Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Gun owners beware

So far in 2016, at least nine people with concealed carry permits have suffered the loss of their pistol through a theft from a motor vehicle. In all nine cases, there was no sign of forced entry, suggesting that the vehicles in each of these thefts was simply left unlocked.

These things happen, and I hate to beat up on people who have already been the victim of a crime. But with a concealed carry permit comes great responsibility. Among those responsibilities is the obligation to take reasonable steps to protect your weapon. One of those steps is to keep it under your control.

In addition to the nine concealed carry permit holders, eight other cases involved the theft of a firearm from a motor vehicle. Interestingly, of this total of 17 cases, only one involved forced entry.

Storing your pistol in your vehicle, in my opinion, is not a great idea. I'd rather it was in a lockbox in your bedroom than in the console of your vehicle overnight. It is also illegal to store it for more than 24 hours in a motor vehicle here in Lincoln (Lincoln Municipal Code 9.36.110).



10 comments:

JIM said...

Not a smart idea. Just wait right here, I have to go to the car to get my self defense tool. Really? The criminal would think he has attacked an idiot, and promptly retreat. This bunch of CCW permit holders are as dangerous as the meth brain thief. But on a good note, stupid is not against the law. Besides I have guns laying all over the place, ready for the picking. Morons!

Anonymous said...

Stopping by the bank. Church. DMV. Any posted business or establishment. Any one of a number of places where one cannot CCW legally. Still, not locking one's car is pinheaded.

If it's a bad idea for us, then it's also a bad idea for anyone. Does LPD prohibit (not discourage - prohibit) its officers from storing firearms in their POVs? If not, why not?

Might it be the same reason that carrying a firearm while off-duty and imbibing alcohol, while discouraged, is not prohibited either?

Tom Casady said...

11:26,

I understand stowing a firearm in a vehicle for a short term, such as stopping at the bank or going to church. I do not understand leaving it in your console all the time, which makes your short lapse (forgetting to lock it) an offense that allows a criminal to claim your pistol.

And yes, I discourage everyone--police officers and concealed carry permit holding citizens--from keeping their pistol in the car overnight. Put it in a lock box, place that in your kit bag, and take it with you, if you do not care to keep it holstered on your belt. Once you're inside your own residence, put it in your fast-action pistol safe if you wish. If you absolutely must store a gun in a vehicle long term, it would be better off locked in the trunk, in a locked case in the cargo compartment, or (even better) locked in an electro-mechanical rack attached to firm metal in the trunk. LPD policy prohibits officers from carrying firearms while consuming or under the influence of alcohol. General Order 2060.

Steve said...

There are other considerations, though I will admit there is more risk to a gun being stolen from a vehicle than one kept in the house. For CHP holders, having their gun with them at all times is pretty much impossible, given all the places you can't take it. However, with few exceptions, having it concealed in your vehicle is almost always an option, including when it is on your own property. To remove the gun from your vehicle every time you get out of it, and to have to bring it to the vehicle every time you get back into it, has several drawbacks. First of all, you have "concerned citizens" (aka busybodies) who will call police and report a person with a gun no matter where or when or what the circumstances are. That could be a major hassle. So, if someone sees me coming out of my house with a handgun in my hand, I might not get to work on time. I might be heading to work at LPS where I can't carry on the property, so I probably wouldn't strap on my holster, and if it's a nice day, I wouldn't have a jacket or anything that conceal the gun on the way to my truck. I don't park on school property, so I can leave the gun in my truck (though I always lock it). Also, there is very little risk of a gun going off in the glove box, or wherever you choose to keep it in a vehicle. Carrying it back and forth to your vehiclem possibly multiple times per day, increases the risk of an accidental discharge. Then, too, you have people who might see you with it and decide to come back later and steal it. If it is never visible to them, they won't have that advantage of knowing.

I would imagine most CHP holders have more than one firearm, so Jim's comment earlier is just a stupid jab at gun owners. He also infers that CHP holders are dangerous, when nothing could be further from the truth. Statistics I've seen show that CHP holders are safer and more law-abiding than even police officers.

I also take some offense at your accusation that leaving a firearm in a vehicle is an offense. It is not, at least not in terms of the law (except in Lincoln where you are limited to 24 hours if the vehicle is unattended, an ordinance that might be well-meaning, but is virtually unenforceable and doesn't stop gun thefts from vehicles; it only makes the owner a criminal).

Tom Casady said...

Steve,

I've been carrying a firearm since the Nixon administration. I really do understand these things. I have no problem with a permit holder keeping his or her sidearm in the console or door pocket when going about his or her daily affairs. My advice is simply that you not leave it there overnight. Bring it inside. If you can't, for whatever reason, at least lock it in the trunk.

And before you take offense, re-read my post. I think that's what I said: 24 hours. And yes, it will stop thefts. Not all of them, but in most of these cases, had the owner abided by this common-sense ordinance, he would still be in possession of the pistol that has now fallen into criminal hands--even if the owner had carelessly left his vehicle unlocked.

I'd just like to save a few concealed carry permit holders the loss of several hundred dollars, and the discomforting thought of knowing your pistol is now part of the black market trading stock.

Steve said...

I wasn't really offended, but my reference was to the second sentence in your 11:26 comment, not your original blog. My other point, that the 24-hour law does not stop gun thefts from vehicles, refers to the fact that a gun might just as easily be stolen within 24 hours of being left in a vehicle as afterward. This was not reported in most of the cases, but you have implied that most of the stolen guns you mentioned were left in an unattended vehicle for more than 24 hours. That may well be, but how do you know that? Did the owners admit it? If so, were they cited for breaking the law? If not, why not? The only way a law can be effective is if it's enforced. There are most certainly a heck of a lot more people failing to stop for red lights nowadays than in my younger days (percentage-wise). I attribute that to the fact that they can do it right in front of police officer without fear of being ticketed. I have seen it many times. Once, as I started up from a green light, having waited a couple of seconds for the intersection to clear, I was nearly mowed down by an oncoming car turning left in front of me. Had I not had the quick reflexes to avoid a crash, I could be dead. This happened right in front of a police car, and yet the officer did nothing.

I'm not out to attack the police for not doing their job, but my point is that if a law isn't enforced, it is a very ineffective law, at best. I doubt many people who were leaving guns in their cars before this ordinance have changed their habits due to it. Many of them probably aren't even aware of it.

I know you have good intentions behind your support of this ordinance, and yes, it could have an effect on the number of guns stolen from cars, but only if people obey the ordinance. It's quite obvious from your blog that they are not.

My guess would be that in some, if not most, of these cases, the theft of a gun was not a coincidence. As with most home-invasion robberies, the criminals know, or at least think they know, what they are going to find inside. I think that's a safe bet in these cases, too. If that is the case, I doubt the ordinance or even a locked vehicle would prevent the thefts.

Anonymous said...

How about passing a Law that makes it a Mandatory 20 year sentence for stealing a firearm? Also a Law with a Mandatory 5 yer sentence for KNOWINGLY buying a stolen firearm? These guns aren't being stolen to go rabbit hunting. The intent is to use them to sell for a quick buck or to use to commit another crime. Let them die of old age behind bars.
Gun Nut

Unknown said...

....or enforcing laws already on the books

JD said...

How about enforcing laws already on the books?

Tom Casady said...

JD,

I certainly think we do our part on enforcing the criminal laws, as around 20,000 or so people can attest every year.