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This series has never shied away from the ugly truth that good people do stupid things with guns. These irresponsible gun owners represent a small percentage of all gun owners, and they come from all walks of life. Simple math tells us that the more any particular group interacts with firearms, the higher the likelihood that one of its members will fall afoul of firearms safety, storage or handling. Hunters, for example. And cops. The idea that members of the po-po are better with guns and gun safety than enthusiasts is a popular misconception. Far too many times, familiarity breeds complacency. And then bad things happen, as reports . . .

Time and time again, Officer David Blake [above] tried to help out his girlfriend’s little brother, a diminutive high school dropout with a troubled past and, reportedly, gang ties, authorities said.

Upon visiting Blake’s home on the Southwest Side to watch football in October, Bernard Williams was given the grand tour, peeking through bedrooms and closets. Blake, a 45-year-old SWAT officer, was even comfortable enough to let Williams, 18, see his gun collection, which was kept inside a bedroom safe, authorities said.

You can guess what happened next . . .

The plan . . . included luring Blake to a secluded area, killing him, then stealing keys to the officer’s house and safe. Williams would then clean out the safe and sell the weapons on the street, prosecutors said.

Blake was fatally shot on Nov. 22 in his sport utility vehicle on an unpaved alley on the Southwest Side known as “Dead Man’s Alley.”

But Williams, who reputedly is a member of the Gangster Disciples street gang, never got the chance to steal the guns, because when he arrived at Blake’s home after the shooting, police were already there, authorities said.

A responsible gun owner does not show his or her gun stash to anyone. Especially strangers and people with dubious social connections. While thieves are responsible for their own actions, Blake’s killer must pay for abusing the officer’s generosity, there’s no reason to aid their immorality. And every reason not to.

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  1. Robert, this is not the first time that I have heard you say to keep one’s gun collection a secret. I have always wondered how you balance that with the somewhat social nature of the gun culture. And while I don’t go around listing my entire firearms collection to everyone I meet, I definitely enjoy talking with people about guns and guns I have shot. Maybe this topic deserves its own post, but I am curious as to how you would balance these two desires.

    • Best case scenario: keep your collection a secret. After that, I reckon you should share limited amounts of information with a carefully considered “inner circle.” But no one needs to know exactly how many guns you have and where you keep them. Be especially wary of gun dealers, antique dealers and insurance people. They’ve been known to funnel info from boastful gun owners to bad guys. I know of one thief who’d gather intel from a gun dealer, break into owners’ homes, tie up the residents, beat them senseless (for fun mostly) and steal their guns and valuables.

  2. Lance, you speak truth. People who are really into guns, so to speak, like talking about them. Especially guys. I think that accounts for at least half the pleasure of ownership.

  3. I like talking about guns and show mine at the range, but nobody but my GF (who lives with me) knows where the safe is or what’s in there. I don’t use my full name when I write for TTAG and you won’t see my face anywhere on the web. Call me security conscious or paranoid, but I think that concealed means concealed — from everyone.

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