Find ways to keep from losing your guns
By Eric Heyl
Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Handguns apparently are as difficult to keep track of as house keys.
You know those aggravating moments when you're scratching your head wondering where the keys went? A lot of Pennsylvania firearms dealers frequently experience similar frustration, except that they misplace Glocks and Smith & Wessons.
A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives report released on Monday revealed the Keystone State led the nation last year in the number of firearms reported lost or stolen from federal firearms licensees. The 1,502 firearms that turned up missing represent an impressive 9 percent of the 16,667 that vanished nationwide from those licensed to manufacture, import or deal firearms.
Of the 1,502 that disappeared here from licensees, the vast majority — 1,311 — were reported lost.
What conclusion can be drawn from that statistic? Probably that the people charged with responsibly distributing guns across the state are an unusually absentminded bunch that probably is prone to forgetting important family birthdays.
Overall, 190,000 firearms were reported lost or stolen by gun vendors and individuals across the country. The bureau is using that figure to add velocity to the brushback pitch it is throwing to the firearms industry by absurdly attempting to link guns to crime and violence.
What the bureau fails to note, of course, is that guns themselves are just clunky lumps of hardware.
To become dangerous, a gun has to be retrofitted with ammunition, a time-consuming and technically challenging exercise that few criminals can master. The gun's safety needs to be off. Even then, the only chance people have of being harmed is if they happen to be standing in a bullet's path when the trigger is pulled. If you follow the news at all, you're aware that an alignment of such circumstances is extremely rare.
Still, lessons can be learned from the bureau's findings.
I know we've all spent nights searching for our Walther P22 that we were certain we left in its customary spot in a living room candy dish, only to chuckle in amusement hours later when we find it in the baby's bassinet. But lest gun dealers and manufacturers appear careless to the anti-gun crowd, they should take steps to secure their inventory and perform better searches for lost firearms.
How can that be accomplished? Several suggestions follow:
• When looking for missing weapons, don't begin with places they are unlikely to be, such as the oven or shower.
• Try to recall the last time the missing handgun or shotgun was seen. Could it mistakenly have been left on the bus or under a seat at McDonald's along with an umbrella?
• Clean the area where the weapons usually are kept. Piles of dirty laundry can obscure even a medium-sized display case.
• Just as what commonly occurs with house keys, don't rule out the missing guns turning up where they should have been all along. Check the candy dish.
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Baldwin-Whitehall School Board eliminates controversial administrative position
- Penn State stymies Duquesne, 68-59
- ‘Apparent mercy killings’ claim 2 in L.A.
- U.S. suspends nonlethal aid to Syrian opposition
- Connellsville library to host Job/Career Club
- Rally pushes for answers in Ga. teenager’s death in mat
- First base options thinning as winter meetings go on
- Sign-language ‘interpreter’ pulls off fraud on world stage
- News Alert
- Some breast cancer treatments downplayed
- WCVI building’s fate still uncertain