October 31, 2012

Gun Storage Tips

Dr. Ignatius Piazza recommends having a gun safe or multiple gun safes for all your guns.

By Dr. Ignatius Piazza, Front Sight Founder and Director, www.frontsight.com

I recommend that you have a gun safe to place your guns in. I do know people who have guns stashed all over the house in desk drawers, closets, under the bed, between the mattress and boxspring, in the garage, up in the attic, down in the basement, in the medicine cabinet, etc. Although this provides you with easy access to a gun anywhere in the house, THIS IS CRAZY. You are just asking to lose your guns to a home burglary or have a tragic accident if the neighbor's kid finds a gun in your house when you are not there.

In your house you can carry a gun! You don't need to stash them. So have a gun safe or multiple gun safes for all your guns and carry a handgun in your house and on your property. If you cannot obtain a concealed weapon permit, then have a lock box or safe that you place your carry gun in when you exit your house. When you return home, grab your gun out of your lock box and carry it with you while home and on your property.

So what should you do with your gun when you remove your gun to take a shower, use the toilet, or go to bed?

This is a serious topic that when discussed among experts who have been carrying guns for years reveals some shocking and tragic stories that I want you to avoid.

Let's be clear that your gun is safe and no danger to anyone who does not need to be shot when the gun is on your person in your holster. THAT is where your gun should be except when you are showering or sleeping.

What about when you go to the bathroom?

If your gun is in a holster attached to your belt, keep it there. When you pull up your pants, the gun will still be there. Where you get into trouble is when you are not using a holster and set your gun aside in the bathroom. THIS is at least an embarrassment and at worst a tragedy waiting to happen. Do people leave guns in bathrooms? ALL THE TIME simply because they set their gun aside rather than keeping it in the holster or (if not wearing a holster) placing it on top of their dropped trousers between their legs.

You won't forget your gun if you are looking at it when you begin to pull up your pants. I know this sounds ridiculous. I can't imagine how someone can be so preoccupied as to forget their gun in a bathroom but it happens all the time. Private citizens, law enforcement, and government agents leave their guns in hotels, airports, and restaurants on a regular basis. I personally know of a big name instructor (no longer associated with Front Sight) who left his gun in a bathroom and the gun was found by a child 10 minutes later. After thoroughly chastising to all involved, the next week, it happened again! DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.

The result of your carelessness will cost you and can be tragic.

What about when you are in the shower or bath? That's why they make stainless steel guns! Seriously, if you are in an occupation where your life is in danger 24/7, a stainless steel 38 special with lacquer dipped cartridges might be a good companion to your soap on a rope. If not, then your gun should be hidden, but within arms reach after exiting the shower.

This leads us to discuss what to do with your gun when going to bed.

Here is what you DO NOT want to do:

Do not place your gun with a round in the chamber under your pillow._Do not place your gun with a round in the chamber between the mattress._Do not place your gun with a round in the chamber on the nightstand.

Why?

Because you may unknowingly shoot yourself in the head or shoot your bed partner or shoot a family member.

Because you may wake up to a loud bang with a smoking gun in your hand.

There have been cases where such tragedies have occurred and the accused defense was, "It was an accident!"

I never believed it to be an accident until I started asking other gun trainers if they had ever personally experienced it or knew of people waking up to a "bang" and having a smoking gun in their hand. ASTONISHINGLY IT IS MORE COMMON THAN I EVER IMAGINED (yet never talked about for obvious reasons).

In all cases that I have been made aware of, the situation occurred when the person was dreaming and their loaded gun was in very close proximity to them.

The way to prevent this from happening is to keep your gun just out of arms reach with an empty chamber, hammer down, and full magazine in the gun. That way you cannot, in a dream state, fire the gun by just picking it up and pressing the trigger. You would have to recognize the gun was not loaded and cycle the action to chamber a round. If you feel you would complete all those actions in a dream, then you should have the gun in a lock box next to the bed that requires you to open the box to retrieve the gun.

Which leads into my next recommendation on lock boxes. If you are not going to carry a gun with you ALL THE TIME, then you should have several lock boxes around your house that store a handgun and easily open by pressing five buttons in a preset "combination" fashion. V-Line makes a good model that will bolt under your desk at work, or install in a drawer on your nightstand or can be placed in your bathroom, or simply slid under your bed.

When you are not carrying your gun, place it, loaded, in the lock box. It will be safe from accident or theft and the time it takes to press the five buttons in proper sequence and retrieve the gun is not much slower than presenting the weapon from a concealed holster.