CMPD is giving away free gun safes to combat firearms thefts from cars

CMPD Capt. Brian Foley demonstrates a vehicle gun safe at police headquarters on Wednesday.
CMPD Capt. Brian Foley demonstrates a vehicle gun safe at police headquarters on Wednesday.

With a proper permit, it’s legal to leave a gun inside a car in Charlotte – but those guns can end up involved in violent crimes or the out-of-state weapons trade if they’re not secured properly, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said Wednesday.

More than 1,700 guns have been stolen out of cars since 2014, with 360 stolen so far in 2017 alone, CMPD Capt. Brian Foley said. That doesn’t include guns stolen out of houses and elsewhere.

To combat the issue, CMPD is giving away 100 vehicle gun safes – simple boxes that strap around an immovable part of a car and lock up a handgun.

Foley demonstrated the safe on Wednesday at police headquarters, saying that trying to defeat the device would take long enough that police expect a would-be thief to move on.

CMPD ran out of its first 60 gun safes in just a few hours Wednesday, but 40 more are supposed to arrive by the end of the week, police said. To pick up a safe, a gun owner must present appropriate identification at the property window at the CMPD Law Enforcement Center, 601 East Trade Street.

Once the free CMPD safes run out, Hyatt Gun Shop will be selling vehicle gun safes at cost, for about $23 each. Hyatt Gun Shop is located at 3332 Wilkinson Boulevard in Charlotte.

“If you’re a gun owner and you know what weapons cost, that’s just a very small amount of money that you should spend – to give not only yourself peace of mind, but also to help us reduce the amount of violent crime that we see on the streets,” Foley said.

Foley told a story about one gun owner who drove to a restaurant in a convertible, saw a “no concealed weapons” sign at the door and left the gun under the driver’s seat – with the top down.

“It’s very difficult for us to try and legislate good common sense,” he said.

Jane Wester: 704-358-5331, @janewester