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Public Health - Seattle & King County

LOK-IT-UP: Promoting the Safe Storage of Firearms

LOK-IT-UP banner

Public Health's 2016 Safe Storage Saves Lives Campaign
King County firearm storage device retailers partner with Public Health

Starting November 25, 2013 through December 2016, mention Public Health or LOK-IT-UP
and receive 10-15% off select storage devices or lock boxes at participating retailers.

NOTE: All gun safes and lock boxes are tax exempt in the state of Washington per RCW 82.08.832

Welcome to LOK-IT-UP!
Our mission is to promote the safety of our communities through increasing safe storage of firearms. King County staffs the LOK-IT-UP initiative as part of our Gun Violence Prevention Initiative.

Here you will find information on:

  • the importance of safe storage of firearms
  • safe storage device options
  • how to practice safe storage in the home
  • how to encourage the practice of safe storage in others

Did you know...

  • In the United States, 33,636 people died in 2013 as a result of guns.
  • In Washington state, 158 children (age 17 or younger) were hospitalized and 108 children died as a result of guns from 2010 to 2014. During this period, 42 children were hospitalized and 23 children died in King County.
  • In 2013, an estimated 64,000 adults in King County with a loaded gun in or around their homes reported storing their gun(s) loaded and unlocked.
  • The majority of gun deaths in the US were suicides and homicides. Of the 33,636 deaths nationally attributed to firearms in 2013, 63% were suicides and 35% were homicides.
    ...CDC WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System), Accessed Oct. 2015
  • Guns in our community: Firearm facts and data (updated 2015)

Safe storage devices: which one is right for you?

There are dozens of devices to lock your handgun and other firearms. Many experts recommend using lock boxes, safes or gun vaults with a push button, combination, or digital keypad lock.

No matter what security device you choose, make sure that it meets the California Department of Justice safety standards. Check the Approved Firearms Safety Devices website for a list of approved firearm safety devices.

Where to purchase safe storage devices.

The five main types of locking devices are:

Lock box

Gun lock boxWhat it is: A small safe designed to store a handgun.

How it works: Your handgun is locked inside the box. A push-button, combination, digital keypad, or key opens the lock.

Features: Most models have holes in the bottom to allow permanent mounting. Some have lighted locks for access in the dark. Most have padded interiors.

Price: $40 to $200+


  • Quick access if the lock is push-button or digital.
  • Difficult to steal if permanently mounted.
  • May allow storage for more than one handgun.
  • Keeps gun out of sight.


  • Costs more than trigger locks or chamber locks.
Gun vault or safe

Gun vault or safeWhat it is: A safe in a variety of sizes designed to store long guns, handguns, or other valuables.

How it works: Your firearms are locked inside the vault. A push-button, combination or digital key pad opens the lock.

Features: Varies by type and model.

Price: $100 to $2,000


  • Allows storage of numerous long guns and handguns.
  • Difficult to steal.
  • Allows storage of other personal items.
  • Usually fire resistant.
  • Keeps valuables out of sight.


  • Costs more than chamber locks or lock boxes.
  • Heavy and difficult to move.
Cable lock

Cable lockWhat it is: A device that blocks the chamber to prevent a cartridge from being fired.

How it works: Chamber locks are inserted in or through the magazine well or chamber, or are inserted through the gun barrel and chamber to block a cartridge from moving into position. A combination lock or key opens the lock.

Features: Metal cylinders, vinyl covered wire cables, or other designs. Locks may be “universal” or may only fit certain revolver or pistol models. Some models have anti-tamper alarms.

Price: Free to $20+


  • Long cables may be threaded through several guns.
  • Inexpensive.


  • Thin cables could be cut.
Trigger lock

Trigger lockWhat it is: A two-piece lock that fits over the trigger guard.

How it works: A rigid cylinder fits behind the trigger so the trigger cannot be pulled. A push-button keypad, combination, or key opens the lock.

Features: Some models have battery-operated locks, lighted keypads, and anti-tamper alarms.

Price: $5 to $35+


  • Inexpensive.
  • Widely available.
  • Quick access (keypad models).


  • Some models will not prevent access by older children or teens.
  • May not prevent theft, as some locks may be removed later.
  • May break easily.
Personalized lock

Personalized lockWhat it is: A safety device permanently installed on a gun by the maker or owner.

How it works: These types of locks vary. Some have a built-in key or combination lock. Others are guns specially designed with a magnetic or electronic lock that only the owner can fire while wearing a special ring or bracelet. Some personalized firearms use fingerprint recognition technology.

Features: Locks are a part of the gun by design or as an after-market add-on. They may contain magnetic or electronic components. These locks are somewhat new and usually costly. For more information, talk with a federally licensed firearms dealer or a gun manufacturer.

Spread the message. Display Lok-It-Up posters and brochures.

Healthy Kids Are: Cute, Capable, Curious Poster, version 1
Healthy Kids Are: Cute, Capable, Curious, version 1
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Healthy Kids Are: Cute, Capable, Curious Poster, version 2
Healthy Kids Are: Cute, Capable, Curious, version 2
(low resolution .jpg image; high resolution unavailable)

About us:

The LOK-IT-UP steering committee has partners that coordinate and distribute messages about safe firearm storage throughout King County and Washington state. LOK-IT-UP is supported by: firearm retailers, firearm owners, parents, schools, law enforcement, public health, elected officials, community organizations, and health care providers.

The campaign focuses on family and community safety and is not intended as a policy or crime prevention program, nor does it address the issue of gun control or a private citizen's right to bear arms. The campaign is a tangible step toward reducing access to guns to prevent firearm-related deaths, injuries, suicides, theft, and school-based threats.

LOK-IT-UP raises awareness about the importance of safe firearm storage, informs the public about safe storage options, and promotes the availability of safe storage devices.

Contact us:

If you would like additional information and LOK-IT-UP resources or would like to be involved, please contact us.

Public Health - Seattle & King County
Violence & Injury Prevention Unit

Whitney Taylor, Program Manager
Phone: 206-263-8730

You may also use our online form to reach us.