On the night of January 21, 1989 a pick-up truck was slammed through the side wall of the Accuracy Gun Shop in San Diego, California. Who could ever have imagined that anyone, so intent on stealing firearms, would take such drastic, such overtly flagrant measures to accomplish their aims. And who could ever foresee such an Arnold Schwarzenegger-commando-style break-in, let alone prepare or protect against it?
Granted, this event was one of those bizarre, but luckily rare cases which make the 10 or 11 o'clock news across the nation. But it calls to mind the ever present danger of burglary of firearms from America's gun shops. More frighteningly, it calls to mind the fact that this may be the direction such break-ins and burglaries may be headed. But what it should call to our minds is the importance of a good, sound assessment of the state of security of each and every one of the gun shops in America at this very moment.
Security to any retailer is serious; if he sells guns, it becomes deadly serious. Everyone associated with the shooting industry is, and is expected to be particularly concerned with the importance of security. They can either set the example for the community, or be held responsible to it.
In preparation for this article, I talked with retailers, security equipment suppliers and installers, law enforcement agencies, insurance agents, security and protection specialists and consultants. Each and every one of these professionals approached the topic of security from just a slightly different angle. Yet in the end, everyone arrived at the same conclusion; security is something which we must all be on constant alert to maintain. Each one of these professionals is keenly aware of, and experienced in those security problems which are particular to, and/or complicated by the selling of firearms, Each one provided a wealth of information relating to their particular security expertise. This collaboration by these experts should give the firearms retailer a well-rounded look at security and the gun shop. In most communities there are similar experts and professionals who can provide you with invaluable, often free advice and assistance with your security situation.
Basically, everyone agrees that security breaks down into two general headings: Protection and Prevention. You might think of them as the Defense and the Offense.
Under the heading of Protection, or Defense, we are dealing with the problems of shoplifting, burglary, robbery, break-in, vandalism and any other action which results in loss or damage. (Keep in mind that security extends to fire protection. A fire can cost you far more than a burglary.)
Under the heading of Prevention, the Offense, we must concern ourselves with safety. We must be constantly safety-conscious with respect to the merchandise we have on hand, as well as the safety or our sales staff, our customers, our neighbor stores and our neighborhood in general. We must also be concerned with the safe use and safe keeping of the merchandise we sell, and its continued safe keeping once it leaves our store. In short, we must be responsible for safety before, during and long after the sale of sensitive merchandise.
Take a minute of two to assess your current security status. Look around, walk around, ask around; do you, or any member of your staff find any weaknesses in your circle of defense? Are there any safety risks or potential hazards just lying in wait? Here, then, are some thoughts and ideas which I hope will get you to assess your present state of security, and at the same time, suggest where, how and from whom to get help to maximize its efficiency and effectiveness.
Who Can You Turn To?
Who is more concerned with, and experienced in security than your local law enforcement agencies? They are the ones you're going to ultimately turn to and depend on in security matters, so why not bring them in right from the start?
Following my own advice, I began my research by contacting Sgt. Roland Naauao of the Community Relations Division of the Honolulu (Hawaii) Police Department. (That's H.P.D., to you, Danno.) As Sgt...