One of moldy oldies of the gun control movement is experiencing resurgence these days. Safe storage laws are once again being pushed in communities and states around the country. And as always, it has nothing to do with safety, only control. It is just another way for gun control zealot politicians to intimidate, harass and punish law-abiding firearm owners and minimize their Second Amendment rights, at the expense of the very people who they claim they are trying to keep safer.
Firearm storage inside the home is a very personal subject. Most people who own firearms for self-defense choose to have them ready in case they are needed. In those situations, seconds really do count. Unlocking a safe, removing a cable lock and then loading your firearm essentially renders it useless as a self-defense tool.
That of course is the idea behind safe storage laws. Anti-gun politicians don’t want you to be able to defend yourself in an emergency. They want you to be 100% reliant on the government for your safety. Also keep in mind that your local law enforcement agency has no legal responsibility for keeping you safe. Many lawsuits against law enforcement from victims of violent crimes due to government inaction or negligence have been dismissed, as the police have no duty to protect you, even if they could have and simply decided not to.
So even though the government knows they can not adequately protect you in public or in your home, they want to make sure you are not able to protect yourself either. By passing so-called safe storage laws, you are required to keep your self-defense firearm unloaded and disabled in your own home. AND… if you do leave your firearm unlocked in your locked home and it is stolen, you have committed a crime.
Consider the following scenario. You leave your house in the morning for work, give your dog a new chew toy, lock the doors and set the alarm. While you are gone someone breaks into your house. They do this because they know the chances of being caught are low and the chances of any real penalty coming out of it if they are caught are practically non-existent.
In the quick ransack of your house, burglars find your non-government approved firearm storage spot in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator’s vegetable crisper drawer.* They take this firearm and commit yet another crime and injure or kill someone with it. What happens to you? You are arrested for improper storage of a firearm.
Now let’s change this scenario a little. Upon breaking into your home, the burglars find your new 10” Wustoff cook’s knife. They take this knife and commit yet another crime and injure or kill someone with it. What happens to you? You are NOT arrested since you were the victim of the crime of burglary and had no involvement in the commission of the crime using your stolen property.
Let’s change that scenario one more time. Upon breaking into your home, the burglars find your car keys. On the way out the door they go by the liquor cabinet and grab a bottle of Jack Daniels. They take your car and liquor, get drunk and drive the wrong way down the interstate and injure or kill someone. What happens to you? You are NOT arrested since you were the victim of the crime of burglary and had no involvement in the commission of the crime using your stolen property.
I’m not aware of any other situation where the victim of a crime can be criminally charged as a result of being a victim of someone else’s crime. By creating these feel-good but useless public safety laws that criminalize legal behavior inside of your own home, you become both the victim and the criminal with no action necessary on your own part.
The other side of so-called safe storage laws concerns children gaining access to unsecured firearms. As someone who has been involved in firearm safety for decades, I can honestly tell you there is no excuse for this. There is also no excuse for the bad parenting that lead to it.
My story: As a child growing up, my family owned firearms, as did most of our relatives. Some were stored unsecured and loaded for home self-defense. I knew where these firearms were in our house and those of our relatives. Did I ever touch them without permission? HELL NO!! Why? Because I was taught the difference between right and wrong, as well as a respect for firearms.
In my home as an adult, I also kept loaded firearms for self-defense. Did my son ever touch them? HELL NO!! Why? Because he too was taught the difference between right and wrong, as well as respect for firearms. To this day, I wouldn’t even question if my now adult son walked into my house and found a loaded firearm sitting on the dining room table, he would ask before he handled it.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has an excellent – and free – program called Project ChildSafe. It combines information, education and gunlocks distributed for free by law enforcement agencies around the country. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has a child firearm safety program available – also free – called the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program. It teaches children what do if they find an unsecured firearm. Both have been successfully educating children and youth about real firearm safety for years.
Firearm safety and storage is a very personal subject. What works for me in my home may not be appropriate for a home with young children living or visiting in the home. There are solutions for everyone that does not sacrifice safety or security. What doesn’t work for either is a one-size-fits-none government mandate that firearms shouldn’t be available for self-defense. How does being a helpless victim keep anyone except the criminals safe?
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*Note to self: Move firearm out of vegetable crisper drawer.