Women Veterans Health Care
Health Awareness Campaigns: Gun Safety
More women than ever are taking on the responsibility of gun ownership. While it is true that women Veterans are well-trained in the care and use of firearms as a result of military duty, it is critical to ensure that guns stored in the home are properly secured. By following these common-sense tips, parents and children can help prevent firearms accidents in the home.
Firearm storage options include, but are not limited to:
- Firearm locks (trigger or cable)
- Firearm cases
- Firearm safes
- Firearm locking cabinet
A firearm locking device is intended only to deter access to a firearm by unauthorized persons, particularly children. It is not intended to withstand forced entry by someone determined to defeat the lock by using tools or other aggressive means, and should be considered as only one element of a safe storage program for firearms.
Let VA Help. To protect Veterans and their family members, VA endorses Project ChildSafe, a program that provides cable gun locks at VA medical facilities across the country at no charge. Gun safety locks not only help protect the lives of Veterans, but also their family members. Contact your nearest VA Medical Center and get a free gun lock from your primary care team or the facility’s suicide prevention coordinator.
Gun Safety Tips at Home
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
- Use a cable or trigger lock for your firearm.
- Store firearms in a safe, locking cabinet, or lockbox.
- Store firearms disassembled or remove the firing pin.
- Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
- Keep your fingers off the trigger. Don’t rely on your firearm’s “safety” device.
- Keep the firearm unloaded when it is not in use.
- Make sure that firearms kept for security reasons are fully controlled at all times.
- Make sure that firearms are securely stored in a location inaccessible to children and other unauthorized persons.
- Unload sporting firearms before they are brought into the home and never load them while in the home.
- Immediately clean sporting firearms and place them in secure storage after they are returned from
hunting or target shooting.
- Carefully check and confirm that firearms are unloaded when they are removed from storage.
- Store ammunition under lock and key, separately from firearms.
- If there is someone at high risk for suicide in the home, store firearms at the home of someone you trust.
- Read and understand the owner’s manual that came with the firearm.
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and PRESS 1
- Women Veterans Call Center: 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636)
- Learn more and find the firearm storage option that works best for you and your family from the National Shooting Sports Foundation at www.nssf.org/safety.
- Learn more about protecting yourself and those around you with tips from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at www.afsp.org.
- Contact your nearest VA Medical Center and obtain a free gun lock from your primary care team or the facility’s suicide
- The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)*†
*By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site.
†VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked Web site.