By Tom Kubiniec
June’s gun sales statistics skyrocketed 136% percent over 2019 numbers. Over 2.1 million guns were sold in June alone. Notably, 40 percent of these sales are to first-time buyers. This record pace of firearms sales has been fueled first by COVID-19 and now by the rioting and civil unrest.
This surge is due to hundreds of thousands of Americans who, for the first time in their lives, are concerned about personal safety and home defense. They are turning to firearms and thinking about the use of deadly force, if necessary.
Until recently, most Americans felt safe in their day-to-day lives, and for good reason. America is, on the whole, a very safe place. There are three main reasons: We as citizens respect the Constitution, the rights of others, and the law. Problems occur when even one of these pillars breaks down. Current events indicate a breakdown of all three.
We see this unfolding right now in cities across the country. Rioting and violence has replaced peaceful protest. Many city officials are blaming the police. If not dealt with by the authorities, the result could be a prolonged period of escalating violence in America.
So what can you do to increase your safety and defensive capability?
The Outside of Your Home
Does your home look like an easy target? Bad guys always take the path of least resistance.
For example, who is the bigger target for a thief: the man standing tall and paying attention to his surroundings, or the guy with his head buried in his phone as he walks? It will always be the guy with his head buried in his phone.
You need to look at your home the same way, through the eyes of a criminal. Motion-activated lights, low shrubbery around windows, a solid door and a video doorbell put you a lot lower on the list of possible targets.
Inside Your Home
If bad guys break into your home, the best strategy is barricading in a defensible position, calling the police, and waiting. If you are forced to take action, your chances of success are better when you let the fight come to you. That’s how you stay in control. If your strategy is to move through your home to find and eliminate threats, you have hurt your odds of success. You are moving into unknown situations.
When considering defensible positions, look at room entry points and furniture. The bad guy(s) should have to enter through an exposed position to find you.
Take, for example, my master bedroom:
I am armed, kneeling beside the bed. The bed is between me and the door. My upper body is over the bed with my rifle pointed at the door. Right hand is on the grip. Left hand is on the fore-grip with a finger ready to push the button on the barrel-mounted Surefire light.
My wife is located in the bathroom behind me, outside the line of fire, calling 911. In this scenario, I am in control of the situation in the room. My wife stays on with 911 dispatch and we wait.
Decentralize Your Gun Storage
As it turns out, the best places to store firearms for home defense purposes are also the best places to store them in order to prevent theft.
If you own a single firearm and do not intend to carry it when you are at home, consider three small, fast-access gun safes or cabinets. Locate one in your master bedroom, one in the kitchen, and one in the den or living room.
When you get up in the morning, bring the firearm down and secure it in the kitchen safe for the day. If you are going to spend a significant amount of time in the den, move the firearm to the safe in the den. Your firearm is always secure and you will never be more than a few steps away from it in the case of an emergency.
If you own several firearms or a large collection, decentralized storage is far better than a big, heavy safe in the basement or on display in the living room.
Store one or two firearms in a single safe under your bed in the master bedroom. No more than that. The master bedroom is the prime target for thieves.
The kitchen pantry is a great location for a small cabinet. This is a room people spend a lot of time in during the day. In the event of a home invasion, if you are in the kitchen, you will have quick access to a firearm. From a security standpoint, kitchens are typically ignored by thieves.
A closet near the front door of your home is also a good location for a gun cabinet. Thieves tend to ignore closets like this. If someone you do not trust is at your front door and tries to force themselves in, you will have fast access to firearms.
In your home office or den, put a small fast-access handgun safe in a desk drawer, or in a cabinet or closet. Do not store a lot of guns in the den. This room is a prime target for thieves.
A guest room with a closet is a great location for a large collection. Thieves tend to ignore guest rooms. They look in, see a made bed, a bedside table with nothing on it and nothing else in the room, and move on. A guest bedroom, preferably at the end of a hallway, can also be a good safe room. In the event of a crisis, you and your family can meet in this room. You have access to firearms, and the hallway provides a tight shooting lane if the bad guys attempt to get to you.
If you do not own a firearm, is buying one the right thing for you?
Simply owning a firearm does not make you safer. In some situations it can actually put you at greater risk. The ability to defend yourself and your loved ones depends more on proper training and practice than on the type of gun you buy. Handguns require the most training. If your opportunities to practice are limited, first-time buyers should consider a shotgun or semi-automatic rifle, as these are much easier to operate.
Tom Kubiniec is President and CEO of SecureIt Tactical, the primary supplier to the US military for weapons storage systems and armory design. SecureIt also specializes in lightweight, fast-access civilian gun storage solutions. How you store guns directly affects their performance, your safety, and the ability to defend yourself in a crisis situation.