Lock, Stock and Barrel

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Claire Wright, CLA Regional Surveyor talks about making sure that your gun security is in order during the shooting season.

In recent months there has been a national increase in the theft of firearms and concern that certificate holders are being actively targeted by thieves.

Make sure that you have covered the basics of security when it comes to firearms. Fit a house alarm and ensure that you use it. Make sure you haven’t hung a key that is neatly labelled ‘gun cabinet’ on a key hook with other household keys or on a nail near the gun cabinet. Equally, don’t hide them in a drawer in the same room as the cabinet.

If you have multiple guns then you could consider having them in two cabinets to prevent a thief from gaining access to all the guns. Alternatively, use trigger locks even when guns are stored in cabinets to act as an additional layer of security. Thieves will also remove cabinets to break them open later so make sure the cabinet is fixed to an external wall and that there are no gaps which could enable it to be levered away from the fixings.

In some instances, people have been threatened to gain access to cabinets so it also pays to make sure you minimise the number of people that know you have guns at home. In this way, you can avoid putting you and your family at risk. Think twice before grabbing your shotgun certificate to use as photographic identification as in doing so you are increasing the pool of strangers who know you have guns at home. Also, try not to hang gun slips and cartridge bags on pegs near the front door as this can be an obvious sign to a caller that guns are present on the property. Try to minimise your postings about shooting on social media accounts, especially those that are publicly viewable. The police are also taking a dim view about personal number plates like 1 GUN that advertise the owner’s interest in shooting.

On the subject of vehicles sometimes it is unavoidable to make a stop on your way to or from shooting whether that is at the service station or elsewhere. In these circumstances you should take the fore-end with you and leave the barrels in the car; if it is a rifle you have with you then remove the bolt and carry that with you. Alternatively, you could look to invest in a security cable that prevents the gun from being removed from the car or a purpose-built vehicle gun safe. Don’t advertise the presence of guns in the vehicle by leaving your shooting paraphernalia on public view.

Finally remember that guns must always be stored securely unless being used, cleaned or repaired. After a day shooting it is easy to prop the gun in a corner with the intention of cleaning it after supper. However, it is important to put it away in the cabinet as if you are caught with an unsecured gun you will likely end up having your certificate revoked.

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