The civilian disarmament industrial complex has taken to highlighting “irresponsible” gun owners who leave firearms in their cars — only to have them (the guns) stolen and used by criminals. Cops too! In response, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has produced a Firearms Safety in Vehicles. Among its recommendations . . .
– When finished using your firearm outside your vehicle, unload it before you re-enter your vehicle.
– Even after a long hunt or a day in the sun at the range, always check, and then double check, that guns are unloaded before placing them in a car or truck.
There’s nothing wrong with the NSSF’s general advice for safe storage of a firearm in a vehicle. Especially their warning to “Never leave firearms in an area of the vehicle where they are accessible to children or pets.”
But their advice completely ignores the fact that millions of Americans keep a loaded gun in their car for emergencies.
To wit: there’s a whole industry dedicated to quick-access car/SUV/truck holsters for loaded handguns and yes rifles too. Which only a small percentage of Americans use; they generally throw their handgun in the center console or glove box when leaving their car.
What percentage of gun owner lock their guns in their glove box is unknown. But, if you put away political correctness, telling gun owners to lock their handgun in the glove box (some cars lock it via central locking) would prevent more thefts than expecting gun owners to buy, secure and use a task-specific gun safe.
This doesn’t solve the “Daddy’s running into the store for a minute kids” problem — exacerbated by the large number of retail “gun free zones.” The only answer there: don’t do it. Don’t leave your gun in a car with unsupervised children. Pets? Uh . . .
While we’re looking at practical solutions, gun owners should also be advised to forgo/remove pro-gun stickers from their car. Yes, well, the NRA would have a cow if the NSSF went down that road.
It’s easy to understand why the NSSF chose to leave the “loaded gun in the car for self-defense” thing alone. But it’s also true that any effective solution to gun thefts from vehicles should consider the truth about guns: how they’re used and stored in vehicles and what changes the average gun owner is willing to make.