One of the most profound occurrences that has shocked me on this journey to launch Gun Leash is the belief that there’s no need to keep people from losing their handguns. Had I not had the experience of almost losing my gun, it would have never crossed my mind. I am a life-long gun owner and concealed carrier. And when I discovered the number of people who regularly lose their concealed-carry handguns it was shocking to me.
Seasoned gun owners are at the greatest risk
In fact, I would suggest that those of us who have carried for years and decades are most at risk. We lose our proprioceptive senses due to wearing a handgun in our favorite position daily. We stop “feeling” the handgun. And handgun holster technology keeps improving so the comfort of wearing a handgun makes you forget you’re wearing the gun.
If you carry a handgun daily, you’re 300 times more likely to lose your gun or have it stolen. We know from insurance reports some 380,000+ handguns are stolen each year. Sizing up the lost gun situation is almost impossible. With more and more states providing constitutional carry, or permit-less concealed carry, knowing how many people in those populations carry a handgun is inestimable.
Many lost guns go completely unreported
The other trend that I’ve discovered that’s rampant is, when a person loses a handgun, they don’t report it. Heck, they don’t even tell a friend. The embarrassment as well as the obvious fear of potential liability makes it a necessary secret.
When I thought I lost my handgun in a public restroom, I called an “organization” that provides services to gun owners and asked their advice on steps to take. She asked if I had already called the local police. I had, but said I didn’t since that was their opening question. I was advised not to report the lost handgun to the police. And if anyone ever had questions about that gun “just say you haven’t seen it in a long time.” She also asked if I have had workers at the home recently, to which I did on a remodeling job. “There you go” she said confidently.
Not all “stolen” guns were actually stolen
I will also offer that many handguns reported as stolen are actually lost. Some real-life examples that I can point to where the gun owner said something like this. “I was in (Department Store) dressing room trying on pants and placed my gun on the shelf on the wall. When I walked out of the dressing room, I forgot my gun. When I realized it, I immediately went back, but my gun had been stolen.” Was this gun stolen? Or lost? When you lose something of value someone always finds it. Did that person steal it?
People lose stuff. They lose wallets, jewelry, keys, glasses, purses, drivers licenses, credit cards… but for some reason people believe that no one loses guns. And if we look at the number of wallets and sets of keys lost on just one popular personal effects tracking website EACH YEAR people lose around 817,000 wallets and 1.45+ million sets of keys.
Why losing your gun can have serious consequences.. for YOU
I was interviewed recently on a podcast. At the end I had a chance to talk about Gun Leash technology. The host, who lives in California told a story about a woman he knew of who had a concealed carry permit, who left her handbag at a restaurant accidentally. She was on her phone as she exited the restaurant and got in her car. When she realized she had forgotten her handbag she immediately called the restaurant to explain she was on her way back. When she arrived, LAPD was waiting for her. The owner explained that he had no choice. Once he realized there was a handgun in her handbag, he was obligated to call the police. According to California Penal Code section 25850 abandoning a loaded firearm can carry felony charges.
An ounce of prevention…
As more and more states start to adopt language in their penal codes like Louisiana is doing, people who don’t take appropriate steps to protect against handgun loss and theft, who’s guns are later used in the commission of crimes, will find themselves in court as culpable defendants. The process will be the punishment. Thousands of dollars in attorney fees and I’m sure fines as well.
In the upcoming months I will be working with a Statistician to put a fine point on just how many handguns are LOST in America. Stay tuned.