Relax, I’m talking about your guns, not politicians! A recent string of thefts and misplaced firearms has reminded me how easy it is to have a momentary lapse in your personal security protocols lead to embarrassing, and sometimes disastrous, results.

Before you jump to conclusions, be advised that I strongly oppose government “firearm safe storage” laws. Such statutes are both legally dangerous and unnecessary. Existing negligence statutes are more than sufficient to deal with irresponsible parents who leave guns laying around where young children can get hold of them.

Obviously, every gun owner should be practicing safe handling and storage principles when it comes to guns in the home, especially when adults are not around. But what I’m talking about are the additional measures that all of us who carry guns regularly out in public need to consider.

Car Care

Thefts of guns from cars is an ongoing problem; a significant number of guns that end up being sold illegally on the street were originally stolen from vehicles, including police cruisers. And in too many cases, the gun owners did not take even modest steps to protect their firearms, such as simply locking their cars.

And this isn’t just a problem limited to places like Chicago or South Central Los Angeles. A recent headline in the Salina, Kansas News (4/27/2017) caught my attention:

Police: Alarming increase in Kansas gun thefts from cars

So, whenever you must leave your carry gun in your vehicle, give some thought to where you put it. Note that the glove box and console are the first places that “smash and grab” thieves look. And locking either one is not enough — experienced thieves using pry bars or large screwdrivers can force them open in seconds.

In a “normal” sedan or coupe, the trunk is preferable. (Hint: Pull over and lock it up before you get to your destination — you avoid having a potential thief notice you tucking “something” away.) However, many SUVs and trucks do not have trunks, although many pickups have locking tool boxes in the bed.

Depending on your particular vehicle, a locking metal case attached via a cable lock to a seat frame may be the way to go. It may seem like a pain, but it is nothing compared to finding your vehicle broken into … and your gun gone.

When Ya Gotta Go…

As the number of people legally carrying handguns has risen, an astonishing number of people have left their handguns in public bathrooms, most of them never recovered. What’s really telling is that more than half of them walked out without their guns because they were texting or talking on the phone!

Everyone who carries should practice a “bathroom routine” at home. (Hint: Avoid putting the gun on the back of the toilet tank or setting it on the toilet paper dispenser.) Since everyone’s body type, dress, choice of gun and method of carry is different, find a protocol that works for you, and then follow it religiously. (See: “Bathroom Blunders”)

Awareness is Key

It’s easy, especially after carrying for years, to get complacent, even careless. I’ve seen cases of guns falling out of holsters in restaurant booths. But we all must ensure that we maintain complete and unbroken control of our firearms as we go about our day-to-day life.

Be safe.