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Consumers Corner # 33


By Jim Murphy

To protect your family and stop unauthorized people from using firearms you keep at home, please lock your guns in a safe place.

Surprisingly, most U.S. gun owners
are not locking up these weapons

In a recent study, published by the American Journal of Public Health:

  • More than half of U.S. gun owners said they store at least one gun at home without locks.
  • The other 46% of respondents locked all their weapons “in a gun safe, case or cabinet, or deactivated their weapons with a trigger locks,” says the Los Angeles Times.

Amazingly, 45% of gun owners with children under 18 living at home kept at least one firearm in an unsecured state.

And 10% of those with children under 18 store all their guns in unlocked locations without trigger locks.

‘In a country estimated to have 55 million gun owners, ” the LA Times says, “the findings suggest that at least 5.5 million households have at least one firearm that could be stolen by a thief, borrowed by a despondent or homicidal family member, or played with by a curious child.”

This study was the first in over 20 years to ask owners about weapon storage.

The Times adds that an analysis of gun-related crimes committed in Pittsburgh in 2008 indicated “79% were carried out with a firearm not legally owned by the perpetrator.”

Another study, another surprise: just 35% of parents who own guns and live with children with self-harm risk factors keep their weapons unloaded and locked away, says a study in the February 2018 journal Pediatrics.

(I guess that means the other 65% leave guns around the house that are either loaded or unlocked. Pretty astounding. And pretty scary.)

As the LA Times points out, “For a depressed or impulsive adolescent, access to an unsecured gun is a potent risk for suicide.”

Bottom line: if you have a gun at home, please store it safely. You’ll be helping protect your family as well as the rest of us.



The Iowa family of four that died of gas asphyxiation in March at a rental condo near Tulum, Mexico, was probably confident the place had working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

But apparently it didn’t. And toxic gas from a malfunctioning water heater likely killed the mother, father and two children.

When found, all four appeared to have been watching TV.

The lesson here: if possible, check for working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you book a rental. Even better, check them yourself as soon as you get in the room.

The life you save could be your own … or that of a family member

A word to the wise: make sure you have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, too! Unfortunately, many people don’t.





Days before most of us learned about the 2017 Equifax cyber breach  – exposing personal info of 148 million U.S. consumers – that one of its top executives sold his company stock options. Can you say, “Looks like a classic case of insider trading?”


$1 million

Approximate amount those shares reaped Jun Ying, who had been next in line to become the company’s global chief information office. Can you say, “Stupid move, Jun!”



The alleged losses Ying avoided with his timely trading. Equifax’s internal investigation concluded that none of the four senior officers who sold company shares after the cyber breach was announced had engaged in insider training. But the Securities and Exchange Commission disagreed, filing a civil complaint in Atlanta federal court. Can you say, “I agree with the SEC?” P.S. Federal authorities have also indicted Ying on criminal insider-trading charges. Good!


Source: USA Today



Why did Philadelphia consolidate its territory in 1854, growing from two square miles to almost 130 square miles overnight.

One reason: 1844 anti-Catholic riots, one in Kensington and one in Southwark, threatened the city’s safety and ability to govern. Once rioters left the city limits – which then ran just one mile north and south, from Vine Street to what is now South Street – city police had no authority.

Believe it or not, local sheriffs then had to call together a posse to try to capture the perpetrators. That didn’t work too well. Later riots, as well as constant fighting between fire companies and street gangs … plus efforts to minimize duplication of services … led to the Act of Consolidation in 1854.


Photo Credits

“Locked” flickr photo by stifflerkatie https://flickr.com/photos/newworldforme/6679641761 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license


Jim Murphy is a direct marketing copywriter who has run his own consulting business since 2004. For nine years, he wrote and edited “Choices,” an award-winning credit union magazine with a circulation of 80,000. Now a certified member and vice president of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides, Jim also writes historical articles for the Queen Village Neighbors Association magazine.

Any comments made are Jim’s opinion, and not necessarily those of the Old Pine Community Center.





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