We all like to consider ourselves responsible gun owners, and part of responsible gun ownership is keeping our guns secured. But, you should ask yourself – are my guns as secure as they need to be?
Whether you keep your guns at home or in your car, you need to take the proper steps to keep them so.
In 2016 alone, 237,000 firearms were reported stolen. Firearms which are stolen are very likely to enter illegal streams of commerce and end up used in crimes. In one study, 40 percent of inmates who used a gun in a crime admitted that they stole the gun or illegally purchased it through the black market.
Sound like a lot? It is. Regulations on secure firearm storage are typically scarce and non-specific. Even though gun ownership is a basic human right, properly securing a potentially dangerous weapon is a (moral, if not legal) responsibility.
Secure Your Car
One of the biggest sources of stolen guns comes from cars. That’s not all, though… most incidents of guns stolen from cars (up to 80% in one study) came from cars which were simply unlocked!
The first step is to never leave a firearm in an unlocked car. This seems like common sense, right? Unfortunately to too many gun owners, it’s not. If you must leave a firearm in a car, at the very least the firearm should be enclosed out of sight and the car locked.
Ultimately, there are better steps you can take for gun security inside your car. Unfortunately, with restrictive carry laws, there are times we must leave our guns in the car instead of carrying them. I know I hate worrying about leaving my gun unsecured when I go to the post office or a government building, places where it cannot legally be carried.
A great choice for protection is a locking box with security cable for your car. This small change will make a drastic improvement in the security of your gun in a car. If you need to leave it while entering a building, you can simply and quickly lock it up. The included steel security cable attaches to a solid support within your car and makes removal very difficult without specialized tools.
If you really want to get fancy with it, you could always get a gun safe installed in your vehicle. It may cost you a little more, but it’s both secure and convenient. Plus, it’s a pretty cool improvement to your truck.
Do you leave firearms unsecured around your home? Be honest. (With yourself — not information you want to share with others!). It’s a common home defense strategy that I hear. “That way I’m prepared no matter what room I’m in.”
It sounds cool, but it may be a strategy you want to re-think. At home, the safest place for a firearm to be may be on your body. Carried in a holster, it is immediately available for use for home defense and you run almost no risk of somebody discovering it and taking it from you.
Not only most criminals be considered, but other people in the house. If there are children around, firearms should be kept locked up and out of reach unless they are taking part in a shooting activity directly overseen by an adult.
It’s not just children you must worry about, though… there are people around whom you may legally be obligated to lock up a firearm. For instance, if you know somebody who is disqualified from owning a firearm for a reason such as criminal history, drug use, or mental status, you may actually be committing a crime by keeping an unsecured firearm around that person.
The best way to keep a gun out of unauthorized hands is to keep it locked up. For sport and hunting guns, this is not a problem. These don’t need to be accessed immediately, so any kind of gun cabinet or safe will do this job.
On the other hand, there will be guns that you want to keep ready for home defense. How do you keep these secure, and accessible? Luckily, manufacturers have already thought of this issue!
Quick access biometric safes are programmed to read your fingerprint and open instantly. They can be programmed with a number of fingerprints to recognize all authorized users, keeping all others out. They can be expensive, but they are a good investment to secure your guns without sacrificing accessibility.
Another problem to consider is extreme weather and fire. A simple sheet steel cabinet will secure your gun from theft and unauthorized access, but not from these disasters. If you really want to keep your guns secured from damage, consider investing in a fully lined, fire-resistant safe.
Let’s say, like many of us dedicated shooters, your firearms are tools that are very personal to you. You may have some that have great historical context, that are very expensive, or that were highly customized.
Of course, you’d want to protect those and if they were lost you might struggle to replace them. For gun owners in this situation, there’s another option. You could always buy firearms-specific insurance that protects you in the case that firearms are stolen, or damage.
The NRA offers one such insurance plan, but they are not the only providers. Choosing one of these insurance policies might be worth the small extra cost for peace of mind that your tools are protected.
Naturally, we all love our firearms and the rights associated with them. As long as we want to continue to enjoy them, we must take on the personal responsibility of keeping our guns out of the wrong hands and protecting them from damage.
Doing so may take some time and a little bit of money, but it’s worth it in the end. After all, feeling secure is one reason many of us choose to own firearms.
Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.