Whether you’re traveling to San Antonio for the World Skeet Championships or National Sporting Clays Championship, or just to your local club, your trip is officially ruined if your gun is stolen! One moment of carelessness can leave your shotgun vulnerable to thieves. We asked our friends at Sportsman’s Insurance Agency, Inc. to share some tips on how not to be a victim of gun theft.
We’re looking forward to your arrival in San Antonio to participate in the World Skeet Championships and National Sporting Clays Championship. Sportsman’s Insurance has been providing insurance to NSSA-NSCA and its members for over 30 years. What follows are suggestions we’ve shared with our customers to help them protect their firearm investment and lower their risk of theft.
Before starting, we’d like to stress that “situational awareness” is the most important concept for protecting yourself as well as your firearms. Situational awareness is being aware of what is happening around you in terms of where you are, where you are supposed to be, and whether anyone or anything around you is a threat to your health and safety.
The safest option is to take advantage of the onsite storage service offered by the National Shooting Complex. The fee is $5 per day, per firearm, which is far less expensive than the cost to replace your firearm.
Secure onsite storage means you have less worries, freeing you to enjoy after-hours activities, eliminating the concern of theft from your vehicle or hotel room.
LEAVING THE GUN CLUB:
The majority of firearm thefts are from vehicles. If you choose not to store your firearms, we recommend that when you leave the club you drive directly to your hotel room to secure your firearms and shooting-related items before attending evening activities.
STORING YOUR GUNS IN YOUR VEHICLE:
If circumstances prevent you from going directly to your hotel, we recommend prior planning for protecting your firearms. For example, we know from experience that your firearm is NOT secured when lying exposed on the back seat of your vehicle. Prior to leaving the club, store your firearms on the floorboard or at the rear of your SUV, where the windows might be tinted. In addition, toss a blanket over the firearms, trying not to make it obvious that something might be underneath.
Note: Your shooting vest is not a good substitute for a blanket.
If eating at a restaurant, we recommend that you try to park your vehicle in sight. Also, choose a well-lit section of the parking lot to park your vehicle. Lastly, don’t forget to remove the NSSA-NSCA hangtag from your rearview mirror.
MAINTAIN A LOW PROFILE:
We recommend that you take an objective look at your vehicle to determine what message you’re sending to thieves, who are looking for crimes of opportunity. We’ve seen vehicles where bumper stickers and decals literally turn the vehicle into an advertising billboard, teasing potential thieves that firearms might be inside.
A thief will view your vehicle as an opportunity for a smash and grab. In as little as 60 seconds, you’ll lose everything.
CLEANING YOUR FIREARM:
It’s not uncommon to see someone cleaning their firearm on their truck tailgate, just before leaving the gun club. While you’re cleaning, this is an excellent time to exercise your situational awareness skills to help you spot potential problems.
Pro tip: It’s never a good idea to clean your firearm in the parking lot of your hotel.
LEAVING FOR HOME:
While it might be tempting to load up your vehicle with as much as possible before you turn in for the night, we recommend you consider an alternative. Load your firearms and shooting-related items just before your morning departure.
Hopefully you’ll find these tips useful no matter where travels take you.
For your convenience, Sportsman’s Insurance Agency agents will be available onsite, in the NSC clubhouse, during each event.