Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lock Up Your S---! (Guns)

Yesterday, Las Vegas Metro Police reported that 1,694 guns were stolen, year to date. Every so often, we see stories on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media where a gun owner laments their weapons were stolen in a burglary. Even worse than that are the incidents where a child is killed when playing with an unsecured firearm. Gun safety is the responsibility of every owner. Negative firearm incidents in the media lends itself to the false narrative that guns are evil and inherently dangerous. While guns are dangerous, they require direct human manipulation to cause death or injury. In addition to safeguarding your possessions so that they stay yours and so that innocent hands don’t find them, security is of paramount importance.

Guns should be either holstered on your body, under your direct and immediate physical control, or locked away, preferably in a safe. NRS 202.300 makes it a crime to allow a child access to a firearm unless it is “stored in a securely locked container or at a location which a reasonable person would have believed to be secure.” This allows a wide variety of method to be used, while still requiring responsibility and safety without becoming a draconian restriction like California’s laws.

Off-body carry is especially popular with women, who carry a handgun in their purses. For reasons mentioned in this post, on-body carry is always preferred. Special considerations must be taken if off-body carry is utilized.

1. Keep your weapon (i.e. your bag) under your control at all times. Never let it out of your sight and preferably, within arms’ reach.
2. Do not allow children or anyone you don’t explicitly trust with your weapons to access your bag.
3. Always use a holster that covers the trigger to prevent fingers or object slipping inside the trigger guard.

Home Carry

Many gun owners keep a gun at home for self-defense against burglars—probably magnitudes more than those who carry, openly or concealed, outside the home. Some gun owners feel it is best to carry a firearm on their persons at almost all times, even when at home. Carrying a handgun at home is called ‘home carry.’ There are two schools of thought; one that it is a little much, almost paranoia, and the other that says one never knows when criminals will strike. It’s ultimately a personal choice and partially dictated by the threats you may face. Here is a good discussion why one person thinks it’s a good idea.

Guns stored around the house for self-defense need to fall back on the statement at the top; either on your body or locked away. Now, if you are a young, handsome, single gentleman such as the editor living in a place without children, having a loaded firearm unattended on the dresser in the other room isn’t necessarily a dangerous thing. Yet if a stranger, group of friends, or a child came over, that firearm would need to be locked away. Same thing as if the home was left unattended and the gun didn’t go along with its owner.

Self-defense in the home must balance safety and security with a quick response. Doors can be kicked open in lightning speed and the distance to a bedroom closed before your feet could hit the carpet. Quick-access safes are a good way to keep guns from being stolen and out of childrens’ hands. Browse Amazon’s results here and you’ll find a wide variety of safes. Some can go under the bed, others in nightstand drawers. Key, cipher, code, or even fingerprint access is available.

Safes vs. Cabinets

Any large metal box is not a safe, even though we call it that. A metal box with racks to store guns and a locking door is not a safe, it is a cabinet. A safe is going to be much sturdier, heavier, and have an intricate locking system that will take skills and time to defeat. One of these Stack-On cabinets is a great thing to have and a good bargain, but they will not defeat a serious gun thief and shouldn’t be used to protect collections of great value. Such lightweight cabinets can be easily pried open. Cabinets are mostly for securing guns from children and quick or lazy burglars. Safes should be bolted to the floor or frame of the house and kept within a locked room to prevent thieves from grabbing the safe to crack it elsewhere.


Record and take pictures of your guns. Make a full record of your weapons, including your serial numbers, make, model, and caliber. Best to even photograph the weapon and take a close-up of the serial number too. Store them in the cloud or on hidden removable media (in case your computer gets stolen). Paper records can be used too, but should be stored in a fire-proof safe or off-site in case of a fire. A personal firearm log is available as a PDF from LVMPD. If your guns are stolen, report them to the police as soon as possible to aid recovery and help catch anyone who uses them illegally.

Car Carry

When outside the home, citizens should be carrying their handguns, if they feel comfortable doing so, whether concealed with a concealed firearm permit, or carried openly (permit or not). Though in some locations, like casinos, schools, and workplaces, it is either illegal or not practical to carry a firearm. Most workplaces stupidly do not permit workers to have firearms at work, fearing liability rather than letting employees defend themselves.

All forms of carry are illegal in the following places:
  • On the premises of a public school, on the property of the Nevada System of Higher Education, or a child care facility without written permission of the college president, school principal, or head of a public child care facility, including in the parking lot (NRS 202.265).
  • A private in-home child care facility, except by the homeowner(s) or residents. [Ibid.]
  • The legislative building or wherever the legislature is conducting business (NRS 218A.905).
  • Inside federal buildings, at Hoover Dam, and loaded guns at Red Rock National Conservation Area. This includes the Post Office, Social Security Office, and VA hospitals/facilities.
NRS 202.3673 (concealed carry only) prohibited areas:
  • The secure area of an airport (for instance, employee-only areas or past the TSA checkpoints).
  • Inside a building of a public airport (open carry is legal outside of the secure area).
  • Inside a public building (government building) with either 'no guns' signs or metal detectors at each public entrance (open carry may be legal). See below for more details.

In these prohibited areas, leaving your gun in the car may be the only option. Guns are stolen from cars all the time. Everyone has either been victimized or knows someone who has had a vehicle burglary because a bag or something of value was visible in the car. Valuables lying out in a car practically scream “steal me!” to crooks and virtually any bag in a vehicle looks like it’s some sort of mystery-prize goody bag. Leaving stuff visible like that is as bad as leaving your car unlocked.

Lock it. Take it. Hide it.

Now if your car is locked and nothing valuable is visible, you may still be victimized. You don’t want your car broken into and your gun stolen from the glove compartment. Still, this is a risk that many of us take and have to accept, so if a gun is kept in the car, be aware that it may be stolen and you may want to choose a cheap handgun for your car pistol.

Car safes are available in wide flavors. Get one and install it in a hidden place. You can even go so far as to install a locking rifle/shotgun rack in your vehicle, such as in police cars.

Know gun safety, also, know the law. The most important part about owning and carrying a gun is how to use and carry it safely. Visit our safety page.


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