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Best Practices in Safe Possession & Storage of Firearms

As required by Indiana Code (IC) 20-19-3-30.4, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and the Indiana State Police developed this resource to serve as best practices regarding the safe possession and storage of a firearm in a home with a child.

Responsible Firearm Ownership in a Home with a Child or Visited by Children765696

  • Always keep firearms in a locked safe separate from ammunition.
    • Examples: Traditional safe, biometric safe, hardened lockbox, etc.
  • Ensure firearms are unloaded and stored in a secure location. If a firearm is removed from storage, never leave it unattended.
    • Strongly consider added security with cable or trigger locks.
    • Apply the same standards of care and security for firearms in automobiles.
  • Consider temporary and secure out-of-home storage if someone in the household is experiencing or at a heightened risk of a mental health crisis.
  • Ensure children cannot obtain access to keys/codes for the secure safe/storage used.
  • Inform parents of children playing/visiting that there are firearms in the home.
  • Maintain documentation for your firearm in case of theft.
  • Ensure ammunition is always locked and separate from firearms.
  • Store ammunition in proper containers to prevent dangerous degradation.
  • Always properly dispose of old ammunition by bringing it to a local police department.

Firearm Handling in a Home with a Child or Visited by Children

  • Teach children of all ages to stop, not touch, and report to an adult if they find a firearm of any kind. They are to never search for or play with guns at anyone’s home.
  • As a responsible owner, take a firearm safety course to ensure thorough knowledge on how to safely operate, clean, and maintain a firearm.
  • Always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.
  • Never point a firearm at someone or a domestic animal, even if you think it is unloaded.
    • Always assume a firearm is loaded.
  • Review to ensure that the firearm operates correctly before use.
  • If you decide that you no longer desire or need a firearm in your home, always dispose of it in a legal, safe manner. Consult with local law enforcement on the best process.
  • Apply similar care to non-powder and air-soft guns, including BB guns, paintball guns, and pellet guns. Used improperly, these can cause serious injuries.
  • Safe, responsible firearm ownership depends on education and training. Consult with your local law enforcement agency, certified firearms range, 4-H, or scouting organizations for age-appropriate youth safety courses.