A Snoozeroonie from the Fringe
I promised a friend I would write about safe storage of firearms. It’s not a bad idea to store your firearms securely these days, as firearms increase in value, the number of gun thefts will also rise. Further, safely storing firearms might prevent some “bad luck”.
The first thing to do to store your firearms safely is to shut your cake hole and lock it up tight. The fewer people who know you have firearms, the less likely someone is to get the idea to rip you off. Currently, semiautomatic weapons are the gold standard of stolen firearms, with the AK47 and AR15 themes getting the highest dollar on the black market. Handguns, too, are in huge demand, and crooks and homeowners agree, Glock is the firearm to have.
You might also prevent some misfortune, though that is less likely than having your firearms stolen; the consequences could be more serious. In addition to the pain and cost of accidental injury, and the trauma of death, there are also legal consequences. In the state of California, if a minor finds a firearm and hurts or kills someone with it, perhaps in a gang war, the owner or the person in whose custody the firearm resides, can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
The state is also not pleased if you lose your guns or let them be stolen, and there are forms for those things when they happen. At all times the state would like you to store your firearms in a $15,000 gun safe, and store the ammunition separately, preferably in Bomfoque, Egypt. The Attorney General cautions, never leave a loaded gun in a bedside drawer or under your mattress. Under the mattress or a bedside table, though, are places where your handgun would be easy to find if you need it. The AG clearly doesn’t want you to have a gun handy, and indeed, it’s pretty clear California doesn’t want you to have a firearm at all.
The state has some of the worst gun laws in America making it difficult to buy and own firearms that people in other states continue to trade freely between friends and neighbors. Far from coming forward, as some states have, to reaffirm their citizen’s rights to own firearms, California seems bent on beating the feds to firearms confiscation.
However, having the misfortune to live in a state where guns are terribly expensive to own, we have to make the best of it, and that means lock up guns to keep criminals, the ignorant, and the government from getting to them.
The AG has a list of safes considered appropriate for firearm storage; those definitions seem to apply to the sales of firearms. The seller has to provide a AG approved gunlock rendering the weapon useless unless the purchaser can demonstrate the firearm will be safely locked away, hence the list of approvable gun safes. Incidentally, the modern firearm you buy very well may include a lock intended to work with the weapon, but if it doesn’t meet the AG’s list, the dealer has to confiscate it and substitute an approved lock. If you provide a gunlock, you must also present a receipt for the lock less than 30 days old. Ah, it’s great to live in the land of the free.
It doesn’t make sense to spend more on a safe than your firearms are worth. If you have a pile of old Mausers and Enfields and short shell A-5s and other rusty iron, most likely no one wants them; you can get a big gun safe from Walmart for about $500. It can probably be opened with a butter knife, but it meets some of the criteria for a “gun safe”. More realistically, it’s possible to spend $2500 and get a decent gun safe. It doesn’t matter how thick the door is, what matters is how much metal, iron, stainless steel and beryllium copper, is in the door. Most gun safes have sheet metal and particle board on the sides and back; if you really want to keep people out you’ll need ¼ inch steel sides. For about $15,000 you can pickup an American Security safe that weighs in at almost 5,000 lbs.
All this steel makes the safe heavy, but even so, thieves after a rich booty stored in an expensive safe like to take it away to work on it. The safe needs to be firmly bolted to the floor, and it needs to be in a corner so it’s difficult to get a chain around it. A tamper block, which falls down when anyone tries to force the safe and prevents the gears from turning, is available on some safes, and most have some type of shear pin to prevent the handle from being forced.
A good gun safe will also keep your firearms safe in a fire; ratings up to 2 hours are possible.
But, what about the handy firearm under the pillow or in the night stand? A better idea would be to get an under bed pistol safe, which screws to the floor, and which is opened through fingerprint recognition. Hear a noise? Roll off the bed, put your hand on the top of the box; if it recognizes you, the door pops open and you have your piece, hot and ready to fire. Most can be pried from the floor with a big screwdriver, the weak point being the floor material. Still, it provides some security for your favorite piece and keeps children and the government and others of reduced mental capacity out of your firearms, at least for awhile.
Gunlocks (trigger and action locks) fall into a couple of types, nearly all of which require the gun to be unloaded and/or the action to be open. They range from a crappy cable lock which would do little more than encourage a 10 year old with a screw driver to pop it open, to heavy keyed lock trigger locks. I once took part in a test in which we tried to get a trigger lock to fire a piece, and those which would fit with the trigger forward allowed the trigger to be pulled. Those that require the trigger to be back weaken your trigger spring. Trigger locks aren’t worth much on a ready piece, since you have to jigger around with your key, in the dark, with your heart pounding and your mouth dry; spend a hundred bucks or so and get an under bed safe. A good one works even if your hands are sweaty.
The anti-firearm lobby is moaning and wringing hands over the “social cost” of misused firearms. The vast majority of firearms won’t be used in a crime, and very few firearm owners will use their guns in a crime. Simply having a firearm casts a negative light on a person in the news and in the courts. With more administrative (read: financial) attention on firearms, insurance seems to loom large on the horizon in California and the nation, adding yet more cost to the obvious liberty of firearms ownership. A gun safe might become a requirement for insurance reasons.
Those hardy individuals who insist on owning firearms in the face of creeping communitarianism, try to stay out of the news!
Here is some great advice on firearms storage, and the draconian nature of laws regarding firearms, from an actual California attorney, from this website: http://www.gunlaw.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=61&Itemid=73
“My girlfriend and I want to move in together but her kids are a little out of control. They get into everything and go through my stuff. She can’t handle them and they cry if I say anything and then she gets upset. If she does move in with me I don’t want them to get into my guns so I’m getting some trigger locks. What else can I do to avoid problems?”
“Hells bells son, buck up and be a man! You need to drop her like a bad transmission. If you haven’t got the guts to do that, get cracking and get a damn gun safe…a big one and go into lockdown.
“Even if her kids only come over once in a while, you need it NOW and bear in mind; birds of a feather flock together, so when their friends show up they’re probably ruthless little criminals too. If a kid finds one of your guns and someone gets hurt, then you’ll really find out what misery looks like pal.
“You must have the patience of a saint, but remember that if you eventually flip-out thinking you want to apply some old-fashioned razor strap therapy or have a first-rate fight with your girlfriend, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (that includes child abuse) which will subject you, under current law, to a lifetime…did you get that…LIFETIME, Federal firearms prohibition and a string of other headaches.
“I can see the possibility of you being yanked in on California Welfare and Institutions Code 5150 too, that’s an involuntary 72 Hour Detention for Evaluation and Treatment in a psychiatric facility.
“If you still think you want to live together, get things under control before you take that next step. Having her move in under these circumstances may seem like a good idea now but remember, there’s always free cheese in the mousetrap, but the mice there ain’t happy.