Gun locks are a popular way to secure guns by either blocking the trigger or obstructing the barrel and preventing ammunition from being loaded. Both trigger locks and cable locks are purported to be secure ways in which to store a firearm to prevent loading and firing. The important question, though, is how safe are these locks really? The principal behind gun locks is largely to keep children from loading and firing the gun. While responsible gun ownership means keeping firearms unloaded and stored in a quality safe with high grade locks or biometric security, cheap gun locks are often seen as acceptable forms of gun security outside of a safe. The reality is, however, that many gun locks can be easily broken or picked open.
Many cable locks can be easily cut with basic household tools like pliers and trigger locks can be easily picked with a screwdriver. The reality surrounding the manufacturing of many gun locks is such that they are simply not as secure as they appear. The Consumer Product Safety Commission even issued findings about deficiencies in Project ChildSafe cable locks, noting how easily they can be removed and recommending manufacturing more secure locks.
Not every gun lock on the market contains the same levels of vulnerability to breaches, but too many mass produced gun locks simply lack the manufacturing strength to impede access from simple tools, or even blunt force. Inexpensive, consumer gun locks often give more false security than legitimate gun protection. Design deficiencies and defects in many commercial locks have the potential to contribute to more gun tragedies if left unaddressed.
Responsible gun storage involves more than just attaching a trigger or cable lock to the weapon and calling it secure. If you own a gun or multiple guns, invest in a gun safe. Gun locks can be breached much easier than safes and a high quality locking safe is a much stronger deterrent than a gun lock. While the principle behind gun locks is not the problem, poor manufacturing is often what creates potentially dangerous situations when it comes to gun storage and overall security.
Better testing and higher quality materials for all gun locks could help prevent gun deaths resulting from children accessing and using weapons. Project ChildSafe leads efforts to help protect guns and keep children safe by providing gun safety locks and gun safety information, but more can be done to better secure gun locks of every variety from tampering by children through improved security standards. When considering a gun lock, look for a high quality lock that may cost a little more, but can better protect your weapon. As always, take more complete security measures and properly store guns in quality locking, or even biometric, gun safes.