Four-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode’s cherished shotgun has been stolen. Rhode’s specially fitted, 12 gauge over under MX-12 Perazzi was taken by thieves who broke into her father’s parked truck as she and her mother stopped to do some shopping. The shotgun was hidden under a blanket in the back seat of the truck. Making matters worse, Kim Rhodes must not try to qualify for the 2009 USA Shooting World Cup team in international skeet with a substitute shotgun, instead of using the gun she has had for years and fired over 1,500,000 shells through.
My sympathies go out to Kim Rhode on her loss, and I hope that her shotgun is recovered and returned to her. I also hope that the criminals who stole it are apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
People who don’t own guns often fail to appreciate the sentimental value that firearms can and usually do have for their owners: Some guns have a special place in their owner’s hearts simply by virtue of being that person’s first gun. My first shotgun, a Remington 870 XCS Marine Magnum, is worth far more to me than its retail price. That shotgun, while not the first one I’ve fired, is the first one that I have personally owned. It has provided peace of mind in two separate occasions where scary sounding people outside my home wanted in during the night (luckily calls to the police resolved both problems without the need to use a gun; but had they kicked in the door my gun could have saved my life). Also, given the high quality and durability of most guns, they tend to become generational items, passed down to one’s children or other family members. Other guns grow on their owners the same way that a prized baseball bat, football jersey, or gift would. Given the importance of Kim Rhode’s shotgun for her Olympic successes and future prospects, I’m sure this theft is particularly painful.
This also underscores the importance of secure gun storage, as criminals do steal guns. For that reason I never leave my firearms unattended in my vehicle, and instead go directly to/from the range. Even were I to live in state that allows guns to be stored in one’s car for self defense, I would not leave the gun in anything but a securely locked storage area in the car that thieves could not quickly access (such as an armored and locked glove compartment). I say this not to criticize Kim Rhode, but rather to emphasize the importance of safe and responsible gun storage.