I have been reading through the comments on Miguel’s post Memphis PD Director wants guns in cars banned.

I was going to comment, then I decided to make it into a post.

If you talk to any security expert, they will tell you that ALL security systems can be defeated.  All it takes is time and energy.

When designing security system, you (or the user in general) needs to balance a number of factors.

  • How much are you willing to spend on security?
  • How much is the value of what you are securing?
  • how much inconvenience are you willing to put up with to access your items?
  • What types of threats are you going to be dealing with?

For most of us, the biggest threat to our guns (besides fire) is a basic home robbery.  A thief with an angle grinder and a couple of cutting wheels can take the front off a safe, even a good one, given enough time.

The key is, don’t give the burglar enough time.

A safe combined with an alarm system is better.  A heavy duty safe is better still.

Most of my guns are in a heavy duty safe, but that is inconveinint in the middle of the night, so my bump in the night gun is in a biometic pistol safe in the bedroom.  It’s really only to keep the kids away from the gun.  I expect any thief to try and attack that pistol box rather than my Fort Knox safes before the cops come and respond to the alarm.

The one gun I have in the pistol box is the one I am willing to lose.

So how does this relate to cars?

I can’t carry in my workplace so I have a gun that lives in my car.  I have it in a small lock box.

The threat that my car is most likely to face, since it has an alarm system, is a simple smash and grab.  Somebody busts a window and takes what they can see.  Any lock box with a cable that can handle a pair of dikes or some hard yanking is enough to deter a smash and grabber.

If he steals my car, he’ll have a lot more time to work on my pistol box.

If you are like me, and the kind of person who isn’t going to be parked in a bad part of town for a long time, that should be enough for you.

Most car breakins only last a few seconds.

If you have a gun made of metal, a bike lock through the trigger guard (or open the cylinder and through the frame) to the frame of a seat is enough to stop someone who smashes a window from walking away with your gun.  Pop the mag and run a small security cable through the mag well and slide and padlock that to the seat frame, if you have plastic fantastic.

A box only stops you from dealing with the inconvenience of unloading your gun before locking it.

If you are worried about someone with a tool trying to pry open your gun box or cutting through it, ask yourself “why does a thief have the time to do that?”

Do you not have a car alarm?  Could you have spent a little more for secure parking and instead parked in the cheap lot?

I’d suspect that for the majority of car gun thefts, the situation is a gun in a glove box or under a seat and the theif broke a window, opened the door, and took whatever he could find within the first 20-30 seconds of the alarm blaring.

If every gun owner can secure their gun enough to stop that, that’s maybe 9 of 10 gun thefts.

Most thieves are criminals of opportunity.  You’re not dealing with Ocean’s 11 here, you are most likely dealing with a junkie who just wants something to sell.

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By J. Kb

7 thoughts on “On guns in cars”
  1. Good thoughts. That pretty much answers my concerns, now all that is left to deal with is politicians passing laws about stuff they don’t understand.

  2. I had a car break-in once and all they took was a handful of change in the ashtray and the power cord to my radar detector. They didn’t take the actual radar detector that was under the seat, nor the 2 $250 tennis racquets in the back hatch area, nor the filled cassette case (yes, this was a while ago!)and didn’t appear to have even tried to break the cheap lock on my glove box. Alarm went off and I was outside within a few minutes (2nd floor apt), so speed was what was important for them.

  3. When designing security system, you (or the user in general) needs to balance a number of factors.

    It’s a principle that especially applies to network security, but it has some meaning for the physical world, too. “Security” really comes down to three items:
    – Security (how hard it is to gain illicit access)
    – Ease of Use/Access (how easy it is to gain legitimate access)
    – Affordability (how much it costs)

    The thing is, you only get to prioritize two.

    For most people/businesses the one with the most subjectively-fungible sliding scale is Affordability. The necessary Security is determined by the relative value of whatever is being secured (and sometimes arbitrarily by law – see: “HIPAA”, “Child Access Prevention” [a.k.a. “safe storage” of firearms]), and the necessary Ease of Use/Access is determined by the expertise of the end users (which itself is somewhat fungible; most end users can be taught/trained). Thus, most “security” decisions come down to a simple question of, “How much are you willing to spend?”

  4. Basically, the only driving I do nowadays is the commute from home to my (gun-free-zone) office 2 days a week. When I’m there, I park on the top floor of the garage, specifically because I figure that by the time anyone gets up there to break in to any cars our security staff will have scared them off in their gocarts and tactical segways.

    It also helps that I drive a $4,000 jeep that’s old enough to drink and my coworkers are all driving beemers and bentlys and teslas.

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