It was raining like crazy, lightning was glowing eerily through the treetops and thunder was rocking the neighborhood. I pulled into my driveway, pressed the garage door opener and rushed into the house to escape the rain. Upon entering my kitchen through the garage, my stomach dropped. My house had been ransacked. I was physically sick to my stomach and felt like throwing up all over the place. I immediately began searching for my guns. They were all missing; my shotguns, my collection of various handguns, my AK-47, all of my ammo and that drawer full of holsters that we all have…empty. I called the police.
Within 30 minutes, two cops showed up at the door, asking all kinds of questions, almost as if they didn’t believe me. I showed them the house and gave them a list of my missing guns. One of the deputies asked me where I kept them. I told him, “The shotgun was under the bed. The handguns were in the nightstand drawers, along with all of my ammunition boxes,” etc. Within seconds, I was handcuffed and charged with “improper storage” of my firearms, which was a felony.
…I will call you stupid if you have a gun collection and nowhere to put them but under the bed or in a drawer.
I woke up sweating, with a racing heart and wet palms. I looked around my bedroom, wondering if it was real. It wasn’t. It was only a dream; but it did, in fact, wake me up…literally. This is a true story. You see, I did not have a gun safe in my home the night I had that dream, but I had been thinking about it, as my gun collection grew. It was one of those things weighing on my mind, as time just continued passing. My daughter was growing. It was time to make a decision and take action.
By 9:00 am that morning, I had purchased an 800-pound, $1500.00 Colonial safe with that cool spinning wheel and enough room for all of my guns and then some. By 2:00 pm, that bad boy was bolted to the foundation of my house in the closet of the guestroom; and I looked forward to not having any more dreams of being arrested for my own stupidity. That’s right. I was stupid. I had gotten used to living alone with my wife, secure in the fact that my guns were “OK” in the nightstand drawer and not worrying about a small child or a thief getting a hold of them…just plain stupid.
I’m not selling safes here. I can only tell you what works for me. However, I will call you stupid if you have a gun collection and nowhere to put them but under the bed or in a drawer. And by gun collection, I mean one or more guns. You need a safe and you need one now.
Let me tell you what works for me. As I mentioned, I have an 800-pound gorilla bolted to the foundation of my house. It is not only used for my guns, but for important papers as well. I installed it in the closet of a room that doubled as a guest bedroom and my home office, but now it belongs to my 8-month-old son. I’m sure that he would think it’s quite cool when he gets a little bit older, but by then, it will be moved (my wife would like the closet space back). In addition to the large Colonial safe, I purchased a portable Gunvault for the master bedroom. Again, I’m not trying to sell a particular brand of safe and I am certainly not on anyone’s payroll, but this combination works very well for me. The Gunvault affords almost immediate access to my firearm(s) in total darkness, if needed, any time of the day or night; and it secures my carry gun(s) when it/they are not on my person. The large safe handles all of my long guns and important documents. I definitely recommend the combination or something similar.
It’s a fact; being a law abiding, responsible, gun owner requires two things of you; (1) that you be law abiding and (2) that you be responsible. It’s pretty simple. If you own a gun and you do not have the necessary, safe storage to keep your weapons secure, you are not responsible; and in some states, you are not law abiding. (My state requires that guns be inaccessible to minors; and it is a felony to break this law.)
Here’s my daily routine. After getting dressed, I unlock my Gunvault and retrieve the sidearm I choose to adorn myself with that day. That gun stays on my person throughout the day; and upon returning home, I go directly to my bedroom where I unholster my weapon and place it back in my portable Gunvault safe. This is done before I hug my wife and kids. It takes two seconds and it relieves me of any concern that I may make a mistake that could kill one of my children. There’s truth to the rumor that says, performing an act 30 times will make it a habit.
Prices for gun storage units range from tens of dollars to several thousands of dollars. If you are like me, price is no object when it comes to my own piece of mind.
If you have guns in the home without a safe(s), you are not alone. However, don’t rest easily, taking comfort in the fact that there are other irresponsible gun owners out there. Imagine how you would feel if your child or one of their playmates were killed because of your stupidity. Imagine how you would feel if that gun in your nightstand drawer was stolen and used in a robbery and/or murder.
Prices for gun storage units range from tens of dollars to several thousands of dollars. If you are like me, price is no object when it comes to my own piece of mind. The point is to do whatever you have to do to keep your guns locked up from all unauthorized people, kids and thieves alike. You’ll also be doing your part in helping to shut the mouths of the Brady Campaign and other gun-grabbing, liar groups that pounce all over preventable accidents from unsecured weapons.
[ Mark A. Walters is the Director of Gun Safety Education and an NRA Certified Instructor in 3 disciplines. He is also the owner of 45 Caliber Transfer, LLC and a local firearms/Second Amendment activist in his hometown. ]