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Laws Requiring "Properly Securing" Firearms

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Plan2Live, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Plan2Live

    Plan2Live Participating Member

    May 17, 2011
    Columbia, SC
    One of our local TV stations aired Part 1 of a series focusing on stolen guns today. Although the reporter’s angle is not overtly blatant, it is still obvious that her intent is to plant the seed that South Carolina needs to pass laws holding gun owners responsible if their guns are stolen while not being “properly secured”. Link to the website text article, which will link you to the video if you choose to view it.http://www.wistv.com/story/24808709/wis-investigates-sc-ranked-11th-for-stolen-lost-guns

    This TV article follows the lead of a local newspaper article published last week. Sorry, no link. Obviously “the game is afoot” as Holmes would say.

    Although I believe, for selfish reasons, that I need to secure my firearms, this sudden surge of rhetoric regarding “proper storage” of firearms has me wondering, if my house or vehicle is locked;

    1.Why should I be expected, under the threat of law, to take additional measures to secure my firearm simply because it is a firearm?

    2. Why should I be held in greater disdain if a thief breaks into my property and steals a firearm and uses that stolen firearm in a crime than if that same thief broke into my property and used my “improperly secured” vehicle, knife, hammer or any other item to kill or injure someone?

    3. Why is it more offensive to the general public if the thief uses a firearm stolen from me to harm someone than if that same thief stole “improperly secured” alcohol or prescription drugs from my house, became intoxicated and hurt someone while intoxicated on my stolen booze or meds?

    Please don’t misinterpret my comments. I firmly believe that “properly securing” our firearms is a highly recommended practice. However, I don’t believe that failure to do so should expose us to any additional liability unless that additional liability is applied evenly to any and all inanimate objects. What say The High Road?
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  2. Plan2Live

    Plan2Live Participating Member

    May 17, 2011
    Columbia, SC
    Sorry about the bullet points. Apparently they didn't come out as intended and I had to edit and modify.
  3. tommy.duncan

    tommy.duncan Member

    Aug 30, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    As far as I am concerned, if the homeowner locked the door he tried to secure the firearm. Some families don't have the money for safes or lockers.
    Should the 2nd amendment only apply to people who can afford a safe?
    Should a homeowner be charged because some thug was a thief?
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    A gun in your home is pretty useless to you if it is locked in a safe.

    On the other hand, you would be pretty safe if you locked yourself in the safe with the gun
    Until you ran out of air.

    I keep guns at various strategic locations throughout my home.

    If a thief breaks the door locks, or a window while I am gone?
    I would have no regrets, and only hope the cops catch the SOB, lock him up, and throw the key away.

    But even if they did, the revolving door justice system would have him back out on the street before the cops got done filling out the paperwork.

    And that is the problem.
    Not how I store my guns in my own home.

  5. Skribs

    Skribs Mentor

    Oct 29, 2010
    Lakewood, Washington
    RC, excellent post, as always.

    My issue with mandating safe storage is several-fold, as has been posted:

    1. Punish the person committing crimes. Theft, forcible felony, assault, murder, etc.
    2. Sometimes "safe storage" is more about common sense than about what's mandated by law. I could get a locked gun cabinet that might comply with local laws that says "hey, put that crowbar in my crack and steal stuff from me", or I could use good hiding places to have quick access to my gun.
    3. Safe storage laws mandate buying extra stuff, driving up the price and promoting classist gun control.

    As with anything relating to guns and legal-mandated safety, I find it's best to leave it up to the shooter. It's just like talking about kids and accidents. I've read several articles about a 12-15-year-old who is at home alone or babysitting younger siblings when someone breaks in, and they use the gun to drive the person off. Had they not had access to the firearm, they could have been beaten or worse. I don't care how macho you are, if you see a 13-year-old with a rifle, all you see is the rifle.
  6. 49willys

    49willys Member

    Feb 19, 2011
    south central oregon
    Just another way to control guns.I mean,if I leave my car unlocked and a guy steals it and runs someone over,am I liable?I dont know why the govt.doesnt just ban criminals.But if they did that,only criminals would have criminals,and that makes too much sense.
  7. HammsBeer

    HammsBeer Active Member

    Dec 5, 2013
    So they are all hot and bothered if you have a handgun in the nightstand, but never a word about the post-surgery oxycodone in the bathroom cabinet. :rolleyes:
  8. Hardtarget

    Hardtarget Senior Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Nashville, Tn.
    Ask the news reporter if some thug stole her camera and did child porn if she should be prosecuted.

    I've used this twice in conversation with an "anti". I told one that if they owned a computer, a modem and internet hookup, and a digital camera they should just surrender to the police because they had the assault weapon of child pornographers. I was not the favorite at the party. :D

    If my house or car is locked then the problem is the thug that broke in...not me.

    We don't prosecute the rape victim because she is female.

    stuff like this makes my brain hurt.

  9. mgmorden

    mgmorden Senior Member

    May 22, 2009
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Its my feeling that this, along with the idea of "mandatory liability insurance", aren't really to have positive effects in and of themselves. These "solutions" are meant to make gun ownership more of a hassle. The more complicated, aggravating, and liability ridden they can make gun ownership, the less people will own guns (who'd have thunk?).

    As less people own guns, gun control becomes a less controversial issue. There are always 3 groups on legislation: 1. People who want it. 2. People who don't want it. and 3. People who don't care. For gun control, if they can move enough people from group #2 into group #3 then eventually, they win.

    Personally, I actually do lock my guns up. The vast majority of them are in a safe downstairs. One handgun sits in a lockbox on the nightstand. That one on the nightstand would probably not be locked up if it weren't for the fact that I have children in the house. Still, I don't want to be legally REQUIRED to lock the guns in a safe.

    To me the whole idea is one of victim blaming. Blaming a homeowner whose guns were stolen because they didn't have them locked in a safe is like blaming a woman who just got raped because she "wore too much makeup". Doesn't make sense in either case.
  10. Twiki357

    Twiki357 Participating Member

    Jan 26, 2011
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    I agree with the previous comments. How or if I secure my firearms is none of the governments business. If I leave my car unlocked with a gun sitting on the seat, that’s one thing. But if I lock my car and house and take reasonable precautions to protect my property, then some scumbag breaks in, that’s a criminal act and what he/she takes or what they do with it is no longer my responsibility.

    I can neither afford or have a place to put a safe and a locked steel cabinet just advertises something worth stealing inside without providing much protection. I have guns in strategic locations and the rest are hidden in various locations. A safe or cabinet just puts all my eggs in one basket for a determined thief.
  11. herrwalther

    herrwalther Senior Member

    May 1, 2013
    Safe storage laws would make the most sense if they were in good faith. Wheras if you locked your house or car, but the firearm was stolen anyway; you should not be prosecuted because you attempted safe storage. However I do not believe legislators know what good faith means and thus do not like safe storage laws. The only way to properly ensure that safe storage laws are followed is if inspections occur, and that is inviting a whole dose of trouble with the 4th Amendment.

    I have a safe that I purchased as part of a storage requirement when I was still living with my parents. They wanted my firearms locked up or out of the house. So I found a good deal on a safe to abide by them. And that is about as safe storage as I will go.
  12. hovercat

    hovercat Member

    Dec 30, 2012
    There was a time when you could buy dynamite at the feed store. Common sense was the rule, and the store owner knew that farmer John just needed a few 1/4 sticks to clear stumps out of the back 40. When we got away from knowing our neighbors, we tried to put laws in the place of common sense.
    I have a book of regulations to follow to store a gallon of paint thinner on a construction site. Inspected at the whim of OSHA with large fines attached for non-compliance.
    Some folks see firearms as dangerous as dynamite. They should educate themselves or stay out of other folk's business.

    To paraphrase Thoreau,' one occupation that is full is DOING GOOD. If I met someone intent upon doing good to me I would run away as fast as I can.' Some folks want to do their good to you whether you want it or not. The reporter is one of these.

    I raised 2 children. Firearms still are stored in the closet or on the nightstand. At 14 years old my wife told my son to use a coaster while at his desk in his room doing homework. He grabbed the closest usable object, a plastic box full of 9mm reloads, and that was his coaster until he moved out on his own.

    We need to stop trying to legislate common sense and start requiring that folks apply it or face the consequences. A firearm inside my unlocked front door is secure.
  13. FAS1

    FAS1 Active Member

    Jul 2, 2009
    San Antonio, TX
    We (TX) are 1 of the few states that require storing your gun where it is not accessible to children. It does place some liability on the gun owners if a child finds an unsecured gun and harms themselves or someone else, but I have never heard of someone being charged with anything if their gun is stolen from a locked home or vehicle. TX also doesn't get involved with safe storage standards like CA DOJ does.

  14. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Senior Member

    Feb 27, 2011
    If "secure storage" is mandated, the next step is random police inspections to make sure guns are secured (as they have in England now). Make no mistake -- this is another insidious tactic of the antigunners. Harass gun owners to the point where more and more of them give up on guns.
  15. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Mentor

    Mar 18, 2009
    Central Arkansas
    You will find that the vast majority of us here agree with you.
    I think it is a little different when talking about children, guns and negligence, but it would certainly be insane for a burglar to break in and steal something, then the homeowner get into legal trouble because he "allowed" the burglar to steal certain things.
  16. Pizzapinochle

    Pizzapinochle member

    Jul 25, 2013
    I don't really think you would be happy with your "applied to all objects" idea.
  17. Wyatt

    Wyatt New Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palmer, AK
    I don't think if someone enters my house illegally, I should in any way be liable for their actions henceforth! To me, a locked or unlocked house makes no difference! They have already committed one crime and now it is my responsibility to keep them from committing further ones?
  18. fshnfvr

    fshnfvr New Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    I agree with all of the comments. As a gun owner with no children, in a very "nice" neighborhood I never even had the thought cross my mind that I would have guns stolen. When it did happen I was treated like the criminal by my local police. They couldn't fathom that I didn't have a safe and now those cop killing devises where out on the streets.

    Never once did the police make negative remarks towards the thiefs only me for not "properly" securing my firearms. Since when is inside my locked house not properly secure. It still makes my blood boil.

    I now have a 700lb safe.
  19. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    Dec 14, 2005
    Stanwood, WA
    I'm curious...there a couple of posters who mention "if the door was locked"....

    Why is it necessary for me to take any steps in order to prevent the criminal act? Is it any less of a crime to enter my home or my car and steal an object if the doors were unlocked?

    (I do lock my doors, btw). "Well, sir, you did not take 'reasonable precautions' to prevent that burglar from entering your home." Really?
  20. scythefwd

    scythefwd Senior Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Manassas Park, VA
    I already do more than they would require for gun storage. My view is this though.. I have toddlers and light triggers.. if they found a loaded gun (only good gun is a loaded one) and popped off a round, it would very much be my fault. Yes, they should know, but they dont always listen. Should you be requried to if you dont have those concerns.. of course not. There isnt a commercial safe that I cant get into in a matter of 20-30 minutes if I'm left alone with it.. ok, maybe a few but nothing under 2k for the most part. There may be a rare exception. Most safes I can cut in half in about 5-10 minutes... As long as you have powertools, no safe is really SAFE anyways.

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