“This is outrageous.” – civilian
“How can police be this stupid to leave their guns unprotected in a car?” – civilian
“I’m wondering why you would ever leave a gun in the car if you’re not there.” – civilian
“I never leave my gun in the car.” – civilian
“My gun is on me 24-7.” – civilian
Outraged, critical citizens. Panties in a twist because awhile back, a police officer’s squad car was burglarized and stolen from within – an AR-15 and some pistols. I can’t recall why it made the national news, but it did and the auto burglary report was passed around Facebook. The car was legally parked while an officer ate dinner. Many righteous, indignant citizen comments, even cusswords were made about him by Facebook gun experts, rampaging about these guns “left” in a car. (Remember that the horrible, negligent, police officer himself was still armed while eating.)
I too am guilty of leaving guns in my car. I confess. For the record, someone burglarized my detective car one night in my driveway, first breaking the window glass to find nothing quickly removable, then prying open the trunk and snatching a back-up revolver and a shotgun. The good news was that the very next day while I was stewing over this personal violation, I had a midnight-shift, worker-snitch in a factory contact me, saying that a guy was snooping around the parking lot of the factory, trying to sell “police guns.” He said someone he knew in the factory was interested in buying them. I told my guy to help massage the sale and keep me posted. Then the next night, myself and another detective, Danny McCormick observed the night shift transaction from afar. We swooped in and “fell” upon the suspect. The two guns were indeed mine. I was very lucky.
Hey, it was a lucky recovery, but that loss only happened once in my 26 years of cop guns, cop cars and crime. When you think about the overall 40 some-odd, years that guns have been inside my cars off and on, the odds were and are pretty good that they remain safe. So are yours. What about the rest of us cops? There are some 2 million law enforcement officers (depends on the definition) in the US. And there is no sure way to know how many take-home cars there are, but we can safely guess are thousands and thousands and thousands of patrol, detective and admin cars are take-home, on the drive-ways and streets of America at night. “Abandoned,” as some civilians might critique. Some car salesmen suggest a quarter of a million police cars are take-home cars. Do you think that each and every night, every single officer carts every single weapon into his or her home? I’ll bet not. And still there are hardly any police car burglaries in comparison to the big national, picture. I know for a fact that hundreds of agencies in the US “assign” a shotgun to a patrol car or detective car. Take-home cars or not. Those guns are in those cars on government parking lots all the time. (Alarms today do help.)
But Dear Panty-Twisted Dipshits, do you not realize that every time officers leave their cars on a call, and lose sight of their cars when inside a mall, a business, a house, where ever, they are leaving a car with guns in it? Every time. Shotguns. Rifles. Pistols. Like that officer did when eating on his dinner break. Brace yourself. Armed police cars are left unattended ALL THE TIME, everywhere.
How about you? Do you leave some guns in your car for a few minutes? An hour? Overnight? Once in a while? Think they are safe in the trunk? Mine weren’t. And for this indiscretion I too, will be called all these derogatory invectives by these civilian, virgin, gun-toters, the same denigrations as the ”holier-than-thou” disparaged on that hungry officer mentioned earlier. (Watch how many people reading this will comment on how they judiciously pack and cart all their guns and shark repellent and so forth into their house EVERY single night. “Well, I do every…” They will declare.
Great. “You win a cookie,” as the late, great smart-ass, Don Rickles would say.
But this essay so far is just a round-about way to get me to pontificate about, and for you to think about…guns, cars…and even the gym. Yes the gym? Yes, the gym and your cars on the parking lot of the gym.
I was and still am a gym rat. I was and am in a gym 5 days a week if home. My dilemma was what to do with – first decades ago, storing my big-ass .357 magnum Colt Python, then storing my .45. Oh, and my badge too? Leave them in the car? The trunk? You know the lockers in the gym were burglarized regularly and the idea of leaving them in one was too dangerous. So the lockers were out of the question. Could I…wear the big-ass Springfield Armory .45 while working out? What about those extra magazines for when MS 13 invaded the weight room? (Have there been any mass shootings in gyms? I don’t know.) Should I be one of those people that hauls around a gym bag with my hand chalk, lip gloss, shark repellant, tourniquet, 3 mags and my handgun? Those gym bags also had a knack of disappearing off the gym floor too. Could I absolutely keep track of that bug-out/work-out bag, 100% of the time?
“Dear Chief…I was star gazing into the aerobics room and someone grabbed my gym bag, with gun and badge inside.”
“Dear Chief…I was bench pressing and while concentrating on my max, someone grabbed my bag with my gun and badge inside.”
Should I wear one of those “fanny packs?” (Watch out with that term because it means different things in different countries.). And then worse, I also ran both inside and outside when possible for a portion of the workout. It’s no fun running with a Colt Python or .45 bouncing in a fanny pack. But there are tighter “spandexy” kinds of fanny packs and drawers (underwear) body holsters. Do you carry a smaller gun for these gym workouts and runs? If so, where’s your big main gun? Whoops….in the car?
I did a casual, little survey back in 2016 on this subject with a whole bunch of cops I know from around the world. Know where their guns were? Locked in their cars, for most. I only found a few officers that wore a small gun in some manner in the gym or running (yeeessss, primary gun was – back in the car). And there were a few who did the gym bag thing. One bagger got in a bind with some bad guys he’d once arrested and pulled the gun out for a threat while in the gym. That incident was the single gym-gun-pull incident I could find in my gossipy, non-scientific study. But never mind the police. What about concealed carry people? What do they do with their handguns when at the gym? They have the same problems.
Police and citizens! Where is that gun or gun-tottin’ gym bag when you take the shower? In that flimsy locker? In a safe in your car? Just in the car? In the trunk? If you will listen to some zealous, gun guys? They sound like they shower with their pistols on them, or have them resting on nearby soap trays.
Look, I don’t care where your gun is now. I am not preaching about grafting a pistol to your body. I don’t really care what you do. But, just ask yourself – when you’re at the gym, or a restaurant? Or on a quick shopping or business visit? Work? Or, sleeping in your beds at night? Where are all your guns, Rambo? Honestly?
Fightin’ Words! Get the paperback. Get the ebook.