My morning edition of the Portland Oregonian metro section had coverage of another drive-by shooting yesterday in our fair city. Nothing remarkable about that, alas. But the article is worth a close read:
"A car pulled over for speeding and squealing tires on a North Portland street Tuesday night turned out to have been involved in a drive-by shooting moments before . . . Two handguns were recovered from the backseat floorboard; one was reported stolen from Vancouver . . . At least three cars were involved in what police described as a gang-related "running gun battle" with nearly a dozen shots fired between the vehicles in the 8000 and 9000 blocks of North St. Louis . . . Remarkably, police said, no one was hit. "
The only good news about this would be the inference that gang-bangers don't have many opportunities to practice firing their stolen guns, and hence have less than perfect aim (though I won't claim I'd do better firing blindly from a speeding Chrysler Sebring.)
But the bad news is that break-ins and other thefts continue to provide criminals with guns. Here's another quote from the article:
"All guns on the street are stolen," [alleged shooting suspect Gary Lonell] Black told police, the affidavit says."
So there you have it from the horse's mouth--not the NRA, not the GOA, not the OFF--but from a shooting suspect himself: "All guns on the street are stolen." Please note that Mr. Black did NOT say that guns are flooding the streets because of any "gun show loophole."
The take-home message here is clear. As firearms owners it is our responsibility to keep our guns out of the hands of criminals. I do not support laws that mandate keeping your guns under lock and key, even when you're not home. When you are home, whether you lock up your guns or keep them "at the ready" is a personal decision you have to make by balancing your need for security from intruders with your own housing and family situation, (i.e. young children + loaded guns in bedside tables = bad idea.)
But when you aren't home it's only common sense that an unsecured gun isn't going to do you any good. You're only leaving it around for a burglar to find and then sell to someone like Mr. Black. And by doing so you help perpetuate gun crime and the anti-gun crusaders.
Do us all a favor: when you're not around, lock them up. If you can afford guns, you can afford a gun safe. If you can't afford a safe and only have a single firearm for protection; then I recommend you get a concealed carry permit and take it with you when you're not at home. Again, what you do depends on your own situation, but an once of prevention can hold off a lot of anti-gun extremists thinking more legislation is the "cure."