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OPINION

It’s time to pay attention to firearm security, gun ownership rights

Steve Gilliland
Pratt Tribune
A hunter, wildlife expert and outdoors enthusiast, Kansas columnist Steve Gilliland encourages citizens to pay attention to their gun rights and get ready to vote to keep those rights secure in the upcoming elections.

Amidst all the present craziness of our world, and because of the rampant civil unrest, gun and ammunition purchases have gone through the roof; some purchased by new gun owners and some by those who already own firearms, but all purchased with the thought that there may come a day when firearms may be needed to protect families and property. Several years ago, I wrote a piece about personal gun security, and this seems like a good time to offer some suggestions from that piece.

When I wrote the piece, my sister’s house had just been burglarized. The thief or thieves kicked in a door between the house and garage and stole a jewelry box containing mostly inexpensive pieces, and the remote (yes, only the remote) for her new TV (maybe they thought it opened the jewelry box, I don’t know!) But the stolen item that outraged her most was the deer gun the scoundrels found and took from under her bed. 

The Gilliland outdoors blood flows in her veins as well, and she was all but spitting nails as she told me the story.

With that in mind, I contacted the firearms instructor for the McPherson Co. Sheriff’s department and got some timely and practical tips on personal gun security. First and foremost, in the interest of personal safety more than gun security, he stressed storing guns UNLOADED either locked in a cabinet or stored with trigger or muzzle locks in place, and secondly, storing guns and ammo in completely separate locations WHEN POSSIBLE.

Immediately after purchasing a gun, the instructor recommended taking photos of the gun and recording make, model and serial number of the weapon as well as date and location of purchase. Keep all this info in a safe place, after all, how silly would you feel having this stolen along with the guns? As far as total security for your weapons from fire, flood and thieves, a home gun safe is the best way to go.

The gun shops I talked to in my area all agreed that sales of gun safes have been brisk for years. As with any other purchase, you get what you pay for, but good gun safes can be had from $1000 to $4000. I was also reminded that a home gun safe is a great place to store important documents, photos and other keepsakes.

The firearms instructor I spoke with also had some important advice in the event guns are stolen from your possession. Most importantly, notify local law enforcement immediately, and be able to provide them with the serial numbers and description of the weapons (remember the admonition to store that info safely?) This information allows the stolen weapons to be entered into a data base maintained by the national crime information center, making it possible for law enforcement officials anywhere in the United States to identify those weapons as stolen, take them off the street and return them to the owner.

Fears that the government might someday place restrictions and controls on guns and ammunition have risen in intensity now for years, and gun dealers tell me gun and ammo sales have risen dramatically along with those fears. 

Rumors or not, let’s not allow our emotions to control this situation. Be vigilant and support groups like the NRA and our state firearms associations that keep up with and influence those sorts of things in the government. 

Also, I can’t stress enough the importance of voting in the upcoming elections, as the outcome of those elections could possibly dictate whether or not gun control becomes more than just a fear. Take good care of the guns and ammo you now possess and follow the above suggestions if you haven’t already done so. 

As for my sister’s deer gun, at the time, she was able to provide all the necessary information to the local sheriff’s department, but as far as I know, her gun was never recovered. The good news was that for a while, she got a lot more exercise with all those trips back and forth to the TV since her remote was gone… Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.

Steve can be contacted by email at stevenrgilliland@gmail.com.