LETTER: Gun store owners should responsibility

Chris Hertig
Spring Garden Township
FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2016 file photo, handguns are displayed at the Smith & Wesson booth at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas. When gunmakers and dealers gather this week in Las Vegas for the industry's largest annual conference, they will be grappling with slumping sales and a shift in politics that many didn't envision two years ago when gun-friendly Donald Trump and a GOP-controlled Congress took office. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Keeping guns out of criminal hands is a social responsibility we all have. Gun store owners have an even greater duty for the safekeeping of firearms.

Burglaries of gun stores are not uncommon and need to be prevented and mitigated. Some gun stores in our area have been repeat burglary targets in the past.

Having the intrusion-detection system recommended by insurance isn’t sufficient. Our traditional approach to alarms is a broken business model; “without response there is no detection,” as physical security expert Mary Lynn Garcia once put it. Alarm response is too slow and has been for decades.

Detection is important as part of a layered defense incorporating all sides of the store. A system of detection involving natural surveillance, video, lighting and alarms is necessary. In some cases, a four-legged alarm is also useful as both detection and deterrence. Hardware and barriers that delay the intruder are very important. This is often the weak link in intrusion protection: delay, deny and hopefully deter an intruder. Deterrence is great, but elusive and hard to measure. Hardening the target with barriers, etc.  is appropriate for gun stores.

Unfortunately, detection takes center stage to the exclusion of other protective strategies.

That should never happen. One often simple means of buttressing detection is use of a local alarm of some type. Local detection can also interrupt the intruder via noise or  strobe lights and should be considered in the protection plan.

Some very simple means of local detection may well be overlooked, but they may be easily and inexpensively integrated with other systems. Others are more complex but also more effective: sprinklers that mark the intruder with a dye while a disorienting strobe is activated. The attack is interrupted with evidence given for future prosecution.

Selling dangerous items places responsibility on the shoulders of the seller. Education about physical security planning is a necessity for gun store owners and managers. ASIS International and other organizations can provide the necessary information so that informed, responsible decisions can be made.