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Firearms Accessories: Holsters, Safes, Lights & more If it locks up, carries, fits on to or cleans up your firearms, discuss it here.

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  #1  
Old 02-20-2013, 11:59 PM
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Default Gun "Safe" vs. CA-Approved cabinet oddness

Perhaps someone here can help me understand the bizarro regs on this one.

I've been eyeing a simple gun security cabinet for some time now. Not a full blown safe, as those are pretty crazy expensive, but something that's (a) legal and (b) a little more protective (and legal) than just keeping my rifles and pistols in locked cases. A serviceable 8-gun cabinet can be had in the $140-150 range without difficulty, while an 8-gun SAFE starts around $350 if you're really lucky, and more like $500... and those are the cheapest "starter" models, the more serious safes start at $1k-5k and up, even.

Here's the cabinet I've been eyeing: Stack-On GCB-908 8-Gun Steel Security Cabinet, Black (seems to be bouncing between $140-150, free S&H or not, over the past couple of weeks)

So while I was at Turners earlier today, I happened to notice that they carry what appeared to be that exact cabinet, for a similar price. Score! No shipping to worry about and easy drive to return if there's an issue! I asked the salesman about it, and he said they were ok for storage, but they weren't CA DOJ-approved since they used only a key, no combo lock, no thick steel locking bars, etc. I was pretty bummed, thinking I had been mistaken and was going to have to lay out a LOT more cash to realize my goal. He went on to say I could use one of the simple cabinets to store things, but I would still have to keep the cable locks and stuff in the guns anyway to be fully compliant... which sort of defeats the point, in my mind.

After getting home and browsing depressingly high-priced safes for a while, I decided to check the actual DOJ info:
http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/fsdcertlist

From there, I read the actual language of the regs re gun safes, too: http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/gunsafe

Those standards just seemed crazy high, and I couldn't understand why. I happened to notice the Firearms Safety Device Compatibility Chart:
http://oag.ca.gov/sites/oag.ca.gov/f...rms/chart.pdf?

I was sort of flipping through the chart when I noticed some of the manufacturers and model numbers seemed awfully familiar. I pulled one up to see if it was the expensive SAFE and to my surprise, the list actually included the very cabinet I had been looking at! (See "Lock box" listing on page 11, which includes: "Stack-On GCB-908")

So clearly the guy at Turners had his head up his azz and was 100% wrong... those simple "lock boxes" are indeed DOJ-approved, unless I'm missing something. And sure enough, as I thought, looking back at the description on Amazon, it definitely explicitly states "California-approved firearms safety device that meets the requirements of CA penal code Section 12088".

So... if something as cheap and simple as the glorified school locker of a locking cabinet that is the "stack-on security cabinet" counts, why on earth are the criteria for a "gun safe" so off the charts demanding? Seems like you could have serious safe that doesn't quite tick every box on their list, and yet be FAR more secure than the cheap security locker-style safes that ARE listed as ok!

(I would ask why the regs are so confusing that this misunderstanding resulted in the first place, but what's the point?) Sorry, just had to vent. Yeesh. Gotta love the "common sense" of CA gun laws...
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:42 AM
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Actual safe manufacturers have not bothered to file for approval with CA, so those descriptive criteria are meant to indicate those products are acceptable. Many manufacturers have already paid UL for the RSC rating, which pretty much requires the features described.
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Old 02-21-2013, 8:35 AM
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So a simple sheet steel cabinet qualifies as an RSC and you don't have to keep a cable lock on your guns inside, but a SAFE that lacks one of the generic "gun safe" features they listed, nope, SOL. (technically... probably a seriously rare situation where it would actually be held against you, but still)
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Old 02-21-2013, 3:16 PM
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No - the Stack-on boxes are, afaik, not UL-RSC rated - they're just certified to the state as meeting the standards for a 'lock box', which are NOT the standards for a 'safe' you found at http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/gunsafe

A 'lock box' is defined as "“Lock box” means an FSD that fully contains and encloses the firearm(s)."

The standards for an FSD - Firearms Safety Device - are
Quote:
Barclays Official California Code of Regulations
Title 11. Law
Division 5. Firearms Regulations
Chapter 6. Certified Firearm Safety Device Laboratories, Firearm Safety Device Standards and Testing, and Standards for Gun Safes
4094. Firearms Safety Device Standards.

(a) The FSD shall be of a design that will not allow its removal or deactivation except by utilizing a key, combination, or other unique method as intended by the manufacturer to allow access only by authorized users, within the standards set forth in these regulations.

(1) Combination locking systems shall have a minimum of 1,000 possible unique combinations consisting of a minimum of three numbers, letters, or symbols per combination.

(2) Key locking systems shall be unique to the manufacturer's FSD(s).

(b) The FSD shall render the firearm inoperable (unable to be fired) while the FSD is properly installed. The firearm shall be rendered inoperable immediately upon installation and activation of the FSD. Lock box style FSDs (devices that fully contain and enclose the firearm) must prevent removal of, and access to, the enclosed firearm.

(c) An FSD shall function by at least one of the following methods:

(1) By blocking travel of the trigger, striker, firing pin, or hammer.

(2) By preventing the action or cylinder from closing.

(3) By preventing the chamber(s) from accepting or holding a live cartridge.

(4) By preventing access to the firearm.

(d) When used in the manner designed and intended by the manufacturer, the FSD shall be capable of repeated use and shall pass the testing procedures described in these regulations.

(e) The FSD shall be capable of withstanding manipulation with common household tools, as described in section 4095 - Testing Procedures, for an approximate ten-minute period without being disabled.
That's what the Stack-on models (or all of them of which I am aware) meet.

The Liberty and Fort Knox and Amsec folks don't submit their devices to the state for testing; often they submit them to Underwriters Laboratories to get a UL certification for safes or for Residential Security Containers - which the state says satisfies the requirement for safes.

And you NEVER have to keep a gun in a safe or lock box, or keep a 'safety device' on it. There are a few circumstances where negligently allowing a minor to take a gun would give you problems, but if you choose to carry your handgun in a holster on your belt while you are at home, that, too, would ordinarily prevent unauthorized access to your gun - no 'safety device' required.
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Last edited by Librarian; 02-21-2013 at 3:25 PM..
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  #5  
Old 02-21-2013, 4:15 PM
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That explains it, thanks!
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