The mid-Atlantic region, particularly locations along the coastal Carolinas and Virginia, is bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Florence in the coming days, a major hurricane with devastating potential, and those in the path of the storm need to prepare immediately.
The foremost priority is the safety of residents and family members, who should always have an emergency plan, be prepared, and follow instructions from authorities regarding sheltering, evacuations and other measures. Especially when faced with severe weather that could force evacuations, gun owners must also consider storage and accountability of their firearms as part of their emergency plans.
Flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew. (Photo courtesy/AP)
Firearm storage is critical during severe weather events, not only from a security perspective, but also to shield your firearms from the elements as much as possible. Consider gun safes with some degree of theft protection, water resistance and crush resistance to withstand flooding and structural collapses associated with hurricane damage. Additionally, consider either preparing your firearms for long-term storage, and using a dehumidifier inside gun safes to help combat moisture introduced during hurricane conditions, as this could help stave off rust and water damage in the period following tropical weather.
Ensure your insurance policies are current and cover your firearms. While many homeowner’s policies cover firearms, you must document your collection, including photos of each firearm with make, model, serial number and information on condition of the firearm. It is a good practice to record this information and save it in multiple places, including digitally, so it is not lost in the effects from catastrophic weather. Importantly, ensure your insurance provider has this updated information in your policy should firearms need to be replaced following severe weather events.
In the event you have to evacuate, you should make every attempt to bring firearms with you for safekeeping. However, if this is not possible, consider storing your firearms using the aforementioned protection methods. It is advisable to remove the bolts or firing mechanisms from firearms you leave behind to prevent unauthorized use of the guns in the event they are taken in your absence. Lastly, if you plan to evacuate out of state, understand that gun laws may differ starkly from laws where you live, and you should research the firearm laws in the areas where you will both travel through and at your destination. NRA-ILA maintains an excellent database of gun laws by state that can provide this information.
Federal Firearm License (FFL) dealers should have disaster preparedness plans in place to protect and secure their firearm inventories through tropical weather events. Consult the ATF for further guidance. Additionally, the National Shooting Sports Foundation offers valuable disaster preparation guidelines for FFL dealers, available by clicking here.
The National Rifle Association implores all citizens in areas impacted by the dangerous, forthcoming Hurricane Florence to make every effort to protect themselves, their families and their homes, and to heed the warnings and instructions of local authorities in order to keep everyone safe.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Information provided in this article and on the NRA-ILA website is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of any particular set of laws. You must abide with all laws: state, federal, and local, and should consult with an attorney.