maintained and properly installed if they have any hope of keeping your firearms safe and secure.
Proper Gun Safe Installation
Gun safes are sturdy enough on their own and can withstand a lot of punishment before they crack open. That being said, there are some things that can greatly affect the efficacy of your gun cabinet in a negative way. Every responsible gun owner should take note of these factors in order to ensure that their gun safe functions properly.
Clear the Clutter
Plenty of gun owners store their firearms in their garage or the second floor of their home, both of which can be a tight squeeze to begin with, made worse by excessive clutter. When installing a gun safe, it is important that you first clear as much space as possible around the area where the safe will be located.
This may mean relocating some of that clutter to another space for the time being, which is inconvenient, but the last thing you want is having to fetch your gun only to be impeded by a messy room.
Get Rid of Fire-Hazards
Items like gasoline, paint, and other chemicals pose a significant fire risk which is dangerous in and of itself but made all the more calamitous by the presence of a gun nearby. Granted, this mostly applies to gun owners who store their firearms in their garage, but it may be frugal to double-check that there are no objects nearby that pose a fire risk. Needless to say, fire and guns do not go well together.
Maintain an Even Temperature
This last point of consideration leads us on to the specific topic of this article. Simply put, you need to be able to control the temperature of the room your gun is stored in. If you live in a humid area with plenty of rain, this may be difficult, and we recommend that you do not store your gun in the garage. (Garages tend to trap a lot of moisture in them).
Of course, you can not control the weather. What you can do, however, is ensure that the place you choose to install your safe in is dry, clean, and gets enough air so as to prevent congestion and humidity.
Can a Gun Safe Be Too Dry?
Of course, the natural response to being prompted to do something is to overdo it. So while it is important to ensure that your gun safe is dry enough, being too dry can cause damage to both the safe itself and its contents.
So, how do gun safes become too dry?
This first one is fairly obvious, but it is still something to consider. We mentioned humidity being a problem for many gun-owners, but a lack of humidity also poses its own risks.
Temperatures of at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit have been known to be able to dry out gun safes in minutes, and direct sunlight can do just as much damage.
The material of your safe makes a difference in determining how quickly it heats up. Iron and steel safes take a while to heat up, and most of them have additional lubricants and gels which provide additional moisture.
However, uncommon though they may be, wooden gun safes become hotter much quicker, without the benefit of any added gels. Stick to the big, bulky metal safes if you want to ensure that your guns maintain their quality.
Most gun safes that you can purchase will come with silica gel packets designed to retain excess moisture in order to keep the inside of your safe cool and dry. However, too many may do more harm than good, because the air inside your safe can become too dry.
These silica gel packs also need to be changed every once in a while, and an excess of packets that do not work anymore will flood your safe with moisture.
Avoiding all of these issues may seem like a massive headache just waiting to strike, but it is fairly simple when it comes down to it. All you need to do is choose your location wisely and take a few extra precautions if you are living in a less than ideal location (an area with too much humidity for instance). You should also ensure that your safe is level to the floor in order to allow a sufficient air pocket to form beneath it, thus keeping the air coming in and the moisture out.
As we said, gun safety is important but it does not have to be a chore. If you follow the installation instructions that come with your safe along with the information provided in this article, you have pretty much won more than half of the battle. The other half is keeping your gun in its place and cleaning it when necessary.