Guns Part II: Gun Control and Gun Storage

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guy aiming his gun - not well stored

This guy is NOT effing around, chump.

Last week, I published an articlethat really raised quite a stink. Here is a small sampling of some of the constructive criticism that I received on our Facebook page:

Why is this anti American crap on my page

And…

They already do background checks so what the hell are you talking about?!!

And…

I’m curious too how this liberal bs post showed up in my page. Most gun crimes are committed with stolen guns. So how do you propose we stop that? Ban stealing?

And…

Another completely idiotic rant by a someone who has never really had to live under anything other than the umbrella of safety supplied by others, there are many socialist countries that offer just what you want, have at it, leave mine alone.

So, it stands without saying that I didn’t exactly please everyone. Judging by the comments, actually, it appears that I pleased no one.

Ok, well…

That’s fine.

Really, it is.

One of the greatest things about living in this country is that we get to disagree with one another. Another one of the greatest things about this country is that we definitely do disagree with one another.

What I want a chance to do today is to explain myself further, and then to share some ways that gun owners safely store guns in the home.

Clarification: Yes. I meant every gun should be registered and every buyer subject to a background check.

I understand that many people will stop reading as soon as they see that headline, and they’ll break out the USA! chant and claim that I’m letting the terrorists win because FREEDOM.

But hear me out.

I do NOT want to ban guns. I do NOT want to limit how many guns anyone can own. I would like to limit the number of bullets that a magazine can hold, but that’s a completely different issue than the one I’m discussing today.

What I want is a system for tracking weapons that is similar to the one we have for cars, with the addition of a background check. That background check would be universal and would close the gun show loophole. You want to buy a gun? Fill out a 4473 (or ideally an online version) and do it. But if you’re at a gun show, you’re going to play by the same rules. And if you want to sell it to your neighbor or cousin or guy on Craigslist, you’ll have to transfer the title, just like with a car.

This would hardly be the first thing that you would need government licensure for. In fact, here’s a list of things that people must gain local, state, or federal licensure for:

  • Driving
  • Learning to drive
  • Getting married
  • Getting divorced
  • Hiring employees (need Employer Identification Number)
  • Building a building
  • Putting up signs
  • Installing a burglar alarm (businesses in some municipalities)
  • The following careers require government licensure in MIssouri: Accountants, Acupuncturists, Anesthesiologist Assistant, Real Estate Appraisers, Architects, Athletic agents, Athletic trainers, Clinical audiologists, Barbers, Professional boxers, Chiropractors, Cosmetologist, Embalmers, Interior Designers, Land Surveyors in Training, Martial arts professional, Massage Therapists, Nurses, Sign Language Interpreters, Teachers, Professional Wrestlers

In other words, the guy who cuts my hair has a license. The women who do my wife’s nails have licenses. We each have a drivers license. Both of our careers require licenses. The woman who rents from us has a permit to do so. My car is registered by the state, as is my wife’s, as is our house.

Hell, I have to get a permit to put up a new fence around my yard.

So, basically, the only thing left that doesn’t have to be registered is a gun. The most dangerous thing that most people will ever own or encounter. All that I’m asking is that we treat guns like the weapons they are designed to be. This is not a lack of trust or respect for the Constitution. Instead, it’s a tremendous respect for the weapons themselves. The technology that goes into modern firearms is staggering, and their potential for harm is tremendous.

When used, stored, and maintained properly, firearms can be enjoyed by hunters, recreational shooters, and those who just want to protect their family.

But when they are mistreated or not taken seriously… well… that’s what I want to avoid.

Safe Weapon Storage

Americans own more guns than citizens of any other country. According to the Washington Post, we own approximately 270 million firearms. Since they’re not paving the street with them, people are obviously storing these guns someplace. But where?

I spoke to a wide range of gun owners to see how they store their weapons. (For their privacy, I’ve given each of them a fake name. Technically, they each have names from Animal House, but they’re fake enough.)

One person I spoke to, Kent Dorfman, said:

Got a Glock 19 which is kept loaded (not chambered) in a keypad safe in our closet. Every month I take it out and see if my son (he’s been taught how to safely handle a firearm) can pull back the slide on his own. The day he can, I’m taking him out to shoot it so he can know first hand the damage a gun can do.

When I asked about his daughter, he said:

Yep. We do the same with our daughter. I only mentioned my son cause he’s close to being able to chamber a round on his own. We’ll do the same with all three kids.

So, our first example is a father who is making sure that his gun is locked in a hidden safe, and he’s taking the time to make sure that his children are properly trained in firearm safety. Good start.

Next, we hear from Mandy Pepperidge, who says:

My dad has a locked gun case in the basement and a loaded .357 in his nightstand. He also has a machete  I think the machete was for clearing brush while hunting.

Another locked gun case is good news! I’m not sure that the loaded .357 is exactly up to NRA recommendations, though. And the machete is a nice touch! Do not mess with Mandy’s dad, people. Just don’t do it.

Next, let’s hear from Babs Jansen:

We have a locked gun cabinet that has a separate locked area for the ammo. It has a drawer on the bottom with a separate lock. However in order to open the drawer you also have to have the main cabinet door unlocked and open. Each piece is a separate key. Therefore to get to the ammo you have to have two keys.

That’s definitely taking it seriously.

Marion Wormer, on the other hand, takes a very different tact:

shot gun under the bed/behind the door, rifle in the closet, and hand guns on our person. Keep in mind our kids are grown. That being said, they were very well educated when it came to gun safety. Not something we took/take lightly.

This is definitely NOT the route to take if there are kids around. Don’t do it! I happen to know, Ms. Wormer, and I don’t doubt that she’s taken every precaution for her family, but don’t do this with kids around! Just don’t!

John Blutarsky, as you would expect, is the exact opposite of Marion Wormer:

I have a big gun safe in the house with the shotguns and rifles. My night stand has a little locker in it with a keypad and key back up. Have one in each nightstand. The key backups are stored in the other locker. That’s where I keep handguns. All codes were randomly generated and do not have any ties to dates or anything like that. The kids do not know about the handgun lockers or where the handguns are stored and all safes are heavy duty. None of the cheap sheet metal ones.

We had a date as the code and thought someone could probably figure it out especially the kids as they get older so we found the random number generator.

No one will figure out the codes. I’m the only one who ever gets in the safes. There was a suicide around here not too long ago. High school girl. Very attractive. Had everything going for her. Boyfriend broke up with her and she got in her dad’s gun cabinet. Bad deal. Really made me think of mine. We were pretty damn safe but I was going to make damn sure no one could get to my guns. I don’t mess around with that stuff.

Heavy duty safes with randomly generated key codes, plus key backups locked away in another locker. That’s some serious stuff.

The Wrap

Last week I got blasted for my opinion on gun control. Fine with me. Doesn’t change my opinion, but I did want to clarify myself. Every single gun purchase should include a background check and a gun registration. Perhaps more importantly, gun owners should continue to be responsible with how they store their weaponry. Many already are, of course, but it’s important to spread the word and to continue to put pressure on people to be responsible with their guns.

Here’s a sentence that has never been written: if everyone were as careful as John Blutarsky, guns would no longer be a controversial topic in America, because the overwhelming majority of gun violence would end. In the meantime, common sense policies – background checks and gun registration – are critical steps to take to make sure that our streets and homes are safe.

Ken

Ken is the Director of Content and Promotions for the Online Self Storage Directory blog. He loves the St. Louis Cardinals, obscure historical trivia, and the incredible beards on Civil War generals.