With Easter less than three weeks away, the end of season is drawing near. It’s time for our beloved snowbirds to fly back to their northern homes for the summer. Keeping their valuables safe while they are away is important, especially their firearms. So, how do they protect guns from the threats of theft, fire, and of course the dreaded hurricanes?
The most obvious and easiest solution would be a good safe. It would protect your valuables from just about everything but a flood. However, it’s not the cheapest solution. You will need to spend at least $800 for a good safe, not including delivery and setup. The safe should too heavy to be lifted by a single person. It should also be bolted from the inside down to the foundation so it cannot be moved at all unless it’s open.
While a safe is a good solution, they are not foolproof. With the right amount of time and persistence, a safe can be broken into. Criminals know the snowbirds will be gone the whole summer, leaving more than ample time for breaking into the safe.
To help prevent the safe from being broken into, choose a safe with a hard plate that is almost impossible to drill through. A relocking feature is also recommended. If someone drills through the safe door and unlocks it, the safe will automatically relock itself.
Location of the safe is also something to consider. Don’t put it in a garage. The temperature changes can cause condensation, resulting in rust on your firearms. A room located in the center of the home is ideal, or pick a location that may make it more difficult to remove, such as closet.
A dehumidifier is advantageous to absorb any moisture and help to prevent firearms from rusting. A dehumidifier will run anywhere between $20 and $50. However, they typically must be plugged in and won’t work in the event of an extended power outage — a real possibility in the summer months here in Florida.
Some are rechargeable, but the charge most likely will not last through the summer. Local hardware stores sell silica packs that will also help absorb the moisture. I have even heard of putting an open bag of kitty litter in your safe, although I have never put this theory to practice.
A safety deposit box at a bank is another economical option. However, some banks have a policy against storing guns. You will have to check with the banks to find one that allows you to do this. For sure, call them before you show up with a firearm.
Since safety deposit boxes are not very large, storing long guns may be a problem. If you can break your long gun down into two pieces, you may be able to fit one or two into a larger safety deposit box, but if you have a bolt action rifle this is not an option. The size of your collection might also be an issue. If you have numerous handguns, then you may have to rent multiple boxes.
A trusted friend or family member may be called upon to keep your guns, but this puts the liability of keeping them out of the wrong hands on them. They would be just as vulnerable to theft and fire, but this option would offer you some security in the event of a hurricane.
Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to remember that is it your responsibility to keep your guns out of the hands of any unauthorized person. Locking them up securely is essential. Do not leave them in glove boxes. Cars are too easy to break into! It is also a good idea to write down the makes, models and serial numbers of all your firearms. Keep that list with you while you are away. In the event of a break-in, you have the information needed to report them to the local police department.
I hope some of this information is helpful in keeping your valuables safe and secure. Have safe travels and we will see all you northerners when you return!
Jenny Malone grew up in the Charlotte County area and is an NRA-certified pistol instructor and range safety officer. You can talk guns with her at J&J One Stop Gun Shop at 2324 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte.