Click here to print this page
SALT LAKE CITY -- She was terrified. Shaking. Hiding in the upstairs bathroom with her two children.
Just moments before that Jessica Singer walked down the stairs, only to see men wearing hoods and trench coats approaching the home.
The dogs barked uncontrollably. Then they stopped. Then the barking started closer to the kitchen, near the back of the house.
"[That] told me they were trying to come in the back door," Singer said.
Eleven tension-soaked minutes she waited in the bathroom until police arrived.
The men had gone, but the memory remains.
Nearly two years after the ordeal, Singer is now a mom of three and is about as motivated as she has ever been to considering the purchase of a handgun.
"I find myself very much wanting to go take a gun class and wanting to get a gun permit," she said.
Still, the concerns keep her from buying. Her children. The potential for an accident.
"I don't think there are many kids out there that wouldn't be interested in the little gun box in the corner," Singer said.
Her concerns highlight the challenge facing anyone interested in buying a gun or anyone who owns: proper, safe storage.
"I get that people are uneasy around them," said Clark Aposhian, shooting instructor and chair of the Utah Shooting Sports Council.
Aposhian outlined several ways to store guns safely, largely centered around big gun safes and smaller, instant-access gun vaults.
"They just have four buttons up on the top, recessed into a rubber template in which you push in the right order and the whole front of it just flips open and you instantly gain access to your firearm," Aposhian explained of the vaults.
The cost of a vault regularly falls into a range between $65 and $300 for a nicer model that recognizes biometric data, i.e. a fingerprint.
"It's also instantly accessible to store your firearm and we find that does cut down on the laziness factor or the complacency," Aposhian said. "You just don't have much of an excuse anymore not to safely store your firearm."
Though Aposhian maintained a small, well-placed gun box offers quick access in the event of a home invader, Singer remained skeptical about guns, the safes that house them and the time it would take to get to them in an emergency.
"It just almost seems like this super dangerous thing that you bring into your home and as parents you try to eliminate dangerous things from your home," Singer said.
In addition to locking guns up, Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said he recommended employing trigger guards and keeping ammunition in a separate place.
Singer's husband, Stanford, suggested education was almost as important as the safe.
"I want my kids not to be scared of guns," he said. "So when they see them, they're not so curious that they just need to go play with it."
You just don't have much of an excuse anymore not to safely store your firearm.
Aposhian said when guns are in the home and children are too, parents should establish an affirmative standard, like "Do not touch the firearms."
Additionally he said when the children are ready they should learn the proper principals of holding a firearm, including where to point the muzzle and how to hold the gun with no finger on the trigger.
"Each parent will know when their child is ready, mature enough and curious enough to do this," Aposhian said.
Aposhian said kids should also be taught if they come across a firearm to not touch it, leave it and get an adult.
"Because it might be at your friend's house that they find one," Aposhian said.
* Coming up right after Utah's Morning News, we'll be hosting a special Facebook chat on the KSL Newsradio page. If you have decided on guns in your home and you want to know the best way to safely secure them , we will have a gun expert from Andrew's story available to answer your questions. He'll also be on Twitter: #KSLAM. That starts at 9 a.m. right after the show.
***Guns aren't the answer for everybody. There are other ways to defend a home. Part Three of "Guns in the Home" on KSL NewsRadio Friday will take a look at alternative means, including a fire extinguisher. Play the video on this page for more on that.