Cash In on Vehicle Firearms Security Concerns

Don’t let your customers become part of the statistics of gun owners who lose their firearms due to a vehicle break-in.

Cash In on Vehicle Firearms Security Concerns

Your customers spend a lot of time in vehicles, whether they are moms driving to work, dads driving the kids to a soccer game, or just firearms owners out for a relaxing pleasure trip. Your many customers-on-the-go also enter places that don’t permit firearms, including (depending on the state) schools and those gun-free zones found in many public buildings and on numerous federal properties. Then, in-vehicle firearm storage is the only option until they return.

By some estimates, more than 60,000 firearms are stolen annually in America outside of home break-ins, including bash-and-dash thefts of firearms from vehicles. With the numerous recent riots and looting, including attacks on police vehicles and headquarters, those firearm thefts from vehicles and other locations seem to be rising — rapidly.

There are numerous great options to keep handguns — and long guns — secured in a vehicle. Are you profiting from this on-the-move market segment? Do you market products to your customers to meet their storage needs? Are your customers asking questions?


Suggesting Quick Security Solutions

For any in-vehicle firearm storage solution to work, it must be easy to use and able to secure a firearm from thieves while also protecting the firearm when the vehicle is moving if the firearm remains inside. The best storage solutions offer the space to hold the owner’s firearm, plus ammunition and magazine(s), while also being solidly secured to the vehicle to prevent bash-and-dashes. These safes, steel lock boxes, slider drawers and cables and locks that can be opened quickly and don’t use up too much space inside the vehicle are the top requests by customers seeking firearm storage solutions. Your solutions can range from quick and affordable to state-of-the-art high-tech safes.

A starting point to work with any customer would be asking a few questions.

“There are three key points to discuss with shoppers,” says Jason Larson, sales manager with Tuffy Security Products. “Figure out the firearm they have, whether it’s a handgun or long gun, and then determine the vehicle they will secure the firearm inside of. Finally, determine what type of product they are interested in or have heard about.” The selection by Cortez, Colorado-based Tuffy ranges from a $65 small steel safe with securing cable to a large $3,500 in-vehicle safe to secure numerous long guns. Tuffy also offers a wide range of supporting promotional materials for the retailers’ sales counter, POP, display area and wall banners. The company also offers training for retailers that request it.

Start the conversation with your customers about a basic steel cable and sturdy lock. Several manufacturers offer these products in various sizes of coated cables and keyed or combination locks included. This starter system for firearm storage in a vehicle provides security, is compact and sturdy, offers quick access with a combination or key, and can be used under the seat while keeping a firearm out of sight. Many of these cables and locks are secured in clear clam-shell packaging for retailers and are ready to hang on racks or pegs on your walls. At a minimum, keep these products displayed at eye level and have a sign with wording about vehicle secure storage systems. Shoppers may walk by and see just boxes unless you get the product out so it gets noticed and can be touched.

Next, there are in-vehicle safes or strong metal lock boxes that can hold pistols, as well as larger units that secure long guns inside. For quick access to the firearms inside, there’s a wide range of options, including pads reading biometric fingerprints, easy combination push buttons, and simple keyed locks. While these take space on your show floor, when you can have units for customers to see and feel, they can check sturdiness and design details — and you are on the way to making a safe sale. The first major hurdle to selling in-vehicle firearm storage is letting the customer see the benefits themselves and start calculating which option will work for them as a best fit into their cars, SUVS and trucks.

When speaking with customers, note that vehicle storage boxes can secure more than guns, including wallets, valuables, jewelry, important papers, cellphones or tablets, and passports.  Another strong selling point. There are also steel box units that are designed to lock laptops inside a vehicle. If you display these, you will sell these. Practically everyone coming through your front door has a laptop or tablet, and often they must leave those, whether the computers are personal or for work, inside a vehicle.


Call Out the Features

Vehicle storage safes are available in many styles and sizes and with many features and build specs. These many options can result in customer questions. Be ready with answers.

“Console safes are very popular and have been proven to be very durable during vehicle break-ins,” continued Larson. These safes are designed for specific vehicles and spaces, so you should stock several or focus on popular vehicles like a Ford F-150 or Toyota Tundra. There are also safes that are metal drawers that can be installed under the seats of a wide range of vehicles.

Open the product’s packaging boxes and open the doors or lids on these safes so customers can see inside, press the metal, and start learning. The more visual and hands-on experience you can provide, the easier the sell and ringing at your register. In-vehicle safes and storage boxes are something that falls into the strong hands-on and visualizing-to-sell arena.

Next, talk with customers about the gun stored inside. Padded interiors are the standard and will protect the firearm. You can also sell the smaller soft pistol gun cases that zip, and you should keep these near your vehicle safe displays. Those displays would also be a great location to show off a few compact flashlights from an easy-to-pull product rack. Finally, note that the weight of the safe would not generally be a factor with your customers, but the size and the space it occupies will definitely be a factor.

There is one other bonus that can help you sell some of these in-vehicle safes. Some can be removed and checked at airports as TSA-approved firearms storage containers. Find out which ones have this option, and be certain customers learn about this bonus.

The sad news is that an increase of vehicle break-ins in your region or city, especially the ones that are covered by the evening news and also mentioned by customers at your counter, will increase demands for in-vehicle storage solutions related to firearms and all valuables. Let customers know you are concerned about them and that firearm you sold to them once it leaves your store or range. They will appreciate your assistance.


Be Ready to Act

While the numbers and types of safes for in-vehicle firearms storage vary greatly, customers may need additional assistance. The first step could be going to their vehicle and taking measurements. You and your staff should keep a flexible metal tape and notepad on hand. Don’t simply hand those items to customers, but do take the walk and make the measurements for them so you know the exact space where a safe or lock box will be secured.

Next, some manufacturers, like Liberty Safes and Tuffy, have online guides that can help customers select the right product based on their vehicle make and model and the type of product they are wanting to purchase. Consider having a secured-to-a-point laptop you can let customers use to find a storage solution of brands you stock, then offer to order the selected safe system in case you do not have it in stock. There are so many products in this category that it can overwhelm customers, so help guide them in their shopping and selection process.

Next, remember that not all of your customers have drills or the skills to install some of these products. Train someone on your staff, or consider a working partnership with a nearby reputable auto body shop or sheet metal shop to provide proper installation as part of the sale. Anticipate the obstacles to installation and solve those for your customers. Word-of-mouth advertising on service like this is the type of publicity that always puts you ahead of your competitors.

One other product area is a great fit for in-vehicle safes — alarm systems. If you have these, or can offer a coupon or other discount for those customers seeking security, you will make a profit. There is a large waiting list in many regions of the nation for installation of vehicle alarms — and this product need will only grow in the years ahead.


Spreading the Safe News

As the number of new gun owners in America grows, the demand for classes and accessories is rising. If you teach a CC permit course, always display a vehicle safe or storage system there. Discuss this need with students during the class. When you sell a firearm could also be another great time to mention your selection of vehicle storage options and call these to a customer’s attention.

Thefts of firearms from vehicles is the topic of a new National Shooting Sports Foundation campaign. Firearms must often be left unattended in vehicles. Help your customers secure them so those firearms are there when customers return. This helps keep everyone safe.


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