Every year in the U.S. nearly 350 children under the age of 17 gain access to a gun and unintentionally kill or injure themselves or someone else. Children are naturally curious and love to explore and look in hiding places. With the pandemic disrupting school schedules and causing boredom and isolation for kids, they may be at an increased risk of finding unsecured firearms in their homes.
California is one of several states that requires every gun owner to safely store their firearms, and the owner is criminally liable if they store a loaded gun where a child is likely to gain access to it.
All firearms in the home should be unloaded and locked, with ammunition stored and locked up separately. Make sure children and teens cannot access the keys or combination to lock boxes or gun safes. And please do not keep loaded, unlocked guns in your vehicle.
In partnership with Project ChildSafe, we offer free gun safety kits so you can securely store your firearm. Project ChildSafe, is a program developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and has distributed millions of firearm safety kits throughout the country. The program is funded by a U.S. Department of Justice grant, with additional funding provided by the firearms industry.
Each kit contains safety information and a cable-style gun lock. The lock fits most types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The goal is to prevent a child or other unauthorized person from accessing a firearm in your home. The gun locks are available at the following locations:
Marin City Substation: 850 Drake Ave, Marin City, CA
Kentfield Substation: 831 College Ave, Kentfield, CA
Records Lobby: 1600 Los Gamos Drive #200, San Rafael, CA
Point Reyes Substation: 101 4th St, Point Reyes, CA
In general, an abundance of caution should be taken when dealing with unwanted firearms and ammunition. Should any questions or concerns arise regarding proper weapon and/or ammunition handling, the public is encouraged to speak with a member of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office.
How to turn in unwanted firearms or ammunition
If you have a firearm that you want to surrender, or ammunition to dispose of, please call us at 415-479-2311 and we will arrange for a Deputy to pick up the weapon and/or ammunition from your home. Please leave the firearm in a secure location and wait for the Deputy to arrive. DO NOT have the firearm in your possession and/or hand the firearm to the Deputy.
After turning in a firearm, you must fill out California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms Form #BOF 4546 – NOTICE OF NO LONGER IN POSSESSION. You must fill out this form, sign it, and return to the California Department of Justice. This is your responsibility. We cannot complete this form for you. This form notifies the DOJ that you are no longer in possession of the firearm.
Gun Owner Tips for Firearms Safety in your Home
- Always keep the firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction. A “safe direction” means that the gun is pointed so that even if an accidental discharge occurred, it would not result in injury.
- When handling a gun, rest your finger outside the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Don’t touch the trigger until you are actually ready to fire.
- Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use. Whenever you pick up a gun, such as when removing it from or returning it to storage, remember to point it in a safe direction and make sure it is unloaded.
- Be sure you know how your firearm operates: read the manual on your firearm, know how to safely open and close the action of the firearm and know how to safely remove any ammunition from the firearm and its magazine.
- Store your firearms in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case when not in use, ensuring they are in a location inaccessible by children and cannot be handled by anyone without your permission.
- Store your ammunition in a locked location separate from firearms.
- Use a gun locking device that renders the firearm inoperable when not in use. A gun lock should be used as an additional safety precaution and not as a substitute for secure storage.
- Make sure young people in your home are aware of and understand the safety guidelines concerning firearms. Have them sign the Project ChildSafe Pledge for young people—a reminder that if they find an unattended firearm in their home or a neighbor’s to not touch it, and tell an adult.
- Always unload, clean and place your firearms in their secure storage location immediately after returning from a hunting trip or a day at the range.
- Educate everyone in your family about firearms safety. Visit the Project ChildSafe website for safety information and to find out where to get a free firearm safety kit in your area.
- If you must temporarily store a gun in your car or truck, for your safety and that of your community, we encourage you to take steps to properly store them. Use a secure storage device, keep it out of sight, try not to be away from the vehicle for an extended length of time and, when you arrive home, take the firearm inside with you to your secure home storage area. Remember, the number one way to help prevent firearms theft, accidents and misuse is to securely store firearms when not in use.