Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guns, Museums, and Security

I have a presentation I give to museum professionals about firearms. It is a full-day seminar and it covers all aspects of guns and museums. I cover safety and identification, exhibition, legal aspects (I bring in the local ATF Industry Operations folks for this), and security.

My security discussion includes background checks for staff AND volunteers, key control, vault/case access, record keeping, and other topics.

Unfortunately, most folks only think of security in terms of this robbery in Roswell, New Mexico. Short of bars on the door or thick plexiglass or safety glass instead of regular plate glass, nothing would have stopped this crime.

However, the crooks are IDIOTS. The reasons?

  • Most museums have many things on exhibit that are more valuable than the guns. Most "Old West" guns are worth very little and the stories associated with them are usually just that - stories.  The resale value on these guns (Granted, I don't know what they took - although I can guess) is probably less than $500 each. This is based on the condition, quality, and type of most guns I have seen in Western Museums.
  • Most guns made before the turn of the century may have, ahem, issues with modern ammunition.Try using some hot modern .45 Colt in your 1870s wheel gun. Good luck with that.
  • Many guns made before the turn of the century use ammunition that is no longer available - well, at least at Wal-Mart... .45 Schofield, .44 S&W, .32 Short. or various .38s that aren't 'Special'. 
The most useful aspect of these guns to the criminals would be if all of them were manufactured before 1899, making them non-firearms. Possession by felons is then legal and these then fall outside of firearms law.

Have fun fencing them guys!

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