Crime

‘Lock your dadgum car:’ Police say Lancaster incident shows importance of gun safety

SC officials say gun owners must be more responsible

A Lancaster County man's missing gun has been recovered after it was taken out of his unlocked car, according to 16th Circuit Court Solicitor Kevin Brackett. Brackett warns gun owners to lock their cars and keep guns safely secured.
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A Lancaster County man's missing gun has been recovered after it was taken out of his unlocked car, according to 16th Circuit Court Solicitor Kevin Brackett. Brackett warns gun owners to lock their cars and keep guns safely secured.

Gun owners should treat their handguns like rattlesnakes, said 16th Circuit Court Solicitor Kevin Brackett. Always keep an eye on it.

One Lancaster man will soon realize that lesson when he gets a house call from the sheriff’s office returning his gun, Brackett said.

But he’s lucky, Brackett said. His stolen gun wasn’t used to hurt anyone.

“I believe in keeping firearms to protect yourself,” Brackett said. “I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment, but that’s not the issue here. With the privilege of having a firearm, with the right of having a firearm, comes the responsibility of securing it.”

A North Carolina attorney turned the gun in to the solicitor’s office, Brackett said. A client had found the gun in his son’s belongings after an intervention.

“The son had come back home to his dad looking for help because he knew he was in a bad way and was afraid he was going to die,” Brackett said.

The son admitted the gun was stolen. Investigators were able to trace the gun back to Lancaster County, where the gun had been taken from an unlocked car.

Most cases of theft from cars aren’t technically car break-ins, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Doug Barfield said.

All suspects have to do is open the door sometimes, he said.

“Lock your dadgum car,” Barfield said.

In this case, Brackett said, the man walked down the neighborhood pulling on car doors until he found an open one, took the gun and cash.

“It was that easy for an individual to walk over, open a car door and suddenly he’s in possession of a .40-caliber handgun,” Brackett said. “People have to secure their cars. It’s just as simple as that.”

The gun was a Sig Sauer P250. The man’s father turned the gun in and no charges have been brought in this case.

“I tell people, if you owned a rattle snake, I believe you’d take a keen interest in knowing where that snake was at all times,” he said. “You’d want to know. That’s the way you should be about a gun.

“It’s a dangerous piece of equipment. It’s capable of killing people. Too many accidents happen with guns and they need to be secured and stored properly.”

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068

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