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“Every time I go to the range to practice, I put the target on my garage so (thieves) know I know how to shoot.” – Baltmore resident Richard McCormick quoted in Baltimore supermarket swaps guns for groceries [at]

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  1. I hide my targets (and other gear) so a smash and grab doesn’t turn into a search for my weapons. Out of sight out of mind.

    • Bingo! Id rather some crook show up light with only small hand tools rather than advertizing to the whole world that he needs pry bars and power tools.

      I have a crappy television downstairs and some older furniture so hopefully they will walk in, laugh sympathetically and then leave because they dont want to go to prison for a $100 haul. One can hope anyways, or maybe he will feel sorry for me.

    • I don’t keep used targets. All gun items are locked up and out of sight. We have a large dog that is our early warning system. Chain link fence, hate privacy fences.
      Friends & family know I have guns. Everybody else is on a strict need to know to know basis. I do wear my ladies shooting league t-shirt in public to support the cause and have had some productive conversations with women curious about learning to shoot.

    • I have too much to hide. 4 motorcycles, reloading and shooting gear, and the guns and bows too. I would need to hide a whole garage.

  2. Or they might notice the target on the garage realize fromt he bullet holes it looks like a 45, then they realize most guns chambered in 45 or expensive. The last time they tried to buy ammo for a 45 on the street they didnt want to give up a kidney or their firstborn to get it. So they now know you have money and guns.

    Then they park a few houses down and watch you for a week or so. Try and get a good peek in the garage to see if you have multiple cars or if its just you. Then when you leave break into your house with a $2 screwdriver that they probably shoplifted and now they have all your guns. Would it be appropriate for them to leave a polaroid of them dancing on your target in the kitchen at that point?

    My point? Id rather them find out the hard way how good of a shot I am when they kick my door in. Posting a target on your garage invites more trouble than it staves off. There is nothing that will get a criminal more money faster (other than stacks of unmarked hundred dollar bills) than guns. They will wait until you are gone, and unless your house is locked down like Ft Knox they will get in and steal your guns. Or worse, they will tool up like a small militia and storm your house in the middle of the night. Again, I would rather them think they only need a crowbar and some miscellaneous hand tools to rip off my house. Or better yet, skip mine and go to the neighbors who posted his “Smith and Wesson Security” signs and NRA, Glock, whatever bumper stickers all of his car because he advertizes he has cooler shit than me.

    • Wow, those are some incredibly deductive criminals! Not saying that it wouldn’t happen or saying that the target on the garage is a good idea, but I would be surprised if a couple of thugs cased the house for a week or two just because the guy may or may not have a gun they’d like to steal.

      • They dont have to be that smart, although you would be surprised at how much effort a real burglar will put in to casing a house if they think its worth it (hint evidence of hundreds or thousands of dollars of guns is probably enough to motivate them to hang around and wait on you). Im not overly concerned about the opportunistic thugs you mention though, they will peer through the window and see my shitty television, maybe jiggle the door handle just to see and probably move on.

        Those same punks though, if they see evidence there are guns in the house like targets posted on the garage door or NRA stickers on the car, probably will go home and tool up and come back when they think I’m not home. They don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the only way you make bullet holes in targets is with guns. And worse still, they will probably arm themselves and come in ready, like others mentioned, just in case you are home. My wife is home a lot, so the probability of a break in in dailight is low, but if they knew there were guns in the house and came in when they thought no one was there. If they are un-armed they will probably run away if she screams. However, if they come in armed, knowing there are guns and armed homeowners they are probably going to shoot the first thing that moves. So again, why go around broadcasting?

        There is also the whole antagonizing aspect of posting a target with bullet holes in it as a “warning: to crooks, and how that might appear to a prosecutor. Crazy world we live in.

      • “I would be surprised”

        I’m guessing you have never been in investigations or seriously studied criminology.

        Criminals are, or can be, VERY shrewd and cunning. They can execute very high levels of complex planning.

        So, that couple of “thugs” you dismiss so easily are packing more higher order brain function than you give them credit for having. It may not match SAT tests and AP Placement tests and stuff like that, but it’s very real.

        And you underestimate your adversary at your own peril.

    • And those criminals will have lots of time to scope out your place because they aren’t working 35-60 hours a week like most TTAG readers. We have “random” people driving through our neighborhood who seem like they are constantly scoping the place. Having a large dog or two is definitely a nice deterrent. Even still, those of us who are savvy don’t advertise our arsenals.

      • Yeah, locally there is a radio talk show that has different people come on with tips for homeowners. One of the guests they had recently was an ex-con turned security consultant and his #1 advice for home security was have a dog, one that barks is even better. He said back when he was still a criminal if he even saw evidence that led him to believe there only might be a dog in the house he would skip it and move on. He said that most burglars #1 fear is being bitten by your dog, and in a distant second place is being shot by you. I don’t even think whether or not your house has an alarm made the top 10.

        • A great combo is smaller quick hyperalert dog backed by a large 100lb very protective dog with huge teeth.

        • I like my strategy of the 8lb Dustmop that barks like a madman… it distracts you from the 90lb husky who is about to silently rip your throat out…

        • Small dogs yapping away incessantly would give me PTSD. Plus I don’t want to walk around town with a tiny little ankle-biter. I pretty much despise small yappy dogs. YMMV.

  3. Yeah so there isn’t anything I can say that doesn’t echo the whole “you can only shoot at them if you’re at home when they break in”. If you’re not at home, which most of us working outside of the home are not 50+ hours a week then the guns in your safe don’t do a lot.

    Sadly, guns owned by good guys don’t necessarily just “go off” at bad guys.

  4. What good is that piece of paper for a thief who knows there is another paper at city hall that says the owner can never actually use the gun in self defense?

  5. Great. Now the thieves know that there are guns available in the house. They just have to come when you aren’t at home. If they’re smart, they will bring safe cracking tools. They will also have their own guns ready, in case you happen to be home.

    I prefer thieves to be ignorant of what I have in my home.

  6. At my old house, the driveway was partially paved with stinger casings. They were initially all up in the corner of my driveway by the garage where I did all my shooting but after a few big rainstorms the whole driveway was pretty evenly covered in them. As a result, the driveway glistened in the moonlight. Every now and then someone walking to Wally world would see the tens of thousands of glistening objects in the moonlight, walk up the driveway and inspect a few. Then they would shrink a little, back up slowly and suddenly haul ass down to the road. It cracked me up every one of the hundred or so times it happened until the ammo shortage started in 2012 and my driveway stopped sparkling. I live in town now, no casings in the driveway. 🙁

    • I could see your driveway in my imagination. Probably looked like the yellow brick road to OZ. I’ll bet it was pretty in a weird sort of way.

  7. I have a sign that says

    “This home protected by Hi-Point firearms.”

    I’ve already gotten a few C-9s dropped in my mailbox.

    • It’s good to have an impact weapon, but you really ought to think about getting a firearm. 😉

  8. If you read the link it seems the author is skeptical about so-called buybacks. How do you “run off” gun dealers? Police would be needed. And if you want security put up a fake (or real) sign. Putting up a target is possibly the dumbest s##t I’ve EVER heard of. I’ve never mentioned I have guns except for a cheap pump shotgun(ready to go with NO racking sound as a warning). And I’ve joked that all my guns were lost in a tragic boating accident…

  9. Where I live in AZ, posting used targets gets you an endless stream of neighbors at the door bragging and comparing scores. Let us just say crime is not a problem in my neighborhood.

  10. I’ve done everything in my power/financial ability to make my house the least likely in the neighborhood to break into. Fence that is locked but see through, lighting at every possible entrance, all windows and doors easily seen from the street or out the neighbors windows, 3 dogs, security system. Many of the neighbors have back yards that are not visible (easy to gain access through the sliding door), don’t keep their lights on at night, no security, no pets, no fence.

    The absolute last thing I want is anyone knowing I have guns, that just ups the incentive for criminals to risk breaking into my house over the others in the area when I’m not home (the best shot in the world can’t shoot an intruder when they’re 10 miles away). I back my car in to the garage when loading it up for a range trip and you won’t see any stickers on the cars, house indicating guns are possibly owned by us. The mail man, Fedex and UPS guys probably have a good idea, but that’s a calculated risk.

    • I’m of 2 minds on the competing issues of “advertising” vs. “secrecy”. I think that in the long-run, hiding our light under a bushel is COUNTER-productive to the maintenance of support for the 2A.
      – – – The first issue in security is perimeter security. We all ought to do what we can (and can afford) to make our property too much trouble to attack.
      – – – Guns and other valuables (jewelry, etc.) need to be in safes or otherwise secured. Jewelry can go in a hard-to-find wall safe; likewise for handguns not being actively used (worn or on nightstand) for defense. Long guns need a safe – preferably in a hard-to-locate closet or otherwise hidden.
      – – – We may recoil at the suggestion that WE should endure the expense of defending our homes against criminals. The accusation that ‘You are just asking for it’ tastes sour in our mouths. Nevertheless, ultimately, it’s the responsible thing to do. We instruct our loved ones: ‘Don’t go into bad neighborhoods, especially at night.’ Defending our perimeters and valuables is – in the same vein – just common sense.
      – – – To some criminals, a (desecrate) notice of guns will serve as a deterrent. Evidence of good perimeter security should defer some others. Perhaps a (desecrate) notice: ‘All valuables are well-secured’ will defer others.
      – – – I am NOT saying here that EVERY one of us can successfully pursue these countermeasures. Some of us can’t afford it; we can afford one or two guns but not adequate perimeter security or safes or hidden storage locations. Others of us live in places where police responding to an alarm won’t arrive before burglars leave. Those of us in this situation probably need to maintain secrecy.
      – – – My GREATEST concern is the subjugation of the honorableness of gun ownership. If a few percent of us must maintain secrecy, that is no loss to the 2A movement. If most of us must maintain secrecy, then that pushes us underground; we become a “secrete society” – we become suspicious because we maintain secrecy. We will be cowered into giving-up our 2A rights in the same way we are cowered into foregoing our other rights. How would we respond to an admonishment such as: ‘Don’t speak out on controversial issues; to do so is not “PC”‘; ‘Don’t object to a warrantless search of your home or car; to do so invites suspicion that you have something to hide.’; Don’t remain silent if you are arrested; to do so invites suspicion that you are guilty.’? And so forth. If rights are not proudly asserted they will wither away.
      – – – As I age I care less each year about what others might think of me. I think that this is a (small) measure of the maturation process. It is one which we need to convey to the generations to follow. If we fail to undertake this process we might see the wringing-out of the normality of keeping and bearing arms in American society (as was accomplished in the UK in 3 generations).
      – – – I am NOT here advocating for ostentatious displays or speech. Cute signs such as “This home insured by Smith & Wesson” are – I think – slightly counter-productive. We should try to think about displays and speech that are strongly PROductive. An NRA sticker is always in good taste and conveys the desired message. SOME open-carry is (I think) productive. In counties where open-carry has been a long-observed tradition it is productive in the long-run. E.g., I suppose that OC has been common in some AZ counties (while less common in Phoenix, perhaps). Well, then, OC in such AZ counties will tend to become acceptable in metropolitan AZ counties and neighboring TX (where it is now illegal for handguns though legal for long-guns). If just a couple percent of civilians in OC States carry openly the normalization process in non-OC States becomes inevitable due to the mobility of American society. Children will see OC when visiting grandparents in AZ.
      – – – We can’t normalize gun-keeping/-bearing while – at the same time – promoting secrecy.
      – – – I see both “advertising” and “secrecy” each serving useful – indeed important – purposes. I’d be happy if about 1/2 of us maintain secrecy while the other 1/2 “advertise”. That would be enough “advertising” to achieve our normalization goals. It would also be enough “operational security” to make it difficult – if not impossible – for criminals to be sure that a target is really unarmed.

  11. And the professionals will watch your home, learn your daily patterns, wait until you leave for work, back a moving truck up to your garage, and steal you blind while you’re away.

    My father had a well-to-do friend who had an amazing gun collection and he let everyone know it. One summer, he and his wife went to Mexico for a week, and came back to find that people broke in and took probably 6 figures in collectible firearms.

    Just keep your busy to yourself.

  12. My father in law found out that I own a handgun and that I took it with me when I left the house. He asked, “so your neighbors can see that you have gun, I bet they not to mess with you”. I went ahead and gave him a quick primer on guns and people. Guns escalate situations. If a person is afraid of a gun or gun owner, it’s because they aren’t willing to escalate that far. However, there are plenty of people that are more willing than I am to escalate to deadly violence. There are those that are eager for it.

    I don’t hide the fact that I enjoy shooting and that I own guns. People that know me know I like guns. But, I do what I can to hide that from strangers. When you CC, don’t print or break concealment. At home, keep shooting/gun paraphernalia hidden. Realize that when you open carry, you are burdening yourself with defending that weapon against anybody you come across.

    You don’t have to live “in the closet”, but you shouldn’t make your guns public.

  13. That AHOLE is why I am out of MD. Moving soon. Their crazy here. We are in Western Maryland they’re the same. PA,WV,people are okay, here their nuts.

  14. I recall a blog post on another gun board where the op detailed his method of dealing with door to door sales people .. It was worth a smile but I doubt it would be useful for the various reasons posted here….

    The post consisted of a photo of his front door and steps with a human outline in white tape sprawled over the steps this had blood red paint dribbled over it and a broken length of police line do not cross tape fluttering from a railing…. The final touch was a scattering of religious propaganda for a religion known to do a lot of door to door missionary work… It could just have well been a scatter of fuller brush or avon calling items

  15. This is why every time I go to the range, I load the car in the garage with the door down. My life savings is in the house. Just because there is almost always someone home doesn’t mean I should be reckless. Just because I’m more tooled up than some special ops teams doesn’t mean I don’t sleep, or have my beer days, or seek unwanted attention.

  16. “…I put the target on my garage so (thieves) know I know how to shoot.”

    And so they know who to rob when I’m away!

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