President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice announced on Monday a new federal gun control rule requiring federal firearms licensees (FFLs) to have secure gun storage or safety devices available for purchase. The rule will take effect Feb. 3 and the DOJ said it is designed to ensure “safe and secure storage of firearms.”
According to the DOJ, secure gun storage or safety device includes “a safe, gun safe, gun case, lock box or other device that is designed to be or can be used to store a firearm and that is designed to be unlocked only by means of a key, a combination or other similar means.”
Because not all storage or safety devices are compatible with different types of guns, FFLs must have varying options compatible with the firearms they sell.
“Today’s announcements build on the department’s efforts to reduce the risk of firearms falling into the wrong hands,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement. “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.”
National Rifle Association spokesman Lars Dalseide told The Washington Times in a statement that the gun-rights advocacy organization “has always supported the safe storage of firearms.”
In addition to the new rule, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) also published a Best Practices Guide for FFLs, which is “designed to assist FFLs in complying with all required firearm laws and regulations that are designed to ensure public safety and the traceability of firearms.”
The DOJ explained that the guide also “encourages FFLs to provide customers with ATF publications to help firearms owners better understand their legal obligations, as well as practical steps they can take to help keep firearms out of the hands of prohibited persons and facilitate the safe storage of firearms.”
The rule comes just one month after Jennifer and James Crumbley — the parents Ethan Crumbley, 15, who is accused of killing four of his classmates and wounding seven others — were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of the teens because they failed to adequately secure the firearm their son used in the shooting, authorities say.
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said the Crumbley’s “had every reason to know [Ethan] was dangerous and they gave him a weapon and they didn’t secure it and they allowed him free access to it.”