OPED-GUNOWNERS-EDITORIAL-DMT

Protecting society starts with protecting personal firearms from theft.

In a way of thinking, gun ownership in America is deeply rooted in a desire for personal responsibility. Many gun owners carry a gun out of a desire to defend themselves if attacked, and many Americans take pride in being able to defend their family and loved ones by keeping a weapon in their home.

But there is another element to personal responsibility that attaches to gun ownership, and this one happens to offer an easy way to diminish calls for gun restrictions in the future. To wit, if more gun owners took simple steps to keep their lawfully owned guns from being stolen and used by dangerous criminals, then society would be better off and there would be fewer calls for more gun controls.

Consider what’s unfolding in Arlington, Texas. In this large and sprawling community, Police Chief AI Jones has noted recently that a recent spate of violence actually stems from criminals stealing guns from cars, many left unlocked.

Jones said he has seen a rise in violence in Arlington that is due to teenagers having access to guns and that most of the guns being confiscated by police have been stolen from vehicles.

In fact, over the past three years more than half of the firearms stolen in Arlington had been taken from a vehicle. Given these stats in just one North Texas community, we’d argue that gun owners better securing their privately owned weapons could be among the easiest things Second Amendment advocates could do to cut down on gun crimes and promote a safer society. Doing so won’t require passing new laws in Austin or Washington, and it should be noncontroversial. After all, who would favor a criminal stealing their firearm?

The Arlington police offer a few common-sense ideas on how to reduce gun thefts. They include the following:

  • Lock your vehicle when it’s unattended.
  • Hide any weapons in the vehicle and lock them away if possible, such as in a case.
  • Do not leave firearms in your vehicle overnight, and if you have children make sure they cannot access guns inside the house.
  • Record the serial numbers on your guns, in case they are stolen.

“It’s shocking how frequently we investigate break-ins or thefts where the suspect was able to get into a vehicle simply by opening an unlocked door,” said Tim Ciesco, media relations coordinator for APD.

That should never happen. Personal responsibility is a key ingredient to a free society, and it’s also a key ingredient to reducing violence in Arlington and elsewhere. In this case, protecting society starts with protecting personal firearms from theft.