Ohio School Has 30 Loaded Guns in Fingerprint Safes

A gun is either on your hip or in a safe. That’s the advice this website gives gun owners to prevent potentially tragic unauthorized access. Like all safety rules, that one has a bunch of caveats. For example, a gun on your hip is better than a gun in a safe if you need it quickly. And never assume that a gun in a safe prevents unauthorized access; teach all children firearms safety. So when I read [via daytondailynews.com] that Sidney City, Ohio schools has “placed 30 loaded hand guns strategically around its seven school buildings in a locked in a box that can only be opened by a fingerprint” I thought . . .

that’s not ideal.

For one thing, if you’re going to stash firearms in a school for teachers, administrators and other non-gunnies to take out an active shooter,  a rifle is a FAR better choice. They’re easier to run and significantly more accurate over a longer distance. They hold more ammo.

Now back to those caveats . . .

A fingerprint safe does not guarantee security. Kids are smart. People make mistakes. Connect the dots. If the gun safes are stout and live in supervised locations, OK. But then again, no. At the risk of repeating myself (and giving the antis ammo), assuming that a safe will keep a child from gaining access to a gun is an inherently flawed strategy. There’s no substitute for teaching children firearms safety.

As the teacher in the above video states, the safest place for a firearm is when it’s “in physical possession.” Safest in terms of preventing unauthorized access and safest in terms of having the gun instantly available when the s hits the f. As we’ve seen time and time again, active shooter events are nasty, brutish and short. It’s better to have a gun to run to when you need one than not, but it’s better to have the gun in your hand sooner rather than later.

[Logan County Ohio Superintendent Scott] Mann said he wouldn’t support having teachers carrying concealed firearms.

“I do not want guns on teachers in the classroom,” Mann said. “I think that’s one of the worst safety plans you can have.”

Wrong. [h/t gunssavelives.net]


  1. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Better than nothing. A combination RFID card and 4 digit pin would probably be faster and more secure than a fingerprint.

    As far as rifle vs handgun, aren’t I always reading on this site that handguns are better if you need to have one hand free, like calling 911, maneuvering in hallways and through doorways, opening/closing doors, or moving scared kids? What would a teacher need to be doing during an active shooting, again? Oh, right.

    1. avatar John L. says:

      Plusses and minuses on the rifle vs pistol thing, and the access method. I’m just happy to see a start that’s not completely stupid.

      Nice avatar, by the way – is that new? Or did my browser just not show it before?

      1. avatar Vhyrus says:

        It’s new. Just picked it up this morning.

        Wait…. is that a scratch? Dammit! I haven’t even paid it off yet!

        1. avatar John L. says:

          Yeah, but on the bright side, now you don’t have “pre-first ding stress syndrome” anymore… 😉

        2. avatar jwm says:

          I keep full coverage insurance on mine.

    2. avatar Scottlac says:

      “Better than nothing”?

      Not if it’s one of these safes. And I know a few more ways to beat fingerprint scanners.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        On those cheap-ass Wal-Mart safes, you are correct.

        I envision something along the lines of 3 inch thick stainless steel buried in a ton of rebar reinforced concrete. Keypads like the ones on ATMs or public telephones.

        If we put our minds on it, we could make one damn tough.

        Probably cost 20 thou each.

        As a taxpayer, I’d be OK on the 20 thou per school.

        Kids are worth far more than that.

        1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          Even cheaper though is teachers, those that choose to, cc-ing.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Yeah, but you have a lot better chance with the safe being authorized than teacher carry.

          BREAKING – 12:26 EST

          Toys-r-Us being looted, Family Dollar on fire.

          Auto Tire being looted.

          Lots of calls about burglar alarms being set off.

    3. avatar Esemwy says:

      Google “gummy bear hack”.

  2. avatar Timmy! says:

    While I agree this is a step in the right direction… sort of, I also see this as a tragedy waiting to happen. I have already thought of a way an unauthorized kid could get an authorized “fingerprint” and defeat the safe. I’m not going to say how, but if I thought of it, some snot nosed kid has as well.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      Depending on the safe it is actually quite easy. If someone accesses the safe and doesn’t wipe the reader afterward, usually you can press a warm gummy bear or eraser on the reader and it will pick up the old print.

      1. avatar JasonM says:

        Or some sales guy might have financially incentivized the bureaucrat okaying the purchase to take 30 of the junky safes he has that pop open from twisting a bic pen in the backup keyhole.

  3. avatar Rick says:

    What if, in an active-shooter emergency, the first person to the gun safe is a substitute teacher?

    And I hope those safes are checked and inventoried daily; I’m sure some geek will figure out a way to open them and be long gone with the contents. Wouldn’t it be hilarious to reach into that safe in an emergency and find it empty??

  4. avatar SouthernPatriot says:

    I support our local public high school principal who offered his teachers a discount he negotiated on a state required gun safety course, which is the state requirement in order to received a CCP. He then further offered to pay the $40 fee for any of his teachers or staff that this cost would bring any hardship. The principal then encouraged all his teachers and staff to exercise their CCP rights while resident at the school. The principal approved his offer with our local elected school superintendent.

  5. avatar GuntotinDem says:

    its even on the interwebs


    Note: It’s ok to remove this post if it violates any “how to” Clause. Most safes Arent

  6. avatar Eric L says:

    I hope they’re better than the ones I have. The finger print scanner rarely works on the first try ( yes, my hands are clean and the scanner’s window is clean too). As far as breaking into them, they seem sturdy enough but I never tried to see how easy it would be as I am frustrated enough with them. At any rate, in my opinion, a lock or a safe is only a deterrent.

  7. avatar Hannibal says:

    In terms of security many fingerprint safes have a failsafe mechanical lock that is not terribly difficult to defeat.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    I don’t want teachers to have guns in school. Teachers can’t even teach, so I can’t imagine that they can handle guns safely or effectively.

    Here’s my suggestion to teachers. If you’re ever caught up in an active school shooting situation, call your union. I’m sure they’ll fix the problem right away.

  9. avatar Another Robert says:

    Lots of negativity here. I for one am pretty damn surprised that a school district in a non-Southern (we’re so backwards, you know) state has opted to make guns part of the solution rather than just demonizing them as the whole source of the problem.

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      You are confusing the BosWash corridor to the Mid-West. Try again, especially in that Indiana has less gun restrictions than many Dixie type states.

  10. avatar styrgwillidar says:

    Amen on also teaching kids basic gun safety. I learned with my son at a very early age that you can’t really child proof a house — you can only slow them down.

  11. avatar jwm says:

    This is a step in the right direction. A baby step, but a step. I would rather see armed people on site but this gets them pointed in the right direction.

  12. avatar Glenn says:

    Gun FREE zone, yo! That’s like open carry. How long will it take the “bad guys” looking for a free gat to make off w/a couple?

    1. avatar Gordon says:

      I keep reading this all the time about if you open carry someone is going to come up and take it from you. The only problem is I have never read of it actually happening to any of the people who actually open carry. (well except for the young guy who was carrying around an empty .22).

  13. avatar Scrubula says:

    Most fingerprint safes are NOT secure. There are videos on youtube showing just how easy it is to break into the most common of them (either mechanical or by copying the fingerprint).

    I would tend to agree with others. On the hip or locked unloaded. A home is a controlled environment where loaded guns not on person might make more sense but in a school, not so much. Besides, if the teacher isn’t willing to carry to protect their kids, they probably aren’t prepared to use the locked gun in an emergency either.

  14. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Well, at least this is a start. Yeah, I am sort of underwhelmed by the solution as well. Being familiar with Western Ohio, I will say that Sidney is hardly a liberal area of Ohio.

  15. avatar borg says:

    If a teacher or administrator is dead will the students need to drag the corpse to one of the safes hoping that his or her fingerprint will open the safe so the kids can defend themselves.

  16. avatar Grindstone says:

    I grew up near Sidney. If the teachers can’t get into the safes, they’ll probably just get the hunting shotgun they keep in the back of their truck.

    Next to the meth.

  17. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Someone needs to show the school administration the myriad videos that show how easy and fast someone can open those small safes.

  18. avatar rlc2 says:

    At least the administrator is giving his teachers a chance. Now someone just needs to get him a deal on a better gunvault safe, to be bolted in a metal desk drawer in classroom, or holsters, for the teachers option.

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