If you're a collector of handguns, rifles, or other firearms, you may quickly find yourself running out of secure storage space within your home. Gun safes can be expensive and bulky, and you may wonder whether renting a storage unit to keep these firearms secure would be a less expensive alternative than purchasing multiple additional safes. However, there are some precautions you'll need to take before moving all your firearms off-site. Read on to learn more about the dos and don'ts of keeping your guns in a storage unit.
Are you allowed to keep firearms in a storage unit?
Each storage facility's management will set rules and regulations about the storage of firearms in rented units. Some facilities don't want to shoulder the potential liability for theft (particularly if the gun is stolen and later used in the commission of a crime) and will ban the storage of all firearms and ammunition as a way to legally protect themselves. Others are concerned about their storage facilities being used as a means to store or traffic stolen weapons.
However, other storage units are more lenient, and may permit you to keep your legally-owned firearms within the unit -- even if they're not within a protective case -- as long as no ammunition is stored there. Your storage unit lease agreement will likely include a clause requiring you to waive any right to sue the storage facility if your firearm is stolen or damaged.
What precautions should you take against theft of or damage to your guns?
Although you may be tempted to sign a lease agreement with the first storage facility you encounter that seems amenable to the storage of guns, you'll want to ensure that your guns are well-guarded. You may wish to visit the storage unit at several random times of day to get a feel for traffic and security protocol, as well as to determine whether exterior lights are working and sufficiently bright.
Before bringing over a shipment of guns to your newly rented storage unit, you'll also want to take a careful inventory, writing down serial numbers and taking photographs of each weapon. This will assist you in identifying the firearms that should be in your storage unit, as well as filing a police report on the off chance your storage unit is subjected to burglary.
You may also want to speak to your insurance agent to determine whether you should increase your limits or purchase additional coverage to help protect your guns. While your homeowner's insurance should extend coverage to most items stored in an off-site unit, there can be exceptions. By speaking to your insurance agent and working through your various coverage options, you'll be able to rest assured that your firearms are fully insured against damage, theft, or even loss.