on January 4, 2022
The Biden administration announced this week a “new” rule mandating that federal firearm licensees (FFLs) provide safe gun storage options to their customers.
“Today’s announcements build on the department’s efforts to reduce the risk of firearms falling into the wrong hands,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a press release. “Gun safety is a Department of Justice priority, and we will continue to take all appropriate steps to help reduce the number of people killed and injured by the misuse of firearms.”
Apparently issued as a response to the recent mass murder in Michigan, the new rule would require that FFLs certify that they have secure gun storage devices available to their customers for purchase. These gun storage devices can include safes, lockboxes, or “other devices,” but there must be devices available for each type of firearm being sold.
But Mark Oliva of the National Shooting Sports Foundation told GunsAmerica that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has been mandating this requirement for years.
“This Final Rule is a much ado about nothing,” he said in an email. “This is something the firearm industry and firearm retailers have been doing for years. Federal firearm licensees have been certifying with the ATF that they provide secure gun storage devices when they renew their licenses. This has been standard practice.”
In fact, the gun industry has been voluntarily offering safe storage devices to all retail consumers. Every new firearm sold at retail contains a locking device, and the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe has partnered with law enforcement agencies in all 50 states to distribute locking devices to anyone who wants one.
Over the last 20 years, these initiatives have resulted in 100 million locking devices being distributed to gun owners.
“We are proud that the Department of Justice affirms the good work the firearm industry has been doing on a voluntary basis for years,” Oliva said. “While the Biden administration will point to this Final Rule and claim that they are tightening gun control, it is clear that this is already being done voluntarily.”
Biden’s rule comes on the heels of a mass murder in Oxford, Michigan, in which the killer used an unsecured firearm to kill four of his schoolmates. Later reports have revealed that the SIG Sauer SP 2022 was a gift from his parents, but the gun was stored in an unlocked drawer in his parent’s bedroom.
Authorities have not said whether the gun came with a locking device, but given the efforts of the gun industry to distribute such devices, it’s highly probable.