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View Full Version : Regarding storing and locking a gun - Is this correct?



stardustx
03-09-2014, 06:16 AM
There is a small scene in which my character, after arriving home, stores and trigger locks her gun. In the following paragraph from my draft, did I make any errors or keep anything important out?

"She slipped her hand to her holster inside her waistband. She pulled out her Sig Sauer P229, and set the trigger lock onto it. Once it clicked in place, she laid the gun into the metal box, and closed the lid."

By the way, it is a combination trigger lock used.

NeuroGlide
03-09-2014, 06:34 AM
There is a small scene in which my character, after arriving home, stores and trigger locks her gun. In the following paragraph from my draft, did I make any errors or keep anything important out?

"She slipped her hand to her holster inside her waistband. She pulled out her Sig Sauer P229, and set the trigger lock onto it. Once it clicked in place, she laid the gun into the metal box, and closed the lid."

By the way, it is a combination trigger lock used.

She should unload the gun. Release the magazine, work the slide to make sure there is no round in the chamber, including looking into the ejection port and then locking the gun. Some people don't, but usually they thinking home defense and rapid response, so they don't trigger lock their guns either.

Also, if her choice of pistol has been pointed out before, why repeat it? If not, work it into a conversation.

StephanieZie
03-09-2014, 06:38 AM
I have no idea, tbh, but my gun-enthusiast boyfriend who's sitting right next to me says it checks out.

He did raise an eyebrow at the trigger-lock though. I'm assuming the gun is not used for home protection, as it wouldn't be very effective in a crisis if she had to unlock it before she could use it.

stardustx
03-09-2014, 02:18 PM
She's a bounty hunter living in Boston. The gun is for her job, and she just arrived home, therefore no longer being on duty.

I was wondering whether she should unload it or not. Thanks for explaining that.

Bolero
03-09-2014, 08:06 PM
I was about to ask country as in UK you are not allowed to store handguns at home.

slhuang
03-09-2014, 09:05 PM
Look up Boston gun storage laws; they should be easy to find. Laws for storage vary widely by jurisdiction. Just anecdotally, from the gun people I know, she's unlikely to use a trigger lock unless it's required by law (unless perhaps she has kids in the home or is obsessively safety conscious for another reason, but many people I know have very poor opinions of trigger locks as to whether they improve safety anyway). Guns don't just spontaneously go off, especially if you leave them unloaded in a safe. ;)

The only time I really see trigger locks recommended is when there are children around and there's a concern that there's that tiny possibility they could gain access to the weapons by accident.

She'd also unload any spare mags, btw, assuming she's not intending to need this gun immediately while it's stored (which the trigger lock / safe implies to me she isn't!). The springs in semiautomatic magazines wear out if you leave them loaded.

The biggest things that felt weird, though, were:



Her thinking, "SIG Sauer P229" -- this is her personal gun, right? Assuming this is supposed to be her POV and not an omni narrator, she wouldn't specify it so precisely. She's probably refer to it as her "SIG" (all caps) or her "229". Sounds very odd to hear her say the whole thing all the way out. ;)
The whole thing sounds very . . . detailed . . . for something that she'd be doing pretty much by rote. It's like if someone put on pants in the narrative by saying, "She put one leg into the jeans and found the floor. She pulled the denim waistband halfway up, to her knees, so she could slide the other leg into the other side. Then she hiked the waistband up to her waist, fastened the metal button, and wiggled up the zipper." You know what I mean? (Reminds me of this: http://www.bzpower.com/board/blog/326/entry-58514-if-all-stories-were-written-like-science-fiction-stories/)

asroc
03-09-2014, 09:40 PM
Handguns in MA must be stored in a locked container, but a trigger lock isn't necessary. And, like the others said, pretty weird.

If this is Boston, how did she manage to get a gun permit? Bounty hunters aren't exactly held in high regard by the BPD.

wandering
03-09-2014, 09:50 PM
Depends on the state but I would doubt a bounty hunter would trigger lock the pistol, then put it in a case. She would want something loaded and close by for self defense, in case one of her customers decides to harm her.

Trebor1415
03-10-2014, 12:40 AM
There is a small scene in which my character, after arriving home, stores and trigger locks her gun. In the following paragraph from my draft, did I make any errors or keep anything important out?

"She slipped her hand to her holster inside her waistband. She pulled out her Sig Sauer P229, and set the trigger lock onto it. Once it clicked in place, she laid the gun into the metal box, and closed the lid."

By the way, it is a combination trigger lock used.

Ok, there are a couple issues here. I'm going to focus on practical issues, not legal issues, as I'm not familiar with Boston area law.

1. Trigger locks are designed to be used on UNLOADED guns. A trigger lock is made up of two halves. You put one half on each side of the trigger guard. The "male" half has a post that fits into the "female" half. You snap the two halves together to assemble the lock. When the lock is fully assembled the complete unit fits around the trigger guard and completely blocks access to the trigger. (You can't even see the trigger)

The problem is, the post on the "male" half is right up against the trigger. If the gun is loaded it is easy to accidently fire the gun when installing the trigger lock by accidently pushing the post against the trigger. This is why trigger lock manufacturers say the locks should only be used on unloaded firearms. It's just plain dangerous to put a trigger lock on a loaded gun.

So, if you have her use a trigger lock, describe her first removing the magazine, and then racking the slide to eject the chambered round before installing the lock. Then she can install the lock.

The other issue is that trigger locks are, frankly, not very good. They are easily defeated and can typically be forced open and removed with as little as a screwdriver. Most professionals wouldn't rely on a trigger lock. They'd use a gun safe instead.

I recommend she have a small safe of the type designed to hold one or two handguns. A couple extra mags and the holster could fit in the larger "one or two handgun" safes as well.

Personally, if she keeps the gun in a small safe, I see no reason for her to constantly load and unload the gun. The most dangerous time when handling a handgun is when loading and unloading it and the more you do that, the more likely you will have an accidental discharge. Go to practically any police department in the country and I bet you'll find at least one bullet hole in the wall or ceiling of the locker room or bathroom from officers who routinely would load or unload their pistols at the start or end of a shift.

If she uses a small handgun safe she can choose to leave the gun loaded or unload it first. Either way, there is no point on installing a trigger lock on a gun in a safe.

I'd write it something like this:

"She drew her Sig 229 from the holster, set it on the table, and opened her small gun safe. She then re-inserted the pistol into the holster, placed it in the safe, closed the door and spun the combination lock." (When she goes to put the gun back on she'd draw it from the holster, set it on the table, put the holster on and make sure it's in position, and then reholster the gun).

Btw, there's no need to unload the magazine or extra magazines. Any modern pistols use high quality springs in the magazines and spring fatigue is not really a concern. If she's still really concerned about spring fatigue the thing to do is have extra mags and only leave half of them loaded at a time and switch out which set is loaded every six months or so. (That would be anal, but some people are worried about spring fatigue and that is the common advice for them).

EDIT: I forgot to add - One issue with constantly unloading and reloading pistols is that when you eject the round from the chamber, and then rechamber that same round later, the bullet can get pushed further into the case each time. This is called "bullet setback." When the bullet gets setback into the case far enough it compressed the propellent. This raises the chamber pressure when that round is eventually fired, often to unsafe levels. This is another danger of constantly unloading and reloading your pistol at the end of the day.

stardustx
03-12-2014, 12:26 AM
Thanks for all the input and suggestions. I'm glad I posted this since I didn't completely know what I was doing. I appreciate it. :)

Mark G
03-19-2014, 03:05 AM
I must be living under a lucky star, having loaded and unloaded my Glock many times without ever coming close to an accidental discharge...

I consider a trigger lock a waste of time if the gun is in a safe, so I don't use one. Also, I unload because I've heard that keeping a magazine loaded is a great way to wear out the spring... which can lead to a jam. So if I want a gun handy that's always loaded, I'd go with a revolver. Like a .357 magnum.