I am about the most “pro gun, Pro 2nd Amendment” guy around. I fully believe in our Constitutional right to self defense. I also believe that citizens who have firearms MUST keep those guns stored in a secure manner. Secure, in this case, means that absolutely NO person can gain access to your guns that is NOT trained on how to safely and properly use them.
Are you smarter than a five year old? Recently, a five year old boy found his grandfather’s gun in the grandpa’s bedroom. The child shot and killed his nine year old sister. In doing my research for this forum, I was, at first, horrified that Alabama has no law providing for someone to be charged as a criminal for allowing access to a gun by unauthorized persons. In Florida, there is a state statute in which an adult can be charged with a felony if a child finds the unsecured gun. From my experience as a law enforcement officer there, the statute was rarely used. The horrific trauma which parents of a child face after their child is killed, or kills another child, is just about unspeakable. Most of the time, the State’s Attorney in Florida just would not put the parent in jail after their child was killed accidently.
When my boys were little, (2 and 4 years old,) I was a State Park Ranger. Now remember, we lived way out in the boonies, 18 miles from nowhere. We had no neighborhood children wondering in and out of our trailer which was parked out in the Piney Flatwoods of Central Florida. I could come in for lunch or supper, lay my gun belt on the couch, and the boys didn’t think anything of it. Now, if I had told them, “Don’t you ever touch that,” I am sure they would have gone right over and touched it just to see if it was hot. Later, I was sent to a different park with other rangers and their children living close by. The gun would be put on a top shelf, way back in the closet. I don’t ever remember telling the boys where it was and they never asked.
I say all this to get this point across. A five year old is VERY smart! If you were a five year old, could you find your parents’ gun? How many times did you go looking for, and find, Christmas presents before Christmas morning? A safe is the best place to store a gun so no unauthorized persons can get it. Now comes the tricky part. If your gun is locked up in a safe, how could you ever get to it in a hurry if some miscreant is kicking in your front door? Even the NRA pistol class, which I teach, says to store guns in a locked safe and store ammo separately. But, when seconds count, and some drug crazed thug is kicking in your door, it’s better to have a gun in your hand than a cop on your phone!
There are some excellent products on the market to solve the “locked up” gun dilemma. Starting with the most economical, there are safes which have easy access by a keyed lock. But where is the key? Can a child find it? Can you find it? A little more expensive are safes with a combination lock. You can set your own numbers, and hopefully you won’t forget them! Another safe, which I think is the one of the best choices, has a Biometric lock. It reads your fingerprints and pops open. Still another safe is opened by a digital signal on a ring or bracelet that you wear. Pass your hand within 6-8 inches, and the lid pops open. You can find these gun safes at most big box sporting goods stores and online. The prices range from $29 for the key locked box, up to $195, for the biometric ones.
Other ways to hide your guns can be behind picture frames, hidden shelves under furniture, drawers with false bottoms, and even magnets that secure your gun out of sight. Just remember, a five year old is very good at finding things he is not supposed to find.
Secure your guns! You are NOT a responsible gun owner if you aren’t smarter than a five year old.
By: Paul Foreman
Retired Deputy Sheriff, Lee County Florida.
NRA Certified Instructor,
Paul can be reached through e-Mail at Captureman@PaulForeman.com or his web site, www.PaulForeman.com