Why Would You Need To Secure Your Firearm In The Car?
You need a good way to secure the firearm in the vehicle simply because you will go places where you can either NOT have your firearm with you or you will be required to transport it in a secure way. Examples include:
- The Post Office and any other Federal Building or Secure Area
- Schools (Local Law Depending Of Course)
- Other Gun Free Zones
- When transporting through states that do not honor your permit(s)
Gun free zones, legally imposed or otherwise, are common places where you may need to disarm before entering a building or property. Perhaps your employer doesn't allow firearms, you have to serve on a jury at the local courthouse, or you need to enter your kid's school to talk to a teacher. In each of these situations (local law depending) you will likely have to disarm and leave your firearm in the vehicle.
In addition, as you likely are aware, despite any local laws Article 926A of FOPA grants you the right nationwide to transport a firearm through any state so long as it is properly secured and/or not readily accessible. (More information about 926A here) When you travel through a state that doesn't honor your permit you need to secure your firearm to be in compliance with 926A.
How Not to Secure the Firearm In the Car
- Shove your gun under the seat
- Stick it in the Glove Box (locked or otherwise)
- Put it in the console
- Leave it visible
- Secure it in the trunk
I know gun owners who exit their vehicle, open the trunk of the car, and then disarm as discretely as possible into the trunk of the car. While secure, this is a bad practice. You are less likely to remember to rearm when you return to the car, and bystanders are more likely to discern or see your firearm.
Why Not the Console or Glove Box?
A few years ago I wrote an entire article solely focused on the reasons you should NEVER store your firearm in the glove box or console. The short version? Criminals are most likely to look there first for valuables if they break into the car, even when locked the glove box is really easy to force open, and Article 926A specifically mentions the glove compartment and console as NOT qualifying as secure storage.
You need something much better!
What Are The Best Practices and Considerations?
You need a gun safe. Something specifically designed to protect your firearm from unauthorized users. Further down in this article I will get more detailed about the safe itself but first some other best practices…
Secure The Safe To The Vehicle
One of the greatest challenges of firearm security in the vehicle is the issue of securing the safe to the vehicle. The safe doesn't do you much good if any intruder to the vehicle can simply grab the safe and haul it off to be forced open later with the right tools.
The easiest way to solve this problem is with a security cable as shown in the above picture. A lot of smaller gun safes have a small hole on the side specifically designed for being tethered to a simple security cable.
You can secure it to the frame of the vehicle in some places but I've found most vehicles have a place in the seat where you can wrap the cable around. Seats are often extremely difficult or even impossible to remove without specialized tools and knowledge so they make for great anchors for your safe's cable.
Whatever you do to secure your safe, be sure it is effective and practical.
For daily use, you ideally want your secure firearm to be easily accessible. Putting the safe in the trunk or anywhere you cannot reach from the driver's seat is going to create some challenges. First, you won't be able to secure and retrieve the firearm as discretely. Second, when you first return to your vehicle there will be a greater delay in the time before you are armed once again.
Keep it Hidden From Plain View
Ideally, you don't want to use a firearm safe that is kept in the vehicle such that any passerby who even glances into the vehicle will notice the safe there. This will act as a temptation to criminals and identify you as a gun owner to anyone who takes a ride in your car.
Look for places (and safes) that can be discretely stored out of sight. I have found one of the best solutions is to put the safe under a seat.
The Best Gun Safes For Firearm Vehicle Storage
Now after reading all my ramblings above you know that some key characteristics of a functional gun safe for the vehicle include:
- Slim Enough To Fit Under A Car Seat
- Able to Tether to a Security Cable
- Strong and Secure From Criminals and Unauthorized People
Most “Clamshell” style safes fit the bill and my favorites are the Sports Afield RV1 Lightning Safe and the Gun Vault MicroVault. They both will get the job done and they both have some advantages over the other. I recently did a head to head comparison video where I compared them.
Ok, I'm ready to hear your comments. For those of you who already have a good setup in the car please share with us in the comments below what you are doing and what safe you are using that works best for you.