Below I explore all the various angles and issues surrounding firearm storage in the car with a specific emphasis on the glove box or glove compartment.
Cars Are Legitimate Places Where You Need to Keep a Gun
Outside of our homes and our place of employment the next place where we spend the most time is in our vehicles. Additionally, our cars often carry us to places of greater amount of risk than our own home or work. The reasons for needing a firearm with you for defense in the car abound.
Further, since every concealed carry permit holder should feel empowered and encouraged to carry every day; just by using a vehicle for any transportation the vehicle becomes a transporter of the firearm as well.
In addition to the ability to respond to threats the gun also has need to be stored for a short while or long term in the vehicle on occasion. When a gun owner visits a “Gun Free Zone” like the post office or travels across state lines it becomes critical to have a secure and accessible storage system for the gun in the car.
The Most Common Solution is the Glove Compartment or Console
For most gun owners the glove compartment seems a natural solution to the issue of storing a firearm in the car or truck. Every vehicle comes equipped with a glove box which would generally fit a firearm. But as we explore the idea of storing a firearm in the console or glove box consider these major drawbacks:
It is the First Place Thieves Look
Theft from vehicles accounts for 36% of all thefts according to the department of justice. 1.255 Billion dollars of personal belongings are stolen in 1.85 million car thefts each year. That essentially calculates to a 1 in 100 chance that any US citizen with a drivers license will experience a vehicle theft each year.
When the thief breaks into your car where is the first place they always look? The console and the glove box. Thieves know these are the most common places to keep electronics and the best place to find your home address (via the registration and insurance cards). Keeping a gun in the glove box is a sure way to invite it to be stolen.
It is Not Secure
The glove box may have a lock on it but it isn't made to withstand force. A little bit of leverage with a crowbar and that very weak lock will give way. Add to this that should you lock the glove box and then begin to drive away, forgetting to retrieve it, you will be forced to stop the car in order to retrieve the key needed to unlock the glove box and access the gun.
Hard to Make Discreet
If you are in a position where you need to secure your firearm in the car when entering a premise where you can't have your firearm or when transporting the firearm across state lines you don't want to be seen shoving something into the glove box. At the parking lot of the post office, you don't want the people in the car next to yours seeing you slip that gun into the glove box.
Specifically Restricted in Federal Law 926a
The greatest reason why the Glove Compartment and Console are poor places to count on for storing the firearm is that they are specifically called out in the Federal Interstate Transportation of Firearms Law as not qualifying:
Under FOPA, notwithstanding any state or local law, a person is entitled to transport a firearm from any place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry it, if the firearm is unloaded and locked out of reach. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm must be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console. Ammunition that is either locked out of reach in the trunk or in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console is also covered. (Source NRA Guide to Transportation of Firearms)
So if you intend to leverage the federal firearm protection act in your favor in order to transport firearms across state lines you need a lockable container that is dedicated to that purpose.
You NEED A Portable Gun Safe Dedicated to the Car
Every gun owner needs a gun safe to be kept in the vehicle. Here are key attributes to look for in that safe:
Strong: Strong enough to prevent unauthorized entry by thieves, children, or other unauthorized persons.
Secured: Secured to the car be either a security cable or by mounting it to the frame with screws.
Easy and Fast to Operate: Able to open and close readily with limited time.