There seems to be a direct correlation with nice weather and increased weapons offenses … at least in my community. Over the years, I have responded to countless calls involving unlawful uses of weapons. Sometimes these shootings are accidental, sometimes they are intentional, but they are always preventable. Based on these experiences, I have a unique perspective and understanding of the strong opposition to gun ownership. Honestly, it’s sometimes hard not to sympathize.
Restrictive gun laws won’t keep guns out of the hands of those people who shouldn’t have access. The way I see it, that really can only be accomplished in one way – by having those who can legally possess guns act responsibly. Irresponsible gun owners are like bad cops; the media loves them, the public hates them, and it only takes a few of them to spoil it for everyone.
Not a week goes by (sometimes not even a shift goes by) that I don’t encounter people who have their safety jeopardized because criminals are able to acquire firearms. I really understand why some people are opposed to firearms, they are afraid and they don’t know what I know. I have the luxury of seeing firsthand how and why guns fall into the wrong hands. I believe that most criminals are able to acquire their firearms through uneducated, complacent, and often irresponsible gun owners.
I know from looking at the bulletin boards at my gun club and at the police department that gun owners sell and trade guns all the time. I am certain many of these sales aren’t going through appropriate channels, nor are the sellers ensuring these individuals can legally possess a firearm. Although this practice most likely results in guns ending up in the wrong hands, in my experience, a failure to secure firearms is the most significant blunder gun owners can make.
Unsecured firearms invite theft (not to mention accidents). Last August, hundreds of firearms were seized by my agency after an attempted burglary to a residence. The house was hit a second time after this story broke.
This article reported that law enforcement secured over 300 guns from this location. In reality, the number was closer to 800 guns. This particular gun owner owned a second residence in another community, which stored his remaining firearms collection. Trust me when I say I would love to have a gun collection even a quarter of that size, but with that degree of ownership, comes the responsibility of ensuring your firearms are locked up and inaccessible. The only part of this scenario that is uncommon is the amount of guns.
In the past month, I have been on several calls where guns have been stolen, or recovered after being stolen. What you might find interesting is that many of these burglaries and thefts aren’t committed at the hands of unknown suspects, they are committed by family members or personal acquaintances. The victims always seem shocked at the mere suggestion that a relative might be the suspect. A sound piece of advice: Be very cautious about flaunting your gun collections with family members or acquaintances, especially any family members with current or past addictions or financial troubles.
Police are not omnipresent and I believe people should be prepared to protect themselves. If you choose to protect yourself through gun ownership, make sure you lock up your guns.
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