My inspiration for part one of this three part series came from news this week that the shooter at the Oregon school had defeated “security” measures at home to obtain his father’s firearms. While I had my doubts that the firearms were actually secured in a manner that allowed access to only the father and mother, I still couldn’t help but think that some of these incidents could be avoided. While school shootings are still relatively rare, firearm thefts certainly are not. Frequently, I hear stories of guns being stolen because they were not adequately secured. In considering these cases, I was reminded of something I heard at an information security conference back in April (SANS Orlando). In my course, Dr. Eric Cole (a renowned infosec guru) emphasized that “prevention [of cyber attacks] is ideal, but detection is a must”. Since returning from the conference, this phrase has come to define all aspects of security for me. Though Dr. Cole was speaking specifically about information security, his basic principle can be applied to all sorts of security practices and I immediately began to consider how his advice could be applied to my home security obsession. It is from this inspiration that I have devised a (rather unremarkable, but incredibly effective) two part approach to help us gun owners vastly improve our security posture at home.
First and foremost, all gun owners should own some form of safe. If you only have a single long arm, something like a cheap Stack-on security cabinet will (unfortunately) put you way ahead of many people out there. For those looking to secure a single handgun, the GunVault line of mini safes should fit the bill. I used one of the cheaper compact models while living off campus at college and found it worked well and was easily hidden. These also come with cables so they can be easily secured to a nightstand or bed frame. Those who have multiple rifles, shotguns, or pistols should seriously consider purchasing a full-on safe. Staring at around $250, true gun safes are characterized by their mechanical dial or electronic key-pad locking systems and use dead bolts to securely lock the doors. While most low end safes offer little in the way of fire protection and can be defeated by a determined burglar, they will slow down any sort of intrusion attempts. Such measures should be considered the bare minimum for gun owners, especially in houses with children. As you are planning your home security layout, think of the safe as your preventative measure. Ultimately, your safe will be responsible for keeping the grubby hands of criminals and children off of your firearms.
While a safe can help with our prevention efforts both against criminals and children, a monitored security system should also be a part of gun owners’ security plan. Given enough time, an intruder can defeat any safe on the market. There is no better way to reduce an attack’s dwell time and detect intrusion than to install a monitored alarm system. I have previously reviewed Simplisafe systems and have installed three of them in the past year. At $15 per month, the monitored security offered by SImplisafe is an amazing deal. Those looking for more home automation options may choose someone like ADT, but it is not necessary from a security standpoint. My only goal is to catch intruders immediately. I couldn’t care less about adjusting my thermostat while sipping a Diet Coke and eating tiny pretzels at 30,000 feet on my way to the beach.
As gun owners, we can alleviate a lot of headaches for ourselves by simply taking a smart approach to security. As I said before, prevention is ideal but detection is a must. While I do not feel as though mandating safes or security systems would be right or even constitutional, as gun owners we need to take steps to ensure we have secured our firearms when we are away. With safes serving as prevention against burglary and monitored security handling detection duties, we can rest easier knowing our prized firearms will not fall into evil (or reckless) hands.