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Bloomington Police provides tips for safely storing guns

Gun lock
Elaine Thompson
The BPD says safes are the best way to store firearms.

Amid debate on restricting access to certain guns, the Bloomington Police Department has advice for those who already own them.

The BPD sent the advice out via Facebook. The tips stress properly storing guns in safes to prevent children from getting their hands on them, and that gun thefts can happen anywhere. According to the post, 51 guns were reported stolen in Bloomington over the past 12 months.

Nearly half of those guns were stolen in December 2021. That’s when Smiley’s Sports Shop on Ireland Grove Road was broken into, losing 25 guns.

“Oddly enough, some of them came from a store that sold guns. That was a significant portion of those 51,” said BPD spokesman and officer Brandt Parsley.

Regarding storage, the BPD Facebook post said safes are the best place to store guns. Cars, on the other hand, are not.

“You can lock your car, but that’s not necessarily a perfect deterrent and it’s easy for people to get in — versus a safe where only you would have the code,” said Parsley. “We do have vehicle burglaries as you know, and that’s one of the things — if you break into a car, people find a firearm that’s one of the things they do take. So we just wanted to draw attention and make sure people are taking the proper channels to store their weapons.”

Parsley thinks the vast majority of gun owners are safe and responsible with their guns. But he recognizes a concern some gun owners may have: quick accessibility.

If a gun is stored in a safe, an owner might feel it takes longer to reach their firearm in case of an emergency. Parsley said it’s a necessary compromise.

“It’s kind of a trade-off, right? You’re risking a slower response time for the security of knowing they’re safe and secured and no one who’s not supposed to get them, children or someone who breaks into your house, will be able to get to them,” said Parsley.

He said using safes with new technology can help avoid any potential speed issues.

“As far as being able to get to them fast, some of the new safes — you can get to them very quickly,” said Parsley. “Some of them are operated by your fingerprint. You could leave it in there as the same as you could — pick any place that you’d want to leave it that someone would say it’s faster — tap your finger on it, it opens, and you’re ready to go the same as you were as if it wasn’t in the safe.”

The BPD Facebook post also listed a number of statutes showing there are legal repercussions for improperly storing firearms around children.

Jack Podlesnik was a reporter and announcer at WGLT. He joined the station in 2021.
Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.