You’ve just finished an afternoon at the range, and you and your squad mates decide to stop off at your favorite hangout for a burger. Wearing your team shirts and caps, you leave your car in the parking lot, guns locked safely in their cases in the trunk. On the back window is a logo for your favorite gun brand, and empty ammo boxes are scattered in the backseat.
When you emerge an hour later to go home, you find that your car’s trunk has been popped opened, and your guns are gone! How could this happen?
Sportsman’s Insurance Agency, Inc. tells us that the vast majority of gun thefts are from vehicles. Shooters leave their vehicles in parking lots with guns and other equipment stored inside, and even with the firearms out of sight, it often isn’t hard for the bad guys to know which vehicles in the parking lot to hit.
Put yourself in the thief’s shoes: one or more persons are walking across the parking lot looking like they just left the shooting range, possibly wearing a shooting shirt, gun company cap, maybe even a vest or shooting glasses. When he takes a look at the vehicle you just left, he sees the bumper sticker, ammo boxes or shooting vest in the seat, and he knows there’s a good chance he’ll find a gun in the trunk.
Consider these pointers after a trip to the range or while traveling to a shoot:
- When you get out of the car, do you look like you just left the range? What are you wearing? Does anything about your clothing or accessories say you have been shooting? If so, take it off or cover it up. If necessary, take along another shirt to change into before leaving your vehicle in a parking lot.
- Does your vehicle look like a shooter’s vehicle? Are there bumper stickers or decals from gun companies or other equipment brands? If so, remove them.
- Is anything visible through your vehicle windows that suggests you’ve been shooting? If so, put it in the trunk, and don’t give a thief any reason to break in.
- Whenever possible, don’t leave firearms unattended in your vehicle, even in the trunk. If gun storage is offered at an event you are attending, use it. If you’re near home, take the gun home to your gun safe before going elsewhere.
- Be especially mindful when you travel to a major shoot, like the National Championships in Sparta, when any bad guys in the area might be aware that lots of shooters will be around town, patronizing restaurants and other businesses. Unfortunately, every area has a bad element that is tempted by shooters who don’t have a gun safe accessible and may leave firearms in their vehicle.
- Make sure your guns and expensive equipment are insured. If all else fails and you are the victim of a theft, at least you will be able to replace the lost items if you are properly insured.