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Old June 14, 2019, 08:23 AM   #1
rpseraph
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Accountability (Firearms in a car, plain view!)

I work in an office setting, about 500 employees on site. I got back from lunch on Wednesday and glanced in my parking-neighbor's car and saw a few rifle cases, a range bag, used targets, and a pile of ammo boxes. Then I noticed the doors were unlocked I debated what to do and decided to at least leave a note.

1) You are begging to get that stuff stolen
2) Don't give free firearms to criminals
3) You are giving firearms owners a terrible name/reputation
4) If the wrong person sees that in the parking lot of an office building, you're going to get the police called!

On Thursday, I saw the same vehicle in the same spot. Same contents. Same unlocked doors. This time it was hot out so the windows were 1/3 of the way down too. *Facepalm* I decided that this time I had to talk to this guy. It was a bit of a sensitive situation because I am a member of leadership. I sent an email to the whole 500 people and asked for the "owner of a green Ford Escape parked 'here' to please reply just to me (SOP for headlights on, bad parking, etc)

The guy replied to me and I pulled him into an office. I made it clear that I was just talking to him as a friend and fellow firearms owner. I shared my concerns. He apologized and said "I just keep forgetting to bring it in, I'll do it tonight." He appreciated that I didn't tell security or call the cops.

Hold each other accountable! Teach each other. Good times
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Old June 14, 2019, 12:08 PM   #2
DaleA
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Good for you. This is the "common sense" gun stuff that really is common sense. Still, the guy should have gotten the message after the note.
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Old June 14, 2019, 12:43 PM   #3
Aguila Blanca
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I think you handled it well. And I certainly agree that it needed to be addressed.

I've been getting e-mails from Connecticut about a new safe storage of firearms in cars law that just passed. Your colleague's storage practices will be illegal in Connecticut as of October 1 -- even if he locks the doors.
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Old June 14, 2019, 01:41 PM   #4
SIGSHR
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That's what trunks are for. There's a soup kitchen in Trenton, NJ, they tell volunteers to leave nothing in plain sight in their cars.
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Old June 14, 2019, 02:03 PM   #5
Aguila Blanca
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Fine if you have a trunk. Sedans are a dying breed in the United States. Sales of SUVs, vans, and pickups FAR outpace sales of sedans (and coupes) that have actual trunks.
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Old June 14, 2019, 02:07 PM   #6
rpseraph
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Fine if you have a trunk. Sedans are a dying breed in the United States. Sales of SUVs, vans, and pickups FAR outpace sales of sedans (and coupes) that have actual trunks.
The best part is he had an SUV with one of those retractable cargo covers.
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Old June 14, 2019, 02:24 PM   #7
NoSecondBest
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Here in NY, as far as handguns are concerned, the official standard is "your car is not a gun safe". I have seen people lose their pistol permits for reporting that their handgun was stolen out of their vehicle. This isn't new either, it's been that way since I got my permit fifty years ago. I was an instructor for many years and I always made it a point to let every person taking the class that it was their responsibility to secure their firearm safely.
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Old June 14, 2019, 03:11 PM   #8
Aguila Blanca
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When I head home after a range trip, I'm usually in a Jeep Cherokee (the older, "real" Jeep Cherokee). No fabric cover for the luggage area, but the rear door, rear fixed, and liftgate windows are dark tinted. Even so, if I'm bringing targets home I make certain to put them face down. Then I put other items on top, and I have a small (5'x7') blue poly tarp that I can throw over everything.

And when I get home, everything shooting related comes out of the vehicle immediately. Heck, I live in a "safe" suburb and it's not considered safe to leave a car unlocked in your driveway. I can't imagine leaving a car unlocked, with or without the windows open, in a parking lot at work. The guy must be living in a time warp -- he thinks it's still 1950.
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Old June 14, 2019, 04:15 PM   #9
Bartholomew Roberts
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Good leadership. I was raised to both mind my own business and to place the blame on the thief rather than the victim; but these days, everywhere you go there is a percentage of the population that will steal those things and you ARE going to come across them.

In an area like DFW, a week doesn’t go by that someone doesn’t get a firearm stolen out of an unlocked car. Most of the time the thieves aren’t criminal masterminds, they are kids going around seeing who left a car unlocked. Arming kids who are already casual about the law and often engaged in substance abuse leads to the kind of societal problems that increase support for restricting our freedoms.
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Old June 15, 2019, 09:01 AM   #10
Mainah
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I keep one of the cup holders in my front seat full of quarters. You can't see them from the outside clearly, but I figure they'll keep a thief busy if he breaks in. They usually want to grab and go.

That wouldn't justify keeping guns in plain site. But it could be a useful distraction that protects the flashlight, sunglasses, and other items of more value that are also more hidden.
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Old June 15, 2019, 01:49 PM   #11
T. O'Heir
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"...handgun was stolen out of their vehicle..." Happens to our cops, mostly the Provincial cops(our cops are paid $100 grand per annum plus benefits) on a fairly regular basis. If any "civilian" had a firearm stolen out of his vehicle, he'd be charged, lose all of his firearms and his licences.
"...I'll do it tonight..." Did he? Some guys need a shake to get 'em to do anything.
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Old June 15, 2019, 06:45 PM   #12
mellow_c
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To the OP: I think you handled the situation well. I’m glad you did so with compassion and a reasonable amount of secrecy. The advice you game him will likely stick with him.

For me, if the vehicle is parked anywhere before or after range time, and I mean anywhere for any length of time. . . I make sure to position things in such a way that they are difficult if not impossible to see from outside the vehicle. If that’s not possible I try to do whatever I can to block the contents from view by covering the stuff with whatever is available, be it a jacket, tarp, emergency vehicle bag that holds jumper cables and the like, even use the windshield sun visor shades to one degree or another.

Of course I also try to make it look like I’m not trying to hide anything.
In other words, make your car look like a disorganized mess of worthless stuff, even if it’s generally clean and organized. Moving two or three things in such a way can really make the difference.

My range bag looks like a plain old middle school/ high school kids backpack. Doesn’t even look like a nice bag like an organized “office” person would use to keep their valuables in, let alone something that has a “tactical” gear type feel. This is my intent of course. In fact, I’m pretty sure I got it for free a long time ago, cleaned it up and found that it had the right amount of space and pockets to do everything I needed it to do. Sometimes I use the bag its self to help hide things like the rifle case.

Doors ALWAYS locked.

And if that stuff is in the vehicle, the windows are likely rolled up all the way, or at the most cracked just a pinch. It can be pretty easy to break into a car with power door locks from the opposite side using a long stick or bent cloths hanger.

Obviously, it depends on the area you live in as to how concerned you feel you should be, but doing your best to keep your vehicle and its contents off anyone’s radar, and so that it possibly doesn’t even appear as a target, is really everyone’s best practice in my opinion.

I’d rather show up to the range looking like an average joe or even like I don’t have much money or nice things, than to show up to my vehicle looking like a fool because all my awesome and fancy looking guns and gear just got stolen.

I see guys at the range all the time who drove there in their nice brand new trucks or expensive cars, with really nice cases and range bags, shooting extremely high dollar 1911s and nice precision rifles and who knows how many more thousands of dollars worth of stuff. Only to find that their slow and steady handgun groups are the size of a grape fruit at 7 yards or the size of a watermelon at 15!

And honestly, to keep on subject. That’s all great! They have nice stuff!!! So do I! And they will get better if they keep practicing! And so will I! I just hope they don’t speed too much time in the local Walmart parking lot on their way home with all that fancy gear laid out in plain sight.

Who’s to say?

This is a subject worth thinking about though. For everyone who doesn’t have the luxury of just walking out their back door and setting up on the picnic table to take some shots across the field on their own property.

Last edited by mellow_c; June 15, 2019 at 07:12 PM.
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Old June 16, 2019, 09:20 AM   #13
DaveBj
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Good topic. My practice for in-vehicle storage is out of sight, and doors locked; for my truck -- in the bed and tonneau cover locked. The locks aren't exactly worthy of Fort Knox, but someone trying to get into the back of my truck in a lighted parking lot would be rather obvious, and what they can't see, they can't know is in there.

D
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Old June 16, 2019, 10:21 AM   #14
buck460XVR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpseraph View Post
I work in an office setting, about 500 employees on site.
So with an parking lot of that magnitude, do they have security? Hard for me to believe that anyone would leave a car unlocked and with windows open with any possessions at all, much less firearms, if there wasn't some form of protection from theft.

Where I work, the parking lot is constantly monitored by cameras. Start peering in and looking at what others have in their backseat will get you a call to the district office. So I tend to not look and see what others have in their vehicles.

While I agree we need to hold each other accountable, I am not always my brother's keeper. Nor would I feel it a personal responsibility to admonish a fellow employee unless I was their supervisor. The sending of a mass e-mail to 500 others in order to single out the "Green Escape" is not really holding yourself accountable. A supervisor would have been able to identify the owner in a more subtle way and able to address the problem just as efficiently. This also probably would have been looked upon by administration as a more productive way to address the problem, since you did not know for sure the guy was just forgetful and careless, and otherwise a responsible gun owner. There could have been other nefarious reasons he had those firearms in his car and your personal addressing of it to the entire workforce, may have forced his hand.
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Old June 16, 2019, 12:09 PM   #15
Brit
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Give him a heart attack. Pop the trunk, move all his stuff into it, lock doors, leave.
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Old June 16, 2019, 02:28 PM   #16
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brit
Give him a heart attack. Pop the trunk, move all his stuff into it, lock doors, leave.
So you're assuming that the miscreant's vehicle has a trunk (or "boot," in deference to your origins)?
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Old June 17, 2019, 08:06 AM   #17
rpseraph
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So with an parking lot of that magnitude, do they have security?
No physical security presence on site, but lots of cameras. Ask London, cameras stop all crime

Quote:
"...I'll do it tonight..." Did he? Some guys need a shake to get 'em to do anything.
He was off on Friday and I was off the weekend, I'll look for his car today
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