It’s an unfortunate fact that in any large population of gun owners, a certain small percentage of them either won’t know enough or refuse to store their firearms responsibly. The results of which are often devastating. Some Armed Intelligentsia members have accused us of being anti-cop for pointing out failures by police officers to follow basic gun-handling and safety procedures. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have virtually endless respect for people that put their lives on the line to keep their fellow citizens safe. But when those entrusted with firearms and the use of deadly force fail to secure their guns, it’s a big deal. Especially when…

It results in the death of one of their own children.

The boy, Daniel Metz, climbed on top of a plastic laundry basket and retrieved the .40-caliber handgun from the top dresser drawer before shooting himself once in the head.

Officer Ryan Metz routinely stored the handgun out of reach inside a bedroom closet. But on Tuesday, Ryan Metz put the gun in the dresser drawer because he was scheduled to work a shift in private security after finishing his afternoon shift for Maryland Heights.

No, it really doesn’t get any more tragic than this. I can’t imagine what the Metz family is going through and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. But as RF has said a number of times, there are really only two places for your handgun. On your hip or in a safe. That’s something a police officer shouldn’t have to learn this way.

And no, you don’t need a big heavy expensive safe. You can keep your handgun(s) in a smaller, affordable unit that’s still childproof. Many of which will fit in a dresser or nightstand drawer. As for long guns, there are plenty of inexpensive options that will keep them out of the hands of those who shouldn’t touch them. Securing your gun is part of the responsibility of ownership. Not securing it just isn’t worth the risk.

14 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Officer Ryan Metz

  1. Tragic. If you have little ones, you have to expect them to be curious and get into everything.

  2. True. But for the people living alone without children I don’t see any reason they wouldn’t want to keep their nightstand gun within reach while they sleep.

    But for anyone with children, other family members, or even those sneaky polydactyl cats… a safe is a must have investment.

  3. Amen to your statement that there are many inexpensive options for handguns. One example is the Nanovault by Gunvault (http://www.thegunsource.com/category/3033-NanoVault_Gun_Storage_Solutions.aspx), which can be had for less than $40. It isn’t the type of solution that would keep a criminal from simply picking up the entire box and walking off with it, but it is perfect for keeping small hands safely away.

    Seriously — if you want to keep your loaded weapon in a dresser drawer, at least lock it up in said drawer.

  4. A slightly more secure option for bedroom access is a V-Line “between the wall studs” vault – opens with 5 push button combination that you set , and you can set it to open with any combination. Costs about $200 and fits between 16″ on center wall studs. Holds 2 fairly large handguns, or you can buy the long-gun version for a substantial increase in price.

    MY wall stud spacing was, of course, 24″, so there was a large amount of cursing and screaming while I was trying to attach 2×4 spacers to the sides of the studs inside the opening, without enlarging the hole through the sheetrock more than the opening that would be covered by the safe. Took about 3 hours of increasing frustration. Your results may vary, up to and including apoplexy.

    AS a crabby old bachelor, I place my nighttime defense gun in a holster that rides on a plastic gizmo that is sandwiched between the mattress and box spring. If anyone visits my house with kids in tow, I either lock them (the kids) outside on the porch, or put my ready-access guns in the V-Line. I tend to discourage visits from ankle-biters.

  5. this cop is a disgrace and essentially set the stage for his own kid’s demise, but i am confused, was the kid trying to commit suicide? how does one accidentally discharge a weapon into you own crown?

    • Easy, the best vantage point for seeing what happens when you pull the trigger is looking down the barrel. Of course, this is a case of natural selection at work.

      I know my 4 year old is into guns, I know if he ever found one of mine bad things would happen, so I have safes on every floor and the guns go in there under lock when not on my hip or in my pocket. I also Am trying to teach him gun safety, but my wife and her “let’s not spoil his innocence” speach is getting in the way, i just hope I never have to tell her I told you so.

  6. The other unfortunate thing that did not happen is that he left a LIVE firearm within reach without securing it (unloading) in any way. Never EVER set a loaded firearm down and just walk off!

    Perhaps LEOs get so used to their guns that they stop thinking about them.

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