Self-storage units help many Americans deal with short- or long-term storage problems. If you plan to store antique, collectible guns or more modern firearms, a self-storage unit could offer a safe, secure place to keep the items, but you be wondering what the applicable laws state. Find out about the rules and laws that relate to gun storage and learn more about the steps you may need to take to safely store firearms.

Storage law

Unsafe firearm storage is a significant problem in the United States, with studies showing that around 55 percent of Americans with children and guns in their homes store firearms in an unlocked place. Because of this, legislators continually find themselves under pressure to introduce stricter storage laws for guns. Where laws exist, controls apply to firearms stored at home or in a self-storage unit.

There are no federal laws that mandate how you should store firearms. However, a number of states have their own rules about gun storage. Massachusetts is the strictest state. Here, you can face a prison sentence of 18 months if you don't lock firearms away. Similarly, some cities have applied their own gun storage laws, as well. If you live in Los Angeles or San Francisco, you'll need to store guns in a safe.  

Storage unit rules

Many self-storage unit providers will simply not permit gun storage on their premises. Very often, these rules apply due to the explosive nature of the ammunition, which could endanger other property stored in the unit, but changing safe storage laws and security concerns also continue to influence providers.  Due to this, even if you are willing to store guns in a secure manner, many self-storage companies will ask you to sign a disclaimer that you won't store firearms in their units.

Some self-storage companies now offer specialist facilities for gun storage. These units will cost you more than a standard unit, but you may benefit from biometric scanning security, carefully controlled air conditioning, and bespoke gun storage lockers.

Preparing guns for storage

Make sure your guns are clean before you place them in storage. The dirt and debris that collect on a gun are often corrosive, and you may find that the firearm starts to rust over time. Experts also recommend that you use gun oil to protect the firearm from moisture. Don't get oil on the stock, and use the lubricant sparingly on collectible or antique firearms, or you may damage the ornate wooden components of the gun.

Collectors generally keep their guns in gun socks. These simple fabric sleeves further protect the guns from damage, especially if you have several firearms in a small space. There are several types of gun sock on the market. Choose sleeves made from special, treated materials that keep moisture away, and make sure you choose a sock that snugly fits the gun.

Keep your guns in the smallest gun safe necessary, as a large safe can allow moisture to develop. Sachets of silica gel in the safe can also help cut down on moisture. Safe gun storage devices can also stop unauthorized users from being able to operate the guns. These devices include

  • internal locks mounted in the grip of the gun

  • external trigger locks that cover the trigger mechanism on either side

These devices are cheap and easy to install and will give you further peace of mind that nobody can accidentally use your guns.

Arranging gun storage

Make sure you choose a self-storage unit with climate-controlled facilities, as this will keep moisture levels low. You may want to use a self-storage unit to store guns and other items together. In this situation, it's a good idea to place the guns in a safe corner of the unit, as you don't want to have to keep moving the guns to get to other items.

Self-storage units can offer a safe, secure way to store many items, including firearms. Talk to storage unit suppliers in your area for more advice about the options available to you. Get in contact with a representative from a facility like National Self Storage - Denver to start.