Stealing a firearm from an unlocked car is described as a crime of opportunity. It is a crying shame that some gun owners make it so easy for criminals to obtain guns. Whether the car is sitting in your driveway or in a stadium parking lot there are some common sense things that every gun owner who carries in their car should be doing.Minimize the risk by engaging your brain to think about the possible outcomes of your actions. If your car is unlocked, anyone who can reach the handle can open it. There is a line of reasoning that leaving your car unlocked minimizes the amount of damage a thief will do to gain access. That rational may prevent a broken window but it is completely unacceptable if there is a firearm in the car.
The most convenient storage locations in a car are also the most obvious to a thief. The glove compartment, the console, and under the seats takes about 15 seconds to search. Interior factory locking mechanism are quickly defeated. They may deter shady valet drivers but are no match for a career thief.
There is about 1 concealed carry permit holder for every 12 adults in Florida. A random survey of 12 cars in driveways in a given neighborhood could yield one owned by a concealed carry holder. The percentage of gun owners is much higher and there is a cross- section of gun owners who carry firearms in their cars who do not have concealed carry permits. So the percentages go up when you factor in the number of people who have “truck” guns or other firearms in their cars.
This is not illegal in Florida. You don’t have to have a concealed carry permit to have a gun in your vehicle. However, if you don’t have a concealed carry permit, the firearm can not be easily accessed. It must be in a case that is not accessible to the driver.
Advertising associations can also make your vehicle a target for criminals who are seeking firearms. A “Protected by Glock” sign, a Browning Deer emblem, military associations, and even NRA stickers clue a potential thief in on the likely hood that the vehicle is driven by a gun owner. Now place that vehicle in a parking lot of a restricted location such as a professional sporting event and the probabilities of this vehicle containing a firearm goes even higher.
I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advise, you should consult an attorney familiar with gun laws in your locality to discuss your situation. My recommendations are to start with the exterior of your vehicle. Remove any indications that you are a gun owner.
Second don’t advertise to your family, friends, acquaintances and co-workers that you carry a gun in your car or that you carry concealed.
Third, if you keep or carry a gun in your car, get a concealed carry permit. This will allow you to carry a handgun on your body where it will be most useful in a carjacking situation. I don’t think long guns are covered unless they are also out of sight.
Fourth, if you are going to leave a gun in an unattended vehicle, install a safe that is bolted to the body. Ideally this would be accessible in such a manner that you can descretely transfer you carry gun from the safe to your holster without being observed. (See my February 5, 2015: Concealed Carry column)
This will likely be expensive and inconvient, excuses for why is isn’t done. But know this, every time a gun is stolen from a vehicle, it becomes ammunition for the part of society that is trying to remove you firearms from you through legislation and the courts.