Safe and Secure
12:12 31 October 2011
As shooters we have the responsibility to be safe. Matt Clark looks at how airgunners can get behind a new airgun security initiative
At the mention of safety Im sure a fair few of you are already starting to turn the page. But stop! Even if you think you know it all, or feel that this feature is going to include blindingly obvious information, read on because you might learn something that could prevent an accident.
Even if you know it all, you wont have heard of a new initiative called Lock Time. Designed to eliminate the misuse of airgun by those who dont appreciate the rules of safety as much as we airgunners do, Lock Time will raise awareness of safety and provide practical advice as well as the means to put that advice into action. Backed by the companies that form the Airgun Manufacturers and Traders Association (AMTA) all members have agreed that they will supply, free of charge, a security lock with airguns sold in the UK. This will be backed by an information campaign, of which this article is part.
OUT OF SIGHT
One of the first steps to keep your airguns safe from people who would misuse them is to keep them out of sight. Most of us have to travel to our shoots, whether that is a club, HFT competition or farm. Naturally all of us travel with our airguns in a slip or bag because it is a legal requirement. But if you leave your rifle on the back seat of a car its an open invitation for thieves and miscreants. After all, would you leave 500 (the cost of an average PCP) on the back seat and expect it to be there when you got back? Always travel with your rifles safely locked in the boot. If you have an estate car or 4x4 always make sure the parcel shelf or boot cover is pulled over the guns, so they are covered from prying eyes.
Keeping your airguns out of sight at home is equally as important. Its not a legal requirement to lock away your sub 12ft.lb. airguns, but it is advisable to keep your airguns away from those who might misuse it. This includes your own children as well as thieves.
A purpose built gun safe or cabinet is ideal for this. These should be located inside your house rather than garden sheds, which are easy prey for burglars. Its also not advisable to locate your gun cabinet in an attic. Yes, its certainly out of the way, but if its difficult to get to, then its unlikely you will bother to lock your airguns in there and will just leave them lying around the house.
I lock up my airguns with my shotguns, which gives me peace of mind because the gun safe is bolted to the floor and main wall. But if you dont have a purpose built cabinet, or dont want to spend money on one, then there are alternatives. You can lock your air rifles in a wardrobe or cupboard. Some airgunners even use a ring bolt mounted to a wall (so long as its out of sight) and chain their guns to it using the sort of locks AMTA are going to provide.
An added security measure is to use a trigger lock. This device ensures that your air rifle cannot be fired even if it is not locked in a cabinet.
One thing to remember is to keep the keys to your lock or gun cabinet in a secure place, not on top of the gun cabinet or in the locks.
Your airgun pellets can also be stored in the locked cabinet with your guns, or you might choose to store them separately in a locked container, so that if your gun cabinet is broken into the burglar cant load your rifle. A petty cash tin that can be bought from most hardware stores are good for this, or you can use any lockable box. This should then be hidden somewhere safe.
Im sure many of you already knew most of this, but the important thing is not just to know it, but to act on it. Airguns in the hands of people who know what they are doing are very safe, but we must act to keep them out of the hands of those who dont appreciate safety as much as we airgunners do. Become part of the Lock Time initiative and ensure your guns are securely stored.