Justice Department announces new rule requiring licensed gun sellers to offer gun storage devices

The ATF has also published a new guide designed to, among other things, ensure "the traceability of firearms"

The Justice Department has announced the establishment of a new rule designed to ensure the "safe and secure storage of firearms."

The rule requires federal firearms licensees who sell guns to the general public to certify that they have secure gun storage or safety devices available. 

"Today's announcements build on the department’s efforts to reduce the risk of firearms falling into the wrong hands," Attorney General Merrick Garland said. 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."

The rule will take effect on Feb. 3, and require all federal firearms licensees to certify that they have secure gun storage devices available to customers for purchase along with firearms. 

According to the department, a 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."

The department clarifies in a release on the matter that not all means of storage are compatible with all firearms. Therefore, to be in compliance of the rule, a seller must have available "secure gun storage options that are compatible with the firearms they are selling."

In addition to the new rule, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives published a Best Practices Guide for federal firearm licensees, designed to help sellers comply with federal regulation designed to ensure, among other things, "the traceability of firearms."

The guide also encourages sellers to provide other ATF reading materials to individuals purchasing firearms, so that "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."