Lots of people and cops have a story about how they left guns in their cars, even for a few hours, while at the movies or their kid’s soccer game, only to come back and find the window smashed and their guns gone. Unless you have a gun safe bolted to the floor of your car – not a bad idea – you always run the risk of a car burglar finding your gun, especially when you leave it in the usual and first gun hiding places they look: the glovebox, the center console storage area, or if you’re really clever, under your seat. Even putting it someplace like in a tool kit in your trunk or under the jack or alongside the spare tire is too obvious.
Gun Hiding Places in Your Car
Leaving your gun in your car unattended, is like leaving your toddler or your dog in the car alone; just a bad idea. Leaving anything you value in your car – human, canine, or otherwise – with the keys in the ignition, is a horrible idea, even for a moment. Yet how many people do you see who leave their keys in the car at the coffee shop, the convenience store, the gas station, or even getting out to go to their mail box “just for a second,” and some enterprising (and lazy, since we made it so easy for him) crook to drive away with your metal or real baby.
Still, there are just times where you may not be able to bring your CCW into a place because of legal or logistical restrictions. This could include a necessary visit to a government office where they use metal detectors, a professional sports event or Disneyland, where they screen you, or any place you can’t safely carry or store your gun outside your car. Places like the beach, a water park with no lockers, or even visiting someone in certain hospitals where the guards wand everyone who comes inside.
If you must store your gun in your car, and you don’t have a small gun safe in there already, it’s time to get creative. My threat assessment colleague, Gary Hickox, from STARR Systems, in Broomfield, Colorado, recently gave a great workshop presentation on hidden weapons. In this explained both what we can learn from how crooks hide weapons, and what we can do to hide our firearms from them.
When it comes to your car, think about the things already inside which could hide your gun and not be checked by an in-a-big-hurry thief. This includes a beat-up old pizza box, a big crumpled empty box of candy, or even one of those huge Big Gulp soda cups, with the straw still inside the lid. You can fit your smaller caliber guns inside these and the majority of crooks won’t bother to look there. Think about putting your gun in a fast food bag of trash, on the floor of your car.
The dumber the idea sounds as a hiding place – at the bottom of a diaper bag of what appears to be full of used diapers (but is really just chocolate sauce you squirted on to clean ones) can create an environment no thief would bother to look into. Anything that can fit your gun and doesn’t look like it would need to get stolen is probably workable with a little creative effort. Leaving your gun in your EDC bag, backpack, purse or manly man bag, briefcase, or in the pocket of your suit, blazer, or cold-weather jacket is just asking for it to get stolen.
We’ve certainly seen plenty of examples of “stash cans,” ranging from designs for salt to soda, potato chips to even paint cans, all which are fake products designed to store whatever you can fit in there, legal or otherwise. Using your band saw to chop a nice rectangle out of a thick hardback or sturdy paperback book (the Bible seems to be used a lot for these) is an old favorite. These storage devices can be used in your car or home, mostly for your smaller guns.
There are two keys to the homemade or store-bought hidden devices you use: be consistent with whatever hiding choice you use, every time, and don’t forget that you hid your gun away. God forbid you throw away a $600 handgun because you realized it was in a pizza box two hours after the trash truck drives away.
While it’s fairly difficult to hide your gun in your car and have it go off negligently, at home, there may be many places your gun could do some damage to you or itself, based on not remembering where you stored it. Not in your oven, like the Madison, Wisconsin police chief, Richard Williams did, back in May 1998. It seems the chief had a habit of storing his Glock in his oven and one day he heated that bad Johnny up to 350 degrees and was surprised to hear a loud boom, as the gun melted, and the bullet fired through his kitchen wall. Per policy, he received a one-day suspension as proof that he outwitted himself by not remembering that was one of his many hiding places (http://bit.ly/2qGp7Nx).
Of course, all of the above works if and only if no one else has access to your car, adult or especially child. Leaving an unsecured and loaded gun, no matter how clever you think you’ve hidden it, will guarantee a child with 15 minutes of alone time will find it for sure. You must have complete command and control over your keys and the car door locks if your gun is hidden in your car.
We are creatures of habits, routines, and patterns. If you have to secure and hide your gun in your car, realize the limitations, the legalities, and the potential for tragedy. (Your gun is stolen and used to kill a cop or a kid, would be right up there with the worst possible outcomes.) Do the same thing every time, to secure it and hide it. Re-establish contact with your weapon when you are safely back in your car.
Do you have any gun hiding places in your car to add to this post? Let us know in the comment section below.
Contact Steve at [email protected] or on Twitter @DrSteveAlbrecht
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