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Unauthorized Access and Gun Safes

 

A friend of mine had two handguns stolen from his vehicle. They were locked in his glove box. I berated him quite heavily telling him that some decent family or young lady will be victimized with his guns because he wasn't responsible. Keep that in mind wherever you store you guns....home, vehicle and even on your person.

If you haven't heard, concealed carry permits have doubled and tripled in across the nation due to a fear of impending gun control. 

Obviously the reason for all of this is the active shooter incidents (now referred to as RMM - Rapid Mass Murder. Great, they have a new name for it) in 2012 culminating with the Sandy Hook School shooting in Connecticut. And in case you haven't tried to buy anything gun related lately, from big name sporting goods stores to the smallest gun stores, the shelves are starting to empty of everything and one gun store employee told me that their suppliers are running out of inventory and it will be months until supply is back up.

With so many mass shootings that took place last year by mentally disturbed individuals this leads to the main discussion - Authorized Access.

Everyone agrees (even the liberals) that it's the person and not the tool that does the damage. The choices we make in life can have very profound outcomes. Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Newtown School shooting was a known mentally disturbed individual who never should have had access to his Mother's firearms. Not only did his Mother allow him access to her firearms, So did two other men in the household, His mother's husband (non-biological father), and his older brother. Both men have successful careers and now have to live with the unimaginable burden of explaining why they did not guarantee those firearms were kept in a gun safe or even a separate location so the murderer could not access them.

In my gun safety and CCW classes, almost immediately I talk about the three classes of people that should not have access to your firearms.
They are:

1.    Untrained Persons

2.    Unauthorized Persons

3.    Children

Untrained persons
This includes spouses and other family members in the household that have not been through a training class on gun safety, familiarization and shooting fundamentals. 
This can be negated somewhat in case of an emergency where you've been injured (or killed) and the spouse has to defend the family with a firearm.

They can do more harm than goodOne such story of a home invasion I read, the husband was fighting with both home invaders and his very brave wife retrieved their .357 Magnum revolver to help defend him as he was being severely beaten. She came up behind one of the invaders and started shooting, going through 5 of the 6 rounds in just a few seconds. Being untrained, she did not take into account her backstop which in this case was the other home invader and her husband. She hit the first invader only once but luckily it was a fatal wound. The second invader stopped what he was doing and ran with his partner out the front of the house.  Nice thing was the first perp collapsed just outside the house and the second invader upon speeding away in the husbands truck, ran over the him...poetic justice. Back to the fire fight...she did indeed strike her husband two times with that powerful .357 round. He survived, but just barely.

It is imperative that all 'responsibly aged' family members in a household with guns be trained in gun safety and the use of a firearm!

Unauthorized persons
These are people who should never have access to our firearms. This includes relatives who come to visit (unless trained and can act as backup), house guests and those that come into our homes for service calls such as appliance repair personnel, gardeners and contractors. And of course, those who are mentally unstable even if they have not been officially diagnosed. Sometimes you may not even know a person has stability issues until it's too late.

As a teenager living in Maryland, a friend and I used to target shoot and hunt small game. During one of our target shoots, my friends Grandfather who appeared completely normal, wanted to go shooting with us. I had no objections and we planned it for the next day. We were unable to go and the next time I was over his house, his mother came out and talked with us. She thanked God and told us never to allow Grandpa around any firearms because he was suicidal and would have killed himself with one our guns that day! When you're told this, you rarely forget it.

The shooter in the Oregon mall shooting did not own the rifle he used to cause RMM. He stole if from a roommate. His roommate did not have any type of gun safe or a way to secure the firearm.. And just a couple of weeks ago a teenager murdered his entire family (two adults, three children) in Arizona with firearms that belonged to his parents that were unsecured.

Do you own several firearms? Do you have a gun safe? If you do not, sell one of your guns and use the money to buy a safe. A gun safe is essential to keeping your firearms secured. I know quite the number of people with plenty of firearms who do not own a gun safe. Before you buy your next gun or other big ticket item, get a gun safe! If you have a gun safe, be sure to use it at all times. Your firearms should always be in your gun safe unless they are under your direct control. If you only have a few firearms, there are many ways to stop someone from using them against you or someone else. There are many locking devices and at the very least...you can field strip the gun and hide the essential components in another location Obviously this would not be a firearm at the ready for defense. Got any questions? Give me a shout.

Children

This goes without saying but when I hear of a child who dies as a result of getting their hands on a gun, it just burns me to the core. Every state has laws in effect against a child having unrestricted access to a firearm. Allow a child to get their hands on one of your guns and they do something bad with it and you could go to jail for a very, very long time.

Good tips in choosing and working with safes.
1. Buy a large, fire-resistant gun safe. The advantage of these safe are they are usually  
    too heavy for thieves to carry it away - This happens more than you might think.

2. Secure the safe. Bolt it to the floor, hidden in an out-of-the way location not in your
    master bedroom. That's typically the first place thieves look. 
3. Be sure to conceal the safe. A box over a small safe will make someone go right past
    it if it's in a closet.
4. Keep it quiet. Be very guarded about who you tell about your valuables and how
    much their worth.
5. Don't flaunt it. Resist the temptation to show off your hard won luxuries. Never leave
    your valuable guns, jeweler and coin collections exposed to maids, workers or even
    friends.
6. Read your homeowners insurance policy to make sure it covers collectible valuables.
    Make a inventory list with estimated values and photograph each valuable. When
    taking photographs of your guns, be sure to get the model and serial numbers.
 
Check out Zanotti Armor, they make very heavy duty safes that are assembled in parts allowing you to easily move it when needed. The heaviest piece of the safe is the door which weighs anywhere from 100 lbs to 175 lbs. Here's a link to their website and it you don't want to click on the link, do a search for Zanotti Armor.
This will be the next safe I buy and by the way...I have seven safes and two lock-boxes for my home and vehicles. I knew of secured access and believed in it many, many years ago, where's yours?

Be Safe and Stay in Condition Yellow,

Be Safe,

Rick Cross
Be Safe Firearms Instruction
Multi-Disciplined NRA Instructor & Lifetime Member
Nevada & Utah Certified CCW/CFP Instructor
Sabre Civilian Defense Instructor
Frontsight Lifetime Member