I don’t think it’s wise to leave an unsecured firearm in your vehicle. Especially if it’s where it might be seen and especially overnight. It’s not the best way to keep your firearm safe from thieves. Cars aren’t difficult to get into, after all, and if they have reason to believe there’s a gun in the car, they’re likely to get that gun without too much of a hassle.
However, I also feel it’s important to remember that someone doing something like that doesn’t make them responsible for the actions of another. In particular, it’s not their fault they got robbed. That responsibility lies on the shoulders of the scum who stole the firearm in the first place.
Failure to recognize that is just another form of victim-blaming, something we’ve been told for quite a while is very wrong to do…at least in some circumstances.
Yet that doesn’t stop the police chief of Norfolk, VA–my old stomping grounds–from blaming “irresponsible gun owners” for supposedly allowing their guns to be stolen.
The problem is, one of his more senior officers is part of that same group.
The Norfolk police lieutenant leading the violent crimes unit — overseeing elite detectives who investigate murders, shootings and robberies — left his gun unsecured in an unmarked police car earlier this year and had it stolen.
The theft of Lt. Shaun Squyres’ personal handgun came as his boss, Chief Larry Boone, spent the summer tongue-lashing the city’s irresponsible gun owners. Boone chastised them for leaving firearms unsecured in cars and homes. By doing so, he said, they were unintentionally — but consistently — arming murderers, gang members, even children.
Squyres, a 58-year-old Norfolk Police Department veteran of more than 35 years, left his Glock 9 mm Model 43 in his unmarked police cruiser, near his East Ocean View condo on Shore Drive, according to a department incident report obtained by The Virginian-Pilot. Between midnight and 5:30 a.m. on June 19, someone busted the driver’s side window of the 2015 Chevy Impala and stole the gun, along with a 9 mm magazine.
A law enforcement official familiar with the incident said the gun was unsecured, stashed in the driver’s side door pocket. The official, who spoke with The Pilot on condition of anonymity so they could candidly discuss the details of what happened, also said the department’s internal affairs division had launched an investigation into the incident, but wasn’t sure if it was finished.
It should be noted that Squyres was turned down for promotion to captain since this incident.
Look, I’m going to be blunt here. Boone is out of line to try and place the blame for gun thefts on the feet of people who are the victims of these thefts. It’s not the gun owners fault that someone walked into their home, violated their property rights, and took what did not belong to them. That’s on the criminals.
Squyres didn’t break any laws with what happened as neither Virginia nor Norfolk has regulations against leaving a firearm unsecured. Neither did any of the other theft victims.
However, it seems funny to me that Boone still has Squyres filling this role after his gun was stolen and while the chief is lecturing citizens.
Boone’s campaign started in June after two boys — ages 13 and 15 — were shot dead a few weeks apart in the Young Terrace neighborhood. The chief held four “Guns Down” events throughout the city between June and August. In late August, he announced he was forming a committee to attack the root causes of gun violence so we stop losing “generations upon generations of young black men.”
During the events, Boone told people he supported the Second Amendment, but added that owning a gun came with the responsibility of making sure it didn’t fall into the wrong hands.
“I don’t embrace the idea of irresponsible gun ownership,” he told Norview residents at NPD’s July 24 Guns Down event.
As the chief spoke, Squyres’ gun — stolen more than a month earlier — was floating in the ether. Who had it? A murderer? A kid? Had it been used to shoot someone? Kill someone?
No one knew.
Sounds like Boone needs to clean up his own house before he starts lecturing everyone else.
Also, a tip to Chief Boone: If you start with “I support the Second Amendment but…” what follows is usually a sure sign that you don’t really support it.