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Safe Storage Types

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There are several ways to safely secure firearms. Refer to your firearm’s owner’s manual for safe storage methods. A combination of safety mechanisms increases the level of security.  Some safe storage methods include those listed below from inexpensive to expensive.

Discard firearms

If a gun owner decides to discard a firearm, there are several safe options to consider. Contact a local law enforcement agency or review its webpage to see if they offer a gun buyback or take back program or event (e.g., Chicago, Naperville). The National Center for Unwanted Firearms will assist a gun owner in responsibly selling or donating unwanted firearms. Contact a licensed gun dealer to learn about options to sell or discard your firearm.

Cable gun lock

A lock is intended to discourage unauthorized access to a firearm. It blocks the chamber to prevent a cartridge from being fired. Chamber locks are inserted in or through the magazine well or chamber or are inserted through the gun barrel and chamber to block a cartridge from moving into position. A combination lock or key opens the lock.

Before installing a gun lock, be sure the firearm is completely UNLOADED, and the safety is on SAFE. When installing the lock, keep your finger off the trigger and always have the firearm pointing in a safe direction.

No single lock will fit all firearms. Contact the manufacturer of your firearm to find out the type of lock recommended. Confirm the lock is a California-approved firearm safety device that meets the Penal Code section 23655 and its regulations.

Cable lock safety tips

  • Keep the cable and lock outside of the trigger guard at all times.
  • Always push the cable into the padlock and turnkey until securely locked. After removing the key, tug on the cable to ensure its connection is secure.
  • Store the key to the gun lock and the firearm separately. Be sure to store the key in a location inaccessible to unauthorized persons, particularly children.
  • Do not work the firearm’s action with the lock in place. This may damage the lock and/or the firearm.
  • If the lock’s protective coating becomes damaged or separated from the steel cable or the lock face, replace the lock.

Cable-style gun lock installation instructions

Refer to the instructions with the locks to learn how to install the lock. Project ChildSafe provides general instructions for installing cable gun locks on autoloading pistols, revolvers, autoloading and pump-action shotguns, and bolt action rifles.

How to connect to gun locks (a safe storage option)

Gun locks are one option for safe storage. There are several entities in Illinois providing gun locks to help reduce the risk of firearm-related injuries and deaths.

  • The following Illinois law enforcement partners that participate in Project ChildSafe to offer free Safety Kits.
  • If you are a service member, veteran, or family member, you can contact your local U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs office for cable gun locks at no cost.
  • If you are a community-based organization interested in providing cable gun locks at events or with brief counseling or education sessions, send your request to

Trigger lock

A trigger lock is a two-piece lock that fits over the trigger guard. A rigid cylinder fits behind the trigger so the trigger cannot be pulled. A push-button keypad, combination, or key opens the lock.

Gun case

A gun case is a storage device to secure, to conceal, to protect, or to legally transport a firearm. Lock the case with an eternal device for added security.

Lock box

A lock box is a small locked safe designed to store a handgun. A push-button, combination, digital keypad, or key opens the lock. It allows gun owners to legally transport firearms outside of their home.

An electronic lock box stores a firearm and requires a code or biometrics to access the firearm.

Full size and biometric gun safes

Safes vary in size and are designed to store long guns, handguns, or other valuables. The firearms are locked inside the vault. A push-button, combination, or digital keypad opens the lock.

Personalized lock

A personalized lock is a safety device permanently installed on a gun by the maker or owner. These types of locks vary. Some have a built-in key or combination lock. Others are guns specially designed with a magnetic or electronic lock that only the owner can fire while wearing a special ring or bracelet. Some personalized firearms use fingerprint recognition technology.

Vehicle storage

Effective ways to transport firearms to the range (e.g., target shooting), field (e.g., hunting), or to conceal.

Console storage

A console storage is a custom-fitted device for the console in a vehicle to conceal a firearm.

Cargo area storage

A cargo area storage is a device to store firearms in the cargo area. Models are available for sedans, SUVs, and trucks.

Secure storage accessories

Wireless gun safe monitor

A wireless gun safe monitor is an electronic monitor to alert a gun owner if anyone is accessing a storage device or handing the firearm.

Electronic holsters

An electronic holster is a storage device that can be mounted or used independent of a mounting system and features a programmable finger or thumbprint scan.