Friday, March 18, 2011

Not in the car

That is the answer.  The question is: what’s a good place to keep your gun overnight?  Last year, we investigated 11 incidents where guns were stolen from cars left parked overnight, and three incidents in which vehicles were stolen with guns inside.  In six of the thefts, it appears that the car was left unlocked.  In all three of the auto thefts, the vehicles were unlocked and the keys were in the vehicle. There have been two more thefts of this type so far this year.

 Aside from the obvious (lock the car), it is not a good idea to keep a gun overnight in a vehicle, for a couple reasons.  Condensation would be one, exposure to theft would be the second.  Consider the case that occurred overnight Wednesday, December 15 to Thursday, December 16.  The victim’s pickup window was broken out, and a 9MM carbine was taken off the back seat, where it had been covered up by a coat.  Five days later, using our SWAT Team, a search warrant was served and the scoped carbine was recovered. Two gang members are currently charged with possession of the stolen firearm.

Apart from the cost and logistics involved in the investigation and the SWAT operation, the fact of the matter is that this gun quickly fell into the hands of a gang.   Stolen guns have a habit of ending up involved in other crimes, and we like very much to minimize that chance.

Safe and secure storage is one way of accomplishing this, and leaving your gun in the car is much riskier than securing it in your gun safe at home.  For one thing, we have triple the number of cars broken into compared to houses burglarized.  Lincoln has a municipal ordinance (9.36.110) that prohibits the storage of firearms in motor vehicles for more than 24 hours for this very reason.  I hate to pile on a victim who has already lost his or her property, but this is the law, and to me it’s just plain common sense.


Proofreader said...

Who's - contraction of "who is" or "who has". Troublesome cousin of "it's".

Whose - possessive. "An idea whose time has come."

No point in putting this on the blog, just a gentle reminder for you privately.

Anonymous said...

This goes for hunting prep too - don't load up for the next morning's hunting, including firearms, and leave that loaded vehicle on the street or in the driveway. Put it in the garage, and tell your spouse/BF/GF that they'll have to get up at 4am to re-arrange the vehicles.

The only time you might have to leave a gun in the car is when you're going to a government building or other no-guns place, because you can't CCW, so you have to leave it in the car. To minimize these instances, try and do as much gub'mint business online or drive-up as you can, and simply don't patronize businesses that post "no guns allowed" on their front door. They don't want your money, so take it somewhere that does, or shop online.

Mike Burda said...

I have one 12 gauge shotgun that is stored in my home with a gunlock. The shells are stored in the garage.

Anonymous said...

The provisions of this section shall not apply to...peace officers or other duly authorized law enforcement officers

This seems like a good place to ask why LEOs would be exempt from that ordinance. When off-duty, why would they have a better reason for leaving a gun in their car than would a civilian?

thaefner1 said...

Should the person who owned the gun be responsible for the cost of recovery, that way maybe the gun owner will take a little bit more care of that gun

Anonymous said...

This a good law & another we should have is leaving your vehicle running (warming up) unattended. Minneapolis has this & my brother was ticketed for it. Although he was upset, he has since told me that this type of auto theft has dropped dramatically.

Anonymous said...

I would say that law enforcement is exempt because they have very strong security systems in place that would not allow the firearm stored in the vehicle to be removed by the would be bad guy. If a civilian went to the expense to install the same security they would probably not ever have to worry about being cited because the firearm would not be taken.

Tom Casady said...


It drives me nuts when people do that--especially when it's ME.


The exemption for military and law enforcement is in recognition of the fact that these two types of organizations have vehicles in relatively secure facilities in which specialized firearms are maintained for rapid deployment.

Anonymous said...


I meant off-duty LEOs, regarding firearms stored in their POV in their own driveway or on the street.

Scenario: Off-duty LPD officer with two consecutive days off, keeping their personal 5.56mm rifle in the trunk of their POV, parked in their driveway, for 37 hours.

Would that violate the statute?

Anonymous said...

Chief-I have a dilemma. Maybe you can help. When I'm away from home, I bring my gun into my hotel room so as not to leave it in my car. My inside the waistband holster causes my jammie bottoms to sag and I sometimes trip going to the bathroom.

My question is this; do you think I should wear a shoulder holster instead?


Anonymous said...

Back when I was in the Army losing a weapon or leaving it unsecured was a serious offense and was punished accordingly. I know. I know. In civilian life things are different. However, I believe a gun owner should be charged with a crime of some sort if he/she decides to leave a firearm unsecured. The consequences of these actions can be deadly.

Tom Casady said...


Yes, I can help. Get yourself a belly band, don't drink any liquids after 6:00 PM, and just sleep commando. That should take care of your problems.

Anonymous said...

Chief, I am curious, do you think any of the thefts were planned and/or falsely reported? That is, do you ever wonder if the "victim" just sold the gun and falsely reported the theft, or sold the gun and let the buyer take it from an unlocked car?


Anonymous said...

I would like to see a law passed making it a mandatory twenty years to steal a firearm. I would even vote for making it a capital crime.

Gun Nut

Steve said...

I think a key phrase in that city ordinance is "unattended motor vehicle." That is not listed in the definitions section, and I'm curious as to how that is interpreted by the police. If I have a gun in my pickup in the driveway, but I'm watching through the window of my house, is that unattended? How would LPD know if a gun has been in an "unattended vehicle" for more than 24 hours unless they had actually observed the vehicle for that period of time (or the owner admitted to it)? Just curious if there have actually been any prosectutions for this offense and how these things were determined.

Anonymous said...


What percentage of all cars that are targeted for LFA had no visible items, either in plain sight or ineptly "hidden" by a bag/coat/blanket/etc, had all windows rolled up fully, and all the doors locked - and no suction cup marks on the windshield? 50%? 30%? 10%? Even less? I'd trust your instinct, if you just want to take an experienced guess.

Anonymous said...

Can you recommend how a pistol should be transported? Currently when I take my pistol with me out of town I keep the loaded magazine in the glove compartment which is locked with my ignition key, and the pistol itself in plain view on the passenger seat with the slide locked open. Do you forsee any problems with that?

J said...

One thing that boggles my mind is when I took my CCW class (took it twice actually as the first on expired before I applied), a majority of the people both times said they were getting a ccw to keep a gun in the car.

A gun in the car does you no good and it is a false form of safety. All it does it open the guns to theft. I dont understand why someoen would get a CCW to keep a gun in the car.

If you have a CCW, then carry in on your person, both you and the firearm are safer.

Cedric Satterfield said...

anonymous 10:05-because an off duty LEO can become active if necessary to enforce the law, whereas a non-LEO has no such jurisdiction.

Anonymous-9:29-those businesses what your money as much as anyone, and as private establishments have just as much right to dictate what they wish to have on their premises as you have to snub them. Your right to carry a gun around cannot be infringed under the 2nd at the Federal level. Local entities can pass what rules they deem necessary. The Founders that wrote the 2nd Amendment were not carrying handguns around with them.

Anonymous said...

"The Founders that wrote the 2nd Amendment were not carrying handguns around with them."

So, you knew all of them personally, and know that, at no time in their lives, did they carry a handgun? Not Ever? You must be the oldest living American.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ with your comment Mr. Satterfield,". . .The Founders that wrote the 2nd Amendment were not carrying handguns around with them."

Swords, hatchets,muskets, etc and pistols (concealed and openly) were carried. A few years back I read a few hundred pages of the annals of Congress archived in the Library of Congresses online collection. I was researching the documents of the discussion before the adoption of the second amendment. George(?) Mason of Pennsylvania did not want concealed weapons to be allowed but the language he used was not adopted in the final version of the Second Amendment. Reading the details of these discussions led me to conclude that "arms" does not apply to just firearms. Swords, knives and various other weapons would be included.

Gun Nut

Steve said...


Why would you say a gun in a car does you no good? If it is handy, and not broken down, locked somewhere out of reach, and the ammo somewhere else in the vehicle, it could certainly provide for self-defense in many situations. Let's say you're at an ATM to withdraw some cash and someone confronts you wanting your money (and probably your card). Or, you are boxed in by some hoodlums as they try to rob you by first intentionally causing an "accident". Or, you're suddenly the victim of a carjacking, or kidnapping, or any number of other possibilities.

I am one of those who got my CHP primarily so I could carry a handgun in my vehicle without having to leave it in the open where everyone could see it. I am free to slip it into a holster or into a pocket when I leave my truck if I feel the need. There are many places I can't go with the gun on my person, but almost nowhere that I can't leave it in my locked vehicle (hidden from sight).

Given your apparent attitude, I'm pretty sure you'll say the bad guy is more likely to get my gun and use it on me, but I'd rather have it and take my chances.

Anonymous said...

Chief- Curious to know if you support the proposed LB 565, which would make someone a convicted felon for not properly securing their handgun?


Anonymous said...


I see that bill would make it a Class IV felony. Predictably, that's an Ashford bill. Thankfully, that, uh, gentleman will soon be booted by term limits.

I don't think that (being a city official) the Chief can publicly stae support or opposition for any pending legislation on which the Mayor/City Council haven't yet taken a position.