When it comes to firearm ownership, renters, and especially those who live in an apartment, face difficulties homeowners may not need to consider. Here are some things to think about if you are considering renting, or already do and own firearms:
Does Your Landlord Allow Firearms on Their Property?
Like it or not, the apartment or rental home you are living in is private property. It belongs to your landlord and in most places the owners are legally allowed to decide whether they want to allow their tenants to possess firearms on their property.
Review your lease or rental agreement closely for clauses that may prohibit firearm ownership or possession on the property. If there’s nothing in the lease agreement against possessing a firearm, you’re in the clear.
If a pipe breaks or some other catastrophe occurs in your apartment or one near you, most lease/rental agreements allow the landlord and any designated technician to enter your rental unit to fix the issue.
Usually, apartment managers attempt to notify occupants ahead of time, but they may enter your apartment regardless if they are unable to contact you.
Lease agreements also generally allow for unannounced surprise inspections to ensure your compliance with the agreement.
It’s a good idea to have all your guns and gun related materials put away and out of sight, to keep unwanted eyes away from your firearms.
The odds of crime increase dramatically with the number of people who know you have valuables. And guns are at the top of thieves shopping lists.
What floor to live on?
The first level of any home or apartment complex is the most prone to break-ins and intruders. If you live in a house, consider how you can shore up all the potential entry points of the house with an emphasis on the first floor. In an apartment complex you can decrease your odds of being a victim by living on an upper level of the building.
Furthermore, where you live in a building may impact how you handle your firearms. If you live on the bottom floor, moving about your apartment with your weapon pointed down is safe because holding it in any other direction means pointing your gun in a neighbor’s direction.
The opposite of course is true for top floor residents. Residents in the middle floors have people living on all sides of them save the windows, but even then, those windows probably look out onto other apartments.
The key here is to be aware of your living arrangements and attempt to account for those shortcomings. Safety must be vigorously pursued in all instances of gun handling to ensure no inadvertent rounds are fired into a neighbor’s home.
When you are cleaning or performing other firearm maintenance be sure to consider your safest direction and perform any administrative firearm handling with the firearm pointed in that direction.
Living on any floor besides the first floor makes moving in a heavy safe an even more unpleasant chore. It can be done, but it’s a little dangerous. Hiring movers may be an option and will cut down on the hassle and risk to yourself.
But it also means those movers know you have guns, an estimate of how many, and where you live. Additionally, during the move in phase, it’s hard to miss a group of people hauling a gun safe, so anyone paying attention will also know these things.
You might not even be able to have your particular safe in the apartment. A large safe, fully stocked could easily weigh over 1000 lbs. The apartment floor may not be able to handle that kind of weight even if you found enough friends to help you move it.
Make sure to talk with your landlord so you don’t inadvertently add an elevator shaft between your apartment and the ones below.
If you do have a heavy safe, selling it to purchase smaller safes might be your best option since they weigh less and are easier to move. Though, they may come at a disadvantage.
Since smaller safes or gun lockers don’t have the benefit heavy safes have of immobility, you might want to anchor them to the wall. That way thieves aren’t able to simply walk out the door with the safe and open it at their leisure.
If you don’t anchor the safe, the only thing being accomplished is keeping children from accessing your guns. While this in itself is a good thing, find a safe that will do everything you need it to.
Many smaller handgun safes also come with optional security cables that allow you to tether the safe to a heavy piece of furniture. This will also protect the safe from threat without having to drill holes in the wall.
Choose a safe that opens by touch buttons (so you can open it in the dark), and quietly (because the element of surprise helps win fights.) Pistol safes are far more common and function essentially the same as rifle storage safes.
There are some high-tech safes on the market and you can get as complicated or as simple as you like. Some come with RFID locks, fingerprint recognition, GPS tracking, and tamper alerts to your cell phone.
But again, whatever you choose, have it secured in some way, so thieves can’t walk away with it. Regardless of the safe you decide on, place it in an area of your home not easily seen through a window or open door. This will help to keep your guns away from prying eyes.
Concealment furniture intended for the storage of firearms offers the ability to hide guns in plain sight, while fully utilizing the limited space of an apartment.
But remember that this furniture, while robustly constructed, is not a safe and will not prevent a determined intruder from accessing the guns inside if they know firearms are there.
But the speed of access to your home defense weapons, and the dual purpose of the furniture make these ideal hiding places for your guns. They come in a variety of makes and models depending on what your budget and needs are. From decorations and mirrors on the wall, to clocks and coffee tables, you choose what fits your style best.
Choose hidden compartment furniture with locks adequate enough to keep children out, and you add yet another purpose and utilize the smaller space you have to work with even more efficiently.
Apartment garages and storage areas are highly targeted for burglary. Don’t store guns and ammo in these areas. The same goes for vehicles. Don’t leave your “truck gun” in your truck. Apartment complexes have some of the highest rates of auto theft and break ins in the country.
Keeping a Low Profile
You might not want to advertise you have firearms to your neighbors or anyone else around you if you live in an apartment complex. Living in a rental property with an attached garage is great for loading up your guns in the car out of sight, but if you don’t have this luxury you might need to get creative.
Sure, you could wrap your long guns in a blanket to get them to your car unnoticed, but if you happen to have a couple of guitar cases laying around, it might serve well to keep your guns incognito like a 1920s era gangster.