Home Gun Nation Pro Tip: Your Car is NOT a Gun Safe

Pro Tip: Your Car is NOT a Gun Safe

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A little reminder courtesy of the Columbus, Ohio Police Department . . .

“We are absolutely alarmed by the number of guns that are taken from cars that are parked and unoccupied,” said Sergeant James Fuqua of the Columbus Division of Police. 

“If you leave your gun in a car whether it’s locked or not and your car is broken into, you have contributed to the possibility of a criminal going out to commit a heinous act against someone else in the City of Columbus,” Fuqua said.

Don’t make thieves job easier . . .

Buckeye Firearms, a pro-gun lobby said, “Criminals don’t try to break into every car. They profile vehicles just like they profile potential victims on the street. They’re looking for an obvious and easy target. NRA decals on the window or gun-related bumper stickers are a clue that guns may be in the vehicle. Firearm accessories or hunting gear visible through the windows are also a tipoff. Where you park also matters. Don’t park on the street if you can, park in a garage or a secure lot. If you must park outside, park in a well-lit area. If you’re parking overnight, take all your valuables with you,” said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms. Let me break it down for you: your car is not a gun safe. And as the holiday season ramps up, cases of car windows being smashed and valuables being stolen are just going to keep rising. It’s easy to to break a window in your car, truck or SUV and take whatever a thief wants. And if you’ve left your gun in there, congratulations, you just armed a criminal.

Yeah, you’re also out a chunk of money for the gun itself, but personally I’d be more concerned about the firearm that’s now in the hands of someone who thinks crime is the way to fund their lifestyle.

If you’re in a situation where leaving your handgun in your vehicle is the only option, get a real safe. Hornady’s RAPiD Vehicle Safe is a legit option (I own a couple myself). The RAPiD has a 14-gauge steel housing, internal hardened locking lugs, and a steel cable that can be attached to a seat frame. It can be opened using a four-to-six digit programmable security code, one of the RFID wristbands or key fobs it ships with, or one of a pair of barrel keys. Power comes from either four AAA batteries or a 12-volt car adapter.

Is this the perfect solution? No, there is no perfect solution, but it is unlikely you’re going to run into a criminal doing a smash-and-grab while also carrying heavy-duty bolt cutters or some other tool that will give them access to the safe (if it’s properly installed).

That doesn’t mean you should leave a handgun in a gun safe in your car 24/7, either. The best place for your gun is in a proper holster on your gun belt, so carry your gun. When it’s not being carried, store it securely. If you’re at home, that’s going to be in your gun safe, not parked in your driveway in your car. Your car’s gun safe won’t do you much good if the entire car is stolen, will it?

Thus ends your friendly Your Car is Not a Gun Safe PSA.


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  1. And yet, idiots are eager to pass laws requiring me to take it out of my holster and leave it in my car at various places I go.

    • I have two safes in my 4Runner so I’m a bit shy of armored truck capability. However the one in the back for my longer guns will delay any snatch and grab type. That one awkward and heavysumbitch.
      I don’t leave anything in overnight and only use if I must.

  2. An infamous murder case in San Francisco involved a gun stolen from a federal officer’s car that was involved in a shooting that killed a young woman at the wharf. Apparently even fed LEOs were/are required to disarm to enter certain federal buildings, and had to leave their weapons in their cars. Those cares were then targeted for smash and grab burglaries.
    I HATE the thought of leaving a firearm in a car, and I do not trust the small safes much either. It is easy enough to have small bolt cutters to cut the cable, and from what I understand, it is not very difficult to overcome a barrel lock. The only reasonably secure gun safe is one bolted to the body/frame of your vehicle, preferably in the trunk.

    • “I HATE the thought of leaving a firearm in a car, and I do not trust the small safes much either.”

      The same, and I don’t like it, but I keep a cable lock around a seat post for the rare time I’m at a location I need to walk away from it. Crap, that’s the very spot a thief would watch… 🙁

    • did that involve an ill eagle ail leeyan (moderation nation) who was supposed to have been deported?

    • That federal l.e.o. wasn’t going into the federal courthouse. I understand that she was jogging and didn’t want to take the firearm on her run. That was a travesty. The shooter who “found the gun laying in the street” was here illegally, had been deported several times and after he was found guilty of a very lesser included offense, the SFPD on instructions from their masters at city hall refused to hand the perp over to immigration. He presently is wandering around a free man still in the country illegally unless he has moved some place where they still consider themselves to be a part of the U.S.A. and follow federal law.

      The number of guns stolen from both unmarked police cars and marked police cars is underreported but is much higher than most of us suspect. Hey, if you are looking for a gun to steal, why bother smashing the window on a private car where there may or may not be a firearm. Like Willie Sutton, you go to where you know there are firearms, cop cars. (When asked why he always robbed banks, Willie Sutton, an infamous bank robber replied simply, “That’s where the money is.”

  3. It must be “keep your gun locked up in a safe in your car month” because my local PD posted a reminder to lock it up today that they created a couple years ago.

  4. There’s a channel on YouTube called the LockPickingLawyer. He routinely defeats safes of all types, often in mere seconds. Small gun safes are usually trivial to open, sometimes with improvised tools.

    The best option would be, as others have already mentioned, the ability to just leave it in the holster. It’s not a mystery where the gun is, and you have it when you need it.

    • “I just keep Hi Points in the car, so not too upset if one gets nicked.”

      That’s a perfectly rational decision…

    • For years, I had some combination of rifle/shotgun/.22 in the gun rack in my back window. Never got looks, questions, or problems. Then, over time, a mixture of levels took over. Fishing rod now & then, depending on time of year. If I had a gun rack today, I’d string it with barbed wire to keep the &#!#@s from kicking in the sliding rear window.

    • The gun rack is for the 80s when “people” didn’t act they way they do now. I loved mine but knew when things changed I had to as well. Then after a few cases of “people” targeting vehicles with stickers then those had to go as well.

  5. Blaming the victim. Pure and simple.

    If someone commits a crime to get my stuff … that’s on them…. Not me.

    You house is not a gun safe either.

    In reality, a gun safe is not much of a gun safe if someone has the right tools.

    • English Law : Don’t steal other people’s stuff.
      Napoleonic Law : If your stuff was stolen, you didn’t protect it properly.

      Many of our imports have been raised under Naoleonic Law and not likely to change.

    • A few years back around here, a story made the rounds about a pretty heavy-duty gun safe, properly installed and all that, being log chained to the thieves’ truck and pulled through the house wall when the owner was out for a weekend. They’d heard him talk about his collection in a LGS the week before.

      Pro Tip: Don’t brag about your gun collection in public, or anywhere strangers could overhear you.

  6. Officers and agents should remind themselves. Lots and lots of cases of their guns being stolen as well as armor

  7. Well, obviously your car is not a safe. It doesn’t even look like one. I’d say 3/4 of vehicle burglaries I’ve seen were unlocked vehicles. Mostly sunglasses, cell phones and the occasional fiirearm. Firearms in vehicles are a fact of life where I live. My favorite turkey gun and a 19X are in my truck now. The thing to remember is that noise is the antithesis of the stealth burglar. He doesn’t like a barking dog. He doesn’t want to smash a window. He damn doesn’t like an outside audible alarm. People look. Anyway, guilty as charged.

    • Agreed. I still can’t understand how there’s so many people that adamantly refuse to lock their vehicle and even their house. When I worked in LE I had people get mad at me for suggesting they lock their car because they “shouldn’t have to lock their car” or “criminals shouldn’t be breaking into *their* car.”

      • There is a school of thought that you should leave the car unlocked (with nothing of value inside) so that when you come back the windows aren’t broken.

  8. First, I couldn’t possibly bolt my car to the floor joists. Second, I can’t drive my gun safe to the supermarket. So of course my car is not a gun safe, and my gun safe is not a car. Duh.

  9. With Constitutional Carry there is no stupid law that forces people to leave a firearm unattended in a vehicle so a criminal can steal it.

    • Except for federal facilities such as the federal court house and every post office in the land, where carrying a firearm is a felony. Yes, even in the parking lot.

  10. If you must leave your firearm in your car then make sure it’s unloaded. Take the ammunition with you. I use one of my sunglasses storage case That has strings that I can use to tie it closed. Keeping the ammunition from falling out. This way I can put the sunglass case in my pocket. And I don’t have ammunition mixing with anything else in my pockets.

    Three years ago I walked into the local courthouse to get my driver’s license renewed. That’s where the office was located. I had to empty my pockets into a bowl. I walked through the metal detector and watched, as the sheriff deputies attempted to untie my sunglass case. They emptied the contents into the bowl and were very surprised, that I had ammunition on me. One of the deputies asked me “if I had a gun on me”???

    I said, “no of course not you can’t bring a gun into the courthouse”.

    “But I’m not going to leave my gun in the car with the ammunition with it.” And one of the deputies smiled and shook his head in agreement. After renewing my driver’s license the deputies gave me the glass case back with the ammunition in it. I thank them and walked out of the building. I got back in my car and reloaded my gun. And then I had a very good rest of the day.

    • I don’t get what unloading your car gun accomplished.
      It is a trivial matter to buy a box of ammo after they steal the unloaded gun.

    • Don’t overthink it. Just take the loaded mag with you (or at minimum place it somewhere else in the car).

      A thief isn’t to the downtown gun mag store to puchase a mag and ammo. He has a fancy hammer.

  11. I have a console safe that bolts down through the floor/frame. Seldom use it, but do if I am going into a facility that does not allow me to carry. Usually stop a couple blocks away from my destination and put the gun in the safe, then go on to where I need to go. Simply to not be seen moving a firearm from my holster then walking away from the vehicle. Since I usually carry an old 1911, I either take the mags with me, or use the locking tool box in the back of the truck right along with whatever other items I don’t want to carry through the metal detectors. otherwise, the weapon stays on me even if guns are supposedly prohibited. Most places, what stays out of sight stays out of mind.
    Had a discussion with a DR. in Mobile about his prohibition on weapons. Since the office used to be in a good part of town but is now in the hood, he did relent when I told him I would rather take the chance of his disapproval over the chance of my car being broken into and the gun stolen. I noticed on my next visit his office no longer displayed a sign prohibiting weapons. I asked about that. He said they changed the rules after 1 of the nurses was mugged going to her car after work. I noticed a couple of the young ladies working also had side arms under their scrubs. Funny how that works out.

  12. “…but it is unlikely you’re going to run into a criminal doing a smash-and-grab while also carrying heavy-duty bolt cutters…”

    That’s generally not true if its gang activity doing the targeting. They come equipped with bolt cutters and other implements needed to break in and take stuff quickly. Its usually three or more of them, someone does look out and the others take the stuff then they get back in their getaway car and take off with your stuff . They just cut the cable and take the safe then open it later.

    We’ve had some experience with that around here. They rarely don’t take the safe with them, its a big give away that screams “theres maybe a gun or some other valuable in that locked container”.

  13. 3am door knock, local popo “concerned” about my van door being ajar. barefoot and robed i walked out in the snow and shut my door. it became clear why he didn’t just do that rather than disturb my slumber, “you have a ccw, do you think a firearm might have been stolen from your vehicle?”
    no. (insert article headline here).
    “what do you think happened, did you forget to close your door?” shoulder shrug, i get up at 04:30…

  14. To summarize: crime has become so rampant that you just have to hang your head and accept it.
    Next they will tell us it is our fault if our windows get smashed since we locked our doors.

  15. The Hornady safe mentioned in the article will not accept a holstered handgun.

    This is a bad thing. Guns 101 suggests that you should try to minimize administrative handling of a firearm. That means taking off your firearm while its still in its holster, and leaving it in its holster when putting it into a safe.

    There are better options that are much much cheaper.

    Partly because there is NO REASON to need high speed access. So no RFIDs or electronic locks are necessary. That is because the gun should be on your person.

    If you are going into a post office and need to lock up the gun, then there is no rush. A safe with a simplex combination lock is plenty fast. Even a lock with a key is fine.

  16. Definitely shows the problem with all these restrictions on guns and where you can carry them.
    Going to the police station to get an accident report, I have to leave it in the vehicle. I need to attend a parent/teacher conference, I have to leave it in the vehicle. I need to go into one of the many stores that don’t allow weapons, I have to leave it in the vehicle. Not sure what the solution is.


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