Quite a few years ago, I made a trip to visit my folks. Out of respect for my mother’s wishes, I took my Colt revolver off and put it on the shelf in the hall closet. That’s an old-time tradition in the Southwest—the old-timers didn’t go into someone’s house wearing their spurs, leggings, or guns. It was a way of showing respect and friendship.
About the middle of the night, on this visit, my mother woke me up with the news that someone was rummaging around out in the workshop. Jumping up, I collected my Colt from the closet as I headed off to see what was going on. What was going on turned out to be a burglar who broke and ran, empty-handed, when he heard me coming.
Going back into the house, I put my gun back up in the closet. You can imagine my shock when there on the shelf were my cartridges. Mother had decided that my gun would be a lot safer if it was empty, and she had done me a great favor by unloading it for me—she was sure that I had just forgotten to do so. I learned a lesson that night. Since then, my defensive handgun is either on me or within reach, or it is locked up.
Having someone unload your handgun is just one thing that can happen when you cannot maintain control of the piece. Obviously, it could also be stolen. Worse yet, someone could end up hurting themselves or someone else while messing with your gun. Lots of things could happen and the vast, vast majority of them are bad.
Nowadays, I keep my gun on my person most of the time. I’ll use a concealment garment of some kind so as not to upset the faint of heart. When, for whatever reason, I can’t have the gun on me, I try to think ahead and have a plan for securing it. And I mean really securing it so that someone else can’t get their hands on it. It’s the smart and safe thing to do.