Two sources with knowledge of the situation expressed concern to Rolling Stone that it is an unsafe environment for children, alleging there are unattended guns strewn around the home on Miller’s 96-acre property. One source, who, like the other, requested anonymity for fear of retribution, recalled an instance where one of the children — a one-year-old — allegedly picked up a loose bullet and put it in her mouth.
— RollingStone: Guns, Bullets, and Weed: Ezra Miller Housing Three Young Children and Their Mother at Vermont Farm

Don’t bother to give them the click. I don’t know anything about the person involved, I gave them the click so you wouldn’t have to.

Securing your firearms means different things to different people. There is a scene in Coolhand Luke where we see a convict sent to get a rifle from the truck. The guards were not concerned because that rifle was secured. It was secured because the “boss” had the bolt for the rifle. Without the bolt the rifle would not work.

One of my very first firearms was a Remington 700. At the time I didn’t have a rifle safe, I did have a pistol safe. I had children. I put the bolt in the pistol safe. That rifle would not function without a replacement bolt so it was secure from my children.

It would be nice to spend as much on my safes as I spend on my firearms. I’d have a couple of Fort Knox style safes. A top of the line 24 rifle gun safe can run over $8000. A low end 24 rifle safe will run near enough to $1000.

A locking gun cabinet can be had for less.

The goal is to secure your firearm(s) in a way that protects them from the threats they may encounter.

Many years ago I had to take a psych evaluation in regards to a custody case, so did my ex-wife. One of the questions is designed to discover if you are narcissistic. It read something like “Do you believe that people are trying to steal your work?”. To which I answered “yes”. The automated scoring used this to claim I was narcissistic but they psychologist said “nope, he’s not.” Why? Because I worked in a place where I had to attend briefings every year where important people got up and said “The work we are doing is very important. The work YOU are doing is very important. There are people with lots of resources trying to steal your work.”

Nobody is trying to “steal” my work today. Maybe they want to cheat me out of my labor, but they aren’t trying to steal my work.

When I lived in certain places in Maryland, I expected to have somebody breakin and steal things. It was a bad neighborhood. Even when I lived in better neighborhood I was always concerned about somebody breaking in. Same when I lived in Michigan.

I needed to secure my firearms from thieves. I had to secure them when the thieves would have two or more hours to steal things.

More importantly to me, I had to secure my firearms from my young children.

So there are multiple different “danger” curves you must deal with.

Children

There is a very very short period of time after a child is born before your security of your firearm must be better than “out of reach.”

When my wife was younger she was on very strict diets. Even so, her mother kept cookies in the house. The cookies were stored on top of the refrigerator. My wife can recall using drawers as a step ladder to get up onto the counter and then using other things to reach the top of the refrigerator to reach the cookies. She thinks she was 3 or 4 years old.

My friend didn’t like her pistol because she could not work the slide. It was too heavy. We’ve all seen the videos of a young child cocking a 1911 style pistol by hitching the slide to the edge of a table and using their entire body weight to slide it back.

Children can do more than you expect, so don’t think that an unsecured firearm is “safe” Secure it!

While my grandchild was here, all firearms were secured. That meant “under lock and key.” For the ready weapon in my bedroom that happened to be a cable lock through the magazine well and out the ejection port. Without the key, my grandchild would not be able to operate that firearm.

Would that cable lock slow down a thief taking off with my rifle? No. It would not. House security is a different issue for us. Child security was paramount.

To repeat, every single firearm in the house was kept under lock and key.

How good were most of those locks? They were pure shit. I practice lock picking from time to time. I can pick every single one of the gun locks I have in less than a minute. They are not that secure. Every one of the padlock/cable lock style can be cut with a simple set of bolt cutters.

They were good enough to secure that one weapon from my grandchild.

As my children grew older, security had to increase. All of my firearms were secured in a gun cabinet or a gun safe. In my opinion, the biggest security for my firearms was a policy of access. If my children wanted to see or handle a firearm all they had to do is ask. I would stop what I was doing and pull out the firearm. Go over the safety rules, clear the weapon. Hand it to them and make sure they cleared the weapon.

Security came by them knowing that they firearms were not magic scary things. It came with training and knowledge and a refusal on my part to make them a hidden goal.

Remember how good you were at finding your Christmas presents as a child. Apply that to your children finding your secret gun.

Today I have firearms that are in the safes, some that are in the gun cabinet and some in gun display cases. All of which are secure enough for my children.

The secondary issue is when my children have friends over. When they were younger, that was not an issue as all firearms were always secured. Today it is one of room access. Guests are not allowed in certain areas of the house which means they don’t get access to firearms.

Having said all of this, I’m relaxed about this part of my firearm security.

Quick Snatch and Grab

In my opinion, this is the biggest threat to most of us. This is the thief that notices you disarming before walking across the street to mail a package at the post office. He sees and knows it is a quick smash and group to walk away with a valuable item.

A pistol is worth a few hundred dollars at the least. When I lived near Baltimore we knew that you didn’t leave anything of value in your car if it was parked down there. People had their cars broken because of the coins visible in the center console.

Any car lock box is a good start. Remember what you are securing and what you are protecting from. Yes, a pair of bolt cutters will cut the cable lock easily. The thief doing a smash and grab is unlikely to have bolt cutters with him.

Secure your firearm if you must leave it in your vehicle

When considering your lock box, consider how you are going to access it while in the vehicle. What do you think others see when you have to get out of your vehicle, pull the lock box from under the seat, take your firearm from its holster, put it in the box. Lock the box and put it back in the vehicle?

You need to be able to secure your firearm while sitting in your seat without it looking like the dance of the seven veils.

Also, be very very aware of what is considered a firearm where you are. In MA, a fired shell is a reloading component and requires a license to possess. In Maryland, a magazine with a round in it is considered a loaded gun.

You think you are being a good subject and disarming before entering the local post office? Did you do it in the parking lot? That’s a sensitive location and you aren’t allowed to carry there.

In your home, you have the same consideration in the smash and grab. So the display case above my Lady’s bed is firmly anchored to the wall. Not a J.Kb. levels, but secure enough. The clasps holding closed are locked. The “glass” is actually plexiglass and pretty hard to break.

It would take a little bit of time to rip it off the wall and it would require tools to do so. It is enough to secure a firearm from a child or curious person and enough to slow down a thief for a bit. Call it 5 to 10 minutes.

The gun cabinet is more than enough to secure my firearms from a quick smash and grab.

The cable look for the display case that secures all the rifles is enough.

All of this is designed to stop the smash and grab. That person is not going to have access to anything quickly.

The Burglary

This is where the thieves have time. Enough time without the owner that they can do what they want. In this case your goal is to get that sweet spot where the amount of time it takes them to access or remove your safe is longer than the response time to the monitored alarm.

If the response time to a house alarm in your area is 20 minutes, your safes have to be secure for at least 30 minutes.

So what does secure mean? It means both access and removal. While you might be concerned about having 24 guns rattling around in the bed of your pickup truck, a thief isn’t going to care. If those 24 guns are rattling around in the back of a pickup truck inside a safe, the thieves don’t care either.

Limiting access to a safe means keeping them from getting inside while the safe is in place. So the safe rated at 2 hours with a biometric electronic lock with a key override sounds really good. Until you figure out that it is pretty simple to drill the key override and just unlock it that way.

Get a safe that is actually rated for the time period listed. When I had to break into my own gun cabinet. The key had gone missing. It took 5 minutes with a drill to drill out the cylinder lock. I replaced that lock with a better lock but I was surprised at how easy it was.

There is the physical access as well. The safe that our friend asked us to open took 20 minutes. I was able to use 3 cut off wheels on my angle iron to cut three sides of the back and a crow bar to access the concrete interior. A sledge hammer and a cold chisel made short work of the concrete interior to gain access to the inside of the safe. Total time was about 35 minutes.

Unfortunately the safe didn’t have anything valuable inside.

A person that has physical access to a security container can open it. It is only a question of time and the amount of destruction.

Make sure the safe you purchase has a security rating that will give the cops time to respond to your alarm.

And now to J.Kb.’s point. Make sure they don’t just walk off with that safe!

Just look up YouTube videos of people hooking a truck up to an ATM and just yanking it out of the wall and driving away.

This is the issue. It might take a thief longer to access the safe than it takes to steal the safe.

Your method of securing your safe is dependent on weight and anchors.

Weight is NOT security.

I have machines that weight in excess of two tons in my shop. I move them by myself. The magic is levers, toe jacks and rolling bars. All you have to do is get it up high enough to get a bar under and then you can roll the heavy item where ever you need to go. A goo lever/pry bar will let you turn things AND steel on steel slides darn well.

This means you have to anchor your safe in location.

Leverage is important in this and you have to make sure your anchors are strong enough to not pull out. You also have to consider static vs dynamic load.

I watch a demonstration where a guy carefully hung about 500 pounds off a chain attached to a forged eye bolt that was through a 2 by 8 beam. Absolutely no problem.

This 180 lbs guy then proceeded to rip that eyebolt right through the beam. He took all the hanging weight off the chain and then proceeded to use a whip like motion to impart a huge shock on the system. Much more than the 500lbs he demonstrated with. It was enough to strip the threads and yank the bolt right out of the beam.

The same is true of our safes. If you can get it to rock even a little bit, that motion can be enough to rip bolts out of the floor or from the wall. Make sure you anchor things so they can’t get your safe moving at all.

If you have an air gap between your safe and the wall, consider putting something there and anchoring through that filler into the wall. This doesn’t keep them from getting a pry bar in there or a strap to yank things. It is just to slow them down a little bit more and to keep that safe from moving at all.

Fini

Secure your firearms. Secure them for the time and place you are at. Secure your firearms in such a way they are protected from the threats you anticipate. Secure them well enough that a response can arrive before you loose your firearms.

And remember, the lock picking lawyer isn’t what you are protecting from. Your thief is much more likely to be an animal with a crowbar and more muscles than brains.

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By awa

4 thoughts on “Secure Your Firearms”
  1. Growing up in a small town in Maine I knew where every firearm was in our house. Which were loaded which were not.when I had friends over firearms were not mentioned. At age 6 I was taught how to handle them. Age 11 Up through high school I had a gun rack in my room with a 12ga shotgun and an M1 carbine on it . Both loaded. Emotional wrecks today would melt down at seeing this.. education secures firearms from your child. A good safe secures them from thieves.. THINK.

  2. A person that has physical access to a security container can open it. It is only a question of time and the amount of destruction.

    And patience.

    True story: We were helping with a deep cleaning of our church, when someone discovered an old combination safe/firebox in the back of a closet. Dial numbered 0-49. It came from a previous church group; we had no idea it was there.

    Naturally, people wondered what was inside it.

    The teenage boys grabbed their hammers and chisels and went to work. After about 10-15 minutes of noise and almost no discernible damage, I offered to take a crack at it.

    Two quiet hours later I had it open. No damage. And the combination written down for future reference.

    (No, I didn’t “brute force” 125,000 combinations. Nor did I “guess”.Thanks for asking. 😉 )

    The lesson is, given enough time and patience, your safe is crackable even without tools and destruction.

    Oh, and at the end of all that, it was empty. But it was a fun project, and with the combination “found” at least it was usable again.

    1. The company I worked for needed to expand and bought an old building that had once been used as a bank. In the basement set into a concrete wall was a huge bank vault. It was closed and locked and nobody knew the combination.

      Our security guy was into locks and safes and such. He decided to give this 100 year old vault a try. About 5 minutes of manipulations later he unlocked and opened that safe.

      I didn’t ask him how. He just pointed out that the technology when that safe was built was not nearly as good as the technology of today.

      If you have access to a security container, you can open it.

  3. I didn’t realize just how weak most locks are until after watching the Lock Picking Lawyer. I was well aware of brute force attacks. It doesn’t matter how good the lock is if you can pop the hinges or pry the hasp off.

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