Gun Locks And Gun Safes: Sensible or Stupid?

Simply owning a gun is its own best use. Each year millions of crimes are prevented simply by the presence of a gun. The Bureau of Justice states that you have a 1-in-4 chance of being involved in a violent crime during your lifetime. So, in order to protect yourself, your family, and your property, you must own a gun. But ownership without proficiency is the same as owning a toaster.

You must spend time using your weapon of choice so that you know what to do when a random situation calls for the use of a firearm. Go to a firing range and learn how to use your gun.

There is a long debate in America about gun locks and gun safes. Some people hold the view that all guns should be locked in a gun safe, or that the gun should be disabled by using a locking mechanism that prevents the trigger from being engaged. They cite the number of children who are wounded or killed each year when they find a gun in their home and play with it. They also tell stories of victims who have had their gun taken away from them and used against them in a crime.

While that side of the debate sounds reasonable, it ignores reality. Gun ownership offers protection, even if the only reason you bought the gun is for sporting use. The truth is that in actual crimes, seconds count. Police show up in minutes or hours. So your personal safety and protection are YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. If you are forced to deal with an imminent threat of violent crime, fumbling with a gun lock or the key to your gun safe could easily cost you your life.

I am not against gun safes. I have my long guns in my gun safe. But my gun safe is used for storing valuables…my guns…not protecting us from ourselves. In the event of a burglary while no one’s here, the perps could not get my guns easily. I also have handguns that are kept in my home that are not in a safe. I’ve always heard it said that a handgun is what you use to protect yourself while you are on your way to get your rifle. That seems to be a good adage.

When I was a boy, my father had two guns, a .22 cal bolt action rifle and a 12 gauge shotgun. Both of these guns stood in the back of Dad’s closet, behind his hanging dress shirts. Dad told me as a very young boy not to touch the guns without him being present. Then, he took me out in the woods and SHOWED ME the destructive force of each gun by actually shooting something. The first thing that happened is that the sound of the gun going off scared me half to death. Then I got to see the hole that he shot clean through a piece of plywood with the tiny rifle bullet. I plugged my ears when the shotgun was fired, and my little eyes widened when I saw the big hole the shot made in that plywood.

Dad SHOWED me, and then DEMYSTIFIED the gun with examples. I loved guns as a kid and regularly strapped on my Fanner 50 pistols and played Cowboys. I became an expert shot with my Daisy BB rifle. But I never touched Dad’s guns without him being with me. Dad was always cool about allowing me to hold the guns with him by my side. And we went hunting together and used the guns.

I did the exact same thing with all three of my children, two sons and one daughter. We never had any problem with guns and children in my home.

So, I am on the other side of the debate. I believe that the way to prevent gun accidents with children is to teach them about guns. Let them hear a gun roar when it is discharged. Let them fire weapons in a safe environment. Take the romance and mystery out of guns by showing your children what guns can do. Respect flows from reality.

I also believe that disabling a firearm with some kind of lock could get you killed by a perpetrator who is not bothered by such nonsense. No matter what gun lock you might use, it slows down your response time in the very moment you need the gun.

So, I believe that all of the ordinances and laws passed that require gun owners to lock up their guns are based in stupidity. I’m not suggesting that you break the law. I’m just sayin’ that when reality is pitted against regulation, reality should seize the day.


2 Responses to Gun Locks And Gun Safes: Sensible or Stupid?

  1. Nancy says:

    It sounds like you have inherited and passed along a very healthy attitude about guns. There are other circumstances where guns that are not locked up that concern me. What about when children are too young to know? What about your kids friends that come over? What about when an intruder gets a hold of your gun and uses it in a later crime? There are gun safes available that offer quick and discrete access. It seems to me that a good way to go is to keep your handgun locked in a quick access safe that is in a convenient location. Or if you prefer, keep your rifle in a similar type of safe that is conveniently located. GunVault has a locking mechanism that allows quick, discrete access (easy to open in the dark) – might be worth considering.

    • russlongcore says:

      Nancy- I’m still a proponent of parental responsibility. I had friends over when I was a child and we never…not once…touched Dad’s guns. We train our kids to not play with butcher knives. How often do the neighbor kids come over and go for the knife drawer? Should the kitchen knives be in a safe, too? Safes should be for valuables, not protecting ourselves from ourselves.

      Thanks for writing, Russ

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