CONCEALMENT Preview – Vehicle Firearm Storage Jody Lewis Join the Conversation We Look at Options to Adapt Your Ride for Security and Rapid Access This past summer, my family embarked on a road trip to Yellowstone National Park that had us driving through several states. Like many of you, I prepare for every trip by planning for the worst possible scenario that I can imagine. My pack list often includes items we will need in case of emergency and supplies to help us if stranded, or worse. Traveling through several states poses an issue for concealed carry holders, because the relevant laws vary greatly from state to state. I rarely leave home without my sidearm and had to research the relevant options in each state our little group would pass through. From Washington state, our path meandered west and southwards through Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. With a Washington concealed pistol license being recognized in Idaho and Montana, my CCW remained in its usual position. But in Wyoming, I had to ditch concealing it to comply with local laws. However, Wyoming allows open carry — so while in Yellowstone, that’s what I did when out of the car. While in the driver seat, however, I had to remove it from my person and often found myself leaving it in the car when stepping out for gas station breaks. With a vehicle full of little kids, having an unsecured handgun wasn’t an option and the lack of OEM storage solutions stoked my frustration. I hadn’t planned on how to lock up my firearms when left in the car, presenting a serious conflict — leave it behind, or open carry everywhere? What about restaurants that serve alcohol? This dilemma led to a lot of research on options for safely securing firearms in a vehicle. It makes perfect sense — we use safes at home to lock them up when not in use, so why not in your vehicle? With more than 11 million concealed permit holders currently in the United States, this situation is hardly unique. Concealed carry has become more prevalent than ever before, but at this time, there’s no national or federal law governing concealed carry or storage for interstate travel, so please refer to your local laws and those of the states you plan to visit. Weapon security always presents a balancing act between speed of access for the legitimate user and prevention of unauthorized use for as long as possible. Any parent knows full well how important it is to ensure that your kids don’t have access to your gun, while at the same time if you need it fast, you don’t want to have to fumble to get it. There are essentially two categories of options for in-car firearms storage: secured or unsecured. Unsecured storage provides a means to access a weapon without having to deal with the encumbrance of clearing your seatbelt or messing with a holster that has trapped the gun between your body and the seat. If you opt not to carry your firearm on your body, this is a potential solution (don’t forget to check your local laws) — but you need to remain with the gun at all times or take it with you. These products are not designed or intended to keep children or thieves from gaining access. Unsecured Holsters Unsecured holsters provide quick and easy access to a firearm while you are in the vehicle. While this may not be allowed in all states, it’s an option that is viable for some. Make: Safariland Model: Quick Locking System Kit MSRP: $30 URL: www.safariland.com Notes: The Quick Locking System (QLS) Kit from Safariland is a quick-detach system that can be utilized in-car using a QLS quick-detach fork (attached to your holster) and receiver plate (mounted to the vehicle). The plate system allows for quick and easy transition from your carry holster to a mounted vehicle solution in a matter of seconds. The system is fairly universal and can be mounted just about anywhere. Secured Lockable Solutions The second category of vehicle storage options — and for many, a more long-term solution — includes systems with the ability to lock up your firearms. In many situations, having a solution that is easy to use, readily accessible, and secure will prevent you from falling afoul of the law when running into facilities like the post office or DMV. Below are just a few of many products available on the market that we have tested and like for one reason or another. Again, not all of these options are legal in every state, and it’s up to you to carefully read and understand the laws pertaining to your situation. Make: GunVault Model: MV 500 MSRP: $165 Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 2.5 inches URL: www.gunvault.com Notes: GunVault has a long-standing reputation as an industry leader in quick-access firearms storage. This author has a MiniVault at home next to the bed which has provided years of trouble-free service. That said, it’s a bulky solution to use in a typical car, but could be permanently mounted in a larger vehicle. However, the MicroVault MV 500 is better suited for general vehicle use. It comes with a cable lock and can be permanently mounted. A 9-volt battery powers its finger-touch controls — simply enter your key code. It’s very fast in comparison to the other mechanical systems shown here, and you needn’t look at the keypad. A version with a biometric lock is available for $250. The primary downside of this safe is its 20-gauge sheetmetal construction, which is relatively thin compared to the others here. 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