NSSF Helping Gun Stores Shore Up Security Measures Against Theft

By John Bocker, NSSF Security Consultant Team Member

Summertime is usually a time of the year when employees and customers alike take time off to vacation and find some mid-year relaxation. It’s also a time when many retail businesses take advantage of the slower pace to gear up and get ready for the vibrant fall and holiday seasons. If you’re in the firearms business, it’s the lull before the great hunting season storm!

Now before you get excited about the robust business that lies ahead, keep in mind that the bad guys also realize you are stocking up for the quickly approaching excitement. Because of this, your facility and inventory security become more important than ever as you stock up on firearms.

Physical Security Checklist

Following is a simple 21-point checklist that you can use as a self-assessment to survey your physical security program and take steps to shore-up your protection where necessary. As we continue to evaluate physical security deterrents and efficiencies, I’d like to remind you that the more layers of protection out have in place the better the chances you slow or may even defeat the criminals attempting to break-in. This layering is critical on your part, as it allows law enforcement the time necessary to respond to your break-in alarm. So, let’s start with a walk around your facility — and a view for what the criminals are examining when they’re casing your store for a break-in:

1. Are physical walls constructed of materials that prevent easy access? Recent trends show vandals cutting through drywall in tenant locations adjacent to the break-in target. If you have vulnerabilities, installing an interior plywood or slatwall barrier can be a deterent. Placing steel upright shelving, storage cabinets and gun safe backstock against vulnerable walls can also serve as a deterent.

2. Are security bollards, landscape boulders or heavily weighted planters installed at main points of entry and vulnerable areas of the building to protect against smash-and-grab vehicle breaches?

3. Are exposed windows and glass doors protected with burglar bars or roll-down security gates or grills?

4. Is glass laminated or protected with Lexan or other protective coating installed by a professional service vendor?

5. Are intrusion detections systems tested quarterly and all devices working with confirmation from your central alarm monitoring station?
6. Does your alarm system sound a loud, audible siren both internally and externally to alert vandals and locals of a security breach?

7. Are backup batteries for your alarm and camera systems holding a charge to keep your protection systems running for at least eight hours? (Note: You may have to request these be tested by professional service personnel.)

8. Are your interior lights interfaced with your alarm system to turn on and provide illumination to your building’s interior for police, passersby and your security cameras to see? Remember, bad guys like to work under cover of darkness.

9. Do your security cameras see in low light? Most cameras now come equipped with low-light sensitivity LEDs that provide good visual evidence for law enforcement when evening crimes are committed.

10. Does your security video recording system store crisp and clear video for at least 14 days to be used to investigate criminal activity, missing guns and inventory, etc?

11. Has an authorized staff member validated that your video system is recording properly by retrieving and downloading video from the last 30 days? This should be a monthly test to ensure your system is recording and storing video properly. Test by retrieving video from several cameras and from various days.

12. Inspect all exterior locks, hinges and door jambs for signs of prying, scratches on door jambs and latches, anything unusual.

13. Are exterior building and parking area lights all working properly and serving to deter after-hours vandalism and criminal activity?

14. Are all access points to the roof protected against unauthorized access?

15. Have keys and alarm access codes been removed, deleted or changed pursuant to anyone separating from the company?

16. Are long guns cabled and locked in place overnight or moved to secure storage?

17. Are handguns protected in smash-resistant showcases or moved to secure storage overnight?

18. Are utilities to the building, including telephone, internet, electrical and other dedicated alarm lines, protected or otherwise shielded from vandals?

19. Is appropriate signage installed to ward off criminals, including references to security cameras, burglar alarms (including your alarm company’s vendor-provided decals) and ATF signs warning against theft of firearms from an FFL?

Additional Security Tactics

In addition to looking at your store through the eyes of a criminal, consider implementing the following two tactics:

1. Meet with your senior leadership staff to review critical incident response and potential crisis management concerns relative to your region. You can’t work to stop what you don’t understand or don’t realize is happening.

2. Have you conducted a firearms inventory to identify, investigate and report any missing firearms? The more frequently you do this the better able you are to retrieve relevant video, alert law enforcement and ATF and deal with the repercussions. Depending on the size of your business consider doing an inventory on a semiannual or quarterly basis.

NSSF’s Store Security Audit team is standing by to assist you with any physical or operational security issue you may have. For more information, visit the Retailers section of the nssf.org site. NSSF also partners with a variety of security product vendors. Log in to the members-only side of nssf.org to discover more.

 

This post originally appeared at nssf.org and is republished her with permission.

comments

  1. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “3. Are exposed windows and glass doors protected with burglar bars or roll-down security gates or grills?”

    Better make those burglar bars on the *inside*, protected by thick Lexan replacing the window glass…

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Goeff PR,

      I had the same thought about burglar bars on the inside to prevent thieves from using pickup trucks and chains to simply yank the bars off the outside of the building. And then it occurred to me that burglars could use the same truck with a 4×6 post as a battering ram to knock inside burglar bars into the store.

      Unless a store installs outrageously thick polycarbonate window panes which are seriously embedded into a thick reinforced concrete wall, thieves will easily breach it with a pickup truck.

      This leads me to think that gun store windows should be so narrow that thieves would be unable to fit their bodies through the openings even if there were no glass or polycarbonate window panes. Unfortunately that sucks from an aesthetic perspective.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        You have a point on that.

        A common length of 4×4 is about 12 feet, and that will kill parking…

  2. avatar Terclinger says:

    Alligators
    Tear gas bombs
    24 hour armed guards, shoot the robbers and track down their families.

    1. avatar Lost Down South says:

      I was thinking similar things. Cull the heard.

  3. avatar RCC says:

    After over 20 years in the alarm and CCTV business I am still amazed by the lack of planning for any security in most retail stores until at least the second break in.

    Fairly easy to put extra bars in walls, wiring for cameras etc in at the building stage but rarely done. Most projects plan more for the landscaping than security.

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    Armed personnel could protect the goods, but there’s no mention of that by the NSSF. Why? Is the NSSF afraid of armed men?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Are you personally volunteering to provide those guard duties, Ralph?

      1. avatar Joe3 says:

        VOLUNTEEER?

        How about hiring unemployed Vets at security guard wages, but paying a bounty for every gun-store robber W or KIA (body must be inside, no drag marks…)

    2. avatar BLoving says:

      Dunno what kinda shop you dream of working in but mine sure isn’t a 24-hour, seven days a week gun store. If I didn’t go home at the end of the day, how would I have time to come hang out here with y’all?

  5. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    It is pretty difficult to stop thieves when they will use trucks to breach windows, doors, and walls. Short of having VERY thick reinforced concrete walls AND out-of-this-world security windows/doors, thieves are going to get in when they use 4,000 pound vehicles as battering rams or high velocity/mass tow cables.

    I see no use in installing bars over windows. All a thief has to do is run a chain from a pickup truck to the bars and hit the gas pedal. (No matter how you attach those bars to the building, 4,000 pounds of momentum and a strong chain WILL yank them from the building.)

    The only possible way that I can begin to imagine to stop thieves from using vehicles to breach the building is to have an outer perimeter wall of 18 inch thick reinforced concrete or huge boulders.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “I see no use in installing bars over windows.”

      Neither do I. 🙂

      (I’m often guilty of missing comments, myself…)

    2. avatar Terclinger says:

      a/ Armed guards all night long.

      http://americansheepdog.com/Forum/printthread.php?s=53f05c1f5c2734be0c4fd814ccd57058&t=1436&pp=10&page=1

      b/ 25 years mandatory prison for sale of a stolen firearm.

      c/ Life imprisonment for breaking into a gun store.

  6. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    Besides the on-premise DVR, have a system to store images off-site as well.

    On-premise DVRs will be taken or smashed.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “On-premise DVRs will be taken or smashed.”

      100 percent correct.

      To defeat that, have two systems, one obvious, the other very well-hidden.

      WiFi camera systems are good for that, no wires to follow back to the hidden recorder… 🙂

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    As far as I can tell only one LGS has “maybe” adequate security. Sliding steel blockade,fortified exterior and a pooch for fun. A rash of gun thefts in Chicagoland and NW Indiana. Some are downright pathetic. My former favorite has MANY gun safes for sale. One would surmise they could store some guns instead of letting homie merely break some glass. AND the po-leece station is directly across the street…

    1. avatar Kyle says:

      Sadly, the margins on guns are pretty slim. most LGS can’t afford 75% of the things listed. But its a nice list. Even in the days of Obama

  8. avatar Ben says:

    That’s the store at work at (from the picture), we lock everything up at night so they didn’t get anything. Of course it’s in California, the 10 day waiting period worked really well. They where caught the next day in Stockton (about an two hours away).

  9. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

    Security is an onion, not an egg.

    Poseur’s Law

  10. avatar Geoff says:

    9. Do your security cameras see in low light? Most cameras now come equipped with low-light sensitivity LEDs that provide good visual evidence for law enforcement when evening crimes are committed.

    I think you mean a CCD Image Sensor. LEDs make light, not detect it.

  11. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    Good heavens. If all that is necessary, it would seem counterproductive to have a gun store in that environment.

    Our only gun shop here has none of that stuff. Never been a break-in attempt there either. The man who owns it lives behind the shop, with a couple of very useful German Shepherds. Oh, and he’s armed at all times. I can’t remember the last break-in of any kind. Or robbery, or much of anything else. The few crooks here are actually smarter than the average bear… and just about everyone is armed, one way or another.

    He does lock the doors after business hours, but that only helps keep honest people honest.

  12. avatar Joe R. says:

    I think the lesson here is long-term.

    Once this situation (if it can be) is ‘cured’, then thieves may be attempting to do the same to your house to get guns.

    And, it could happen whenever.

    Any day could just be a bright sunny day, until you have to unleash hell on someone. And that, my friends, has not, and will not, change.

  13. avatar Soylent Green says:

    This is more like what they need

    https://youtu.be/e3QCDc5PAlo

  14. avatar It'sa me Vinny says:

    10. Does your security video recording system store crisp and clear video for at least 14 days to be used to investigate criminal activity, missing guns and inventory, etc?

    Pulling video for criminal cases is half of my job. Have multiple people trained on how to operate and extract video from your system. Electronic storage is cheap most business should have 30days of on-site and remote backups. Camera placement is also important. Place height tape on the door and consider placing some cameras at eye level. You’d be surprised at how many burglars don’t directly cover their face and just shield their face from above. Install exterior cameras with sufficient resolution to clearly and cleanly provide license plates and vehicle descriptions to law enforcement.

  15. avatar Phantom Rider says:

    10. Does your security video recording system store crisp and clear video for at least 14 days to be used to investigate criminal activity, missing guns and inventory, etc?

    Pulling video for criminal cases is half of my job. Have multiple people trained on how to operate and extract video from your system. Electronic storage is cheap most business should have 30days of on-site and remote backups. Camera placement is also important. Place height tape on the door and consider placing some cameras at eye level. You’d be surprised at how many burglars don’t directly cover their face and just shield their face from above. Install exterior cameras with sufficient resolution to clearly and cleanly provide license plates and vehicle descriptions to law enforcement.

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