Do Pro-2A Signs Tip-Off Gun Thieves?



So, I was out walking my dog around my apartment complex the other day and I walked in front of a unit that had a sign hanging on the door, reading, if my memory serves me correctly, “Caution: Castle Doctrine Exercised Here.”

Like I do when I see most pro-Second Amendment signs or bumper stickers or t-shirts or other paraphernalia, I sorta chuckled to myself and said, “He (or she) is one of us!” Presumably, the person in that unit is a good guy with a gun, an unabashed supporter of one’s right to keep and bear arms, a gun-loving patriot just like me.

Then I started thinking about the sign a little more. And the thought occurred to me, while it is both a welcoming beacon to fellow gun owners and a warning to would-be home invaders it may yet signal another message, one to a very nefarious subculture of the criminal element: gun thieves.

That is to say, is the pro-2A sign on the door not also saying to potential gun thieves, “There are guns inside this apartment”? It most certainly is. Does that make this apartment a target for gun thieves? I’d argue it does.

Now, the impetuous robber — the guy hopped up on meth or heroine, looking for a quick score — is probably going to walk away and go to another apartment unit. But the gun thief is different. After identifying a potential source for firearms, he has to be more discerning, more patient, more conniving than the drug-addled robber. Why? Because the very thing he seeks to steal is the very thing that could be his undoing. He has to take his time with the break-in, he has to carefully case the apartment (house or automobile), he has to plan everything to ensure the occupant is out of the apartment before he can strike.

Let’s face it, everyone leaves their home. Even me. Now, I work from home. And I’m here an awful lot. But I also go to the gym, run to the grocery store, the bank, the post office, the range, you know, I leave my apartment every now and then. So too, does the individual living in the apartment with the Castle Doctrine sign on his door. Probably for work during the day. A vigilant gun thief would have no problem figuring out the occupant’s schedule or at least a rough estimate, making the occupant’s apartment an easy mark.

Then again, maybe I’m thinking about this the wrong way. Maybe the gun sign is also a deterrent to gun thieves. Maybe the gun thief thinks to himself that if the apartment dweller is fastidious enough to put a sign on the door he (or she) is also fastidious enough to buy a large gun safe and keep his firearms secured. Or, maybe he thinks that this is an occupant who seriously considers his or her self-defense posture and in addition to owning firearms he or she might also have a dog or an alarm system or a network of friends who help monitor each other’s apartments.

I guess one can drive themselves crazy trying to anticipate how a criminal will behave given certain signs and symbols. I know I certainly don’t have the answers. As with the rest of life, it’s probably a gamble one way or the other or, depending on your personal luck, a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.  As of right now I don’t have any 2A signs on my apartment door nor do I have any plans on putting one up.  Though, that may change as I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this issue.  What do you think?  Do you hang pro-2A signs? Do you pronounce yourself as a gun owner to the world? Do you believe pro-2A signs deter criminals?

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 43 comments… add one }
  • ddan August 28, 2017, 11:57 pm

    i dont even discuss weapons. i am switzerland around others ; while usually carrying my 45, unless weather dictates my 32 with a laser. i want the upper hand. if anyone is surprised ; it wont be me!

  • Kbore June 7, 2017, 9:28 pm

    You might as well be putting up a sign that says please steal my guns when you see me leave the house. Same goes for the Browning, Glock or S&W logo stickers on the back window of your truck. Show less than you have have, say less than you know. Don’t say “I have guns”. One day you won’t be there. Ask the LEOS…

  • Sam December 28, 2016, 7:32 pm

    Most careful and experienced carjackers wouldn’t go for an OCCUPIED vehicle with Sig,Glock or NRA decals on it but that’s probably the first UNOCCUPIED car they’d break into in a parking lot(most intelligent people don’t leave their guns in the car). It’s definitely a catch 22 if dealing with a thief that’s observant and can actually read.

  • Christopher Cox April 6, 2016, 1:50 am

    The greatest problem I see with either side of this argument
    is the fact that illiteracy is more rampant than ever. Many, if
    not most, people, especially the common criminal element in
    the modern US, cannot write a sentence. By way of that fact,
    they probably can’t read one, either.

  • Don April 4, 2016, 2:43 pm

    My sign says NRA. It tells the potential thief that 1) there is something inside he wants, and 2) he might get shot trying to get it. The house down the road without a sign 1) has something inside he wants, and 2) he won’t get shot trying to get it. Which seems better for the thief?

  • Gary April 4, 2016, 3:57 am

    People used to bang the hell out of my vehicles In parking lots with shopping carts or car doors when they would park to close to me.
    I put NRA stickers in my windows, and a bumper sticker as well. Amount of damage now is maybe 5% of what it used to be! I don’t leave weapons in my vehicle unattended, so I don’t worry about them being stolen.
    As for my home, I have a NRA flag on my porch, NRA stickers in ALL my windows at eye level, just to be sure they are seen.
    I have found over the last 45 years or so that MOST criminals are NOT looking for hard targets, they look for soft ones! I threaten no one! I always carry, and it’s always concealed. I usually wear a NRA hat simply because if you and I are walking down the street, a bad guy will pick plain old YOU over NRA ME!
    Always remember, every animal will ALWAYS go for the weaker prey! It is just the nature of all animals. If ten houses in a row have NRA signs on them, and the next ten have nothing, then common sense tells me if I wanted to rob a house it would NOT be one of the ten with the NRA signs on them. How about you? And odds are those houses have a few firearms in them as well.
    My brother in law is a LEO of over 20 years. He has told me many times that MOST of the stolen guns they recover were not stolen from marked houses by strangers. They were stolen by relatives of the home owner. If they had locked them up when not home, they would not have been stolen. Why steal them? To buy drugs is by far the biggest reason given for doing so.
    A friend of mine has had a sign over his garage for over 40 years that states “anyone found here after 11PM will STILL be found here in the morning!” His neighbor’s have had some break ins over the years, and even a few cars stolen. He however has not.
    I don’t recommend posting such a sign. It is like a beware of dog sign. IF it ever bites anyone, including someone breaking in, you WILL lose in court! My dad lost three times! The police agreed with him, that the dog was doing its job. Every time the JUDGE awarded the poor victum from $5000 to $35000 in damages!
    My advice is to get a really good dog, and forget the beware of dog signs. Like the police told my dad, without the signs NO ONE can PROVE you ever thought your dog would bite anyone! Even a theif!
    But then this IS NY!! Our judges are not like everyone else’s.
    Look strong, keep your head up! Keep it on a swivel and notice what is going on around you at ALL times. More often than not THAT will clue the scum into knowing to pick someone else to screw with! But then that’s just my opinion, and we all have them!

    • Troy March 22, 2017, 3:53 pm

      I agree and those are some very well thought out comments. I did want to speak on that dog sign though. I had been told this in the past as well that you never want to hang a sign that says, “Beware of Dog”. Beware is a warning, and if you are warning people that your dog may bite, like your judges have done to your dad, they are leaving themselves more liable. However, I was also told that instead of the Beware of Dog sign, you should post a sign saying “Dog on Premises”. That is a simple statement of fact, there is a dog in the house or in the yard etc. It doesn’t give any reason to make anybody think the dog is going to attack. I don’t know if that would change things in court and I don’t have either sign myself so I hopefully won’t find out. Either way, my do will bark if anybody gets near the house, and if she is sleeping, anyone touching the door will wake her and bring her to full barking alert. When our daughter was born (a 4 pound preemie), our dog went into hyper protect mode. Houses around us were broken into over the years we lived there, but never ours. I’m assuming the ferocity that our dog barked with would have turned away pretty much any would be robber. If not, like you, I work from home and although I may not wear a gun around the house, they are not far from being accessed, or my Samurai Sword, or if all else fails, my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. That’s why I love martial arts. All other weapons can be taken away from you, but when your body itself is the weapon, it is with you anywhere you go, even in schools and court where no other weapons are allowed.

  • Tom Reeves April 3, 2016, 2:19 am

    I don’t know, but anti-gun signs sure attract burglars, robbers, and thieves!

  • Josh April 2, 2016, 10:47 pm

    I like the sign that says this property guarded by shotgun three days a week; you guess which three days. Is it a joke or a tell? The goal of advertising is to send the bad guys to another property, correct? Well, creating doubt is a way to do such a thing. If there’s a motivated thief who intends to steal your weapons, there’s a chance they’ll stake your place out, but a few cameras and an alarm start raising doubt on the chances to successfully target your home. Just do your best to raise the threshold high enough that your home wouldn’t be targeted before your neighbors. It’s an awful thing to say, but if your neighbors are liberals, a home break-in might change their mind about the world and make them pro-2A. You’d be doing them a favor, maybe?

  • Michael Ujiiye April 2, 2016, 5:00 pm

    Society is safer when criminals don’t know who’s armed.

    • Troy March 22, 2017, 4:01 pm

      That may be true, but I’m more concerned with protecting my family than society. If something at my house sends a would be robber to the house next door instead of my house, that’s awful of me, but my wife and daughter are my #1 priority, and it leaves them both at less risk, and I don’t want to mentally scar my 6 YO daughter if I have to defend my home and take down a robber via gun or sword. Plus I don’t want to go into debt or drain my 401K justifying why I defended myself 100% legally, and still spend $30K or more keeping myself out of jail. I’m not trying to start an argument, just stating protecting society over my family isn’t my priority.

  • Knight2 April 2, 2016, 12:23 am

    I agree. I’ve toned it all down a lot. The world was a different place twenty years ago, The US was a different place. Now I prefer to show no trace of anything relating to any sort weapons on my vehicle or home. I feel it may attract unwanted attention from the wrong people, cops or thugs. Two groups of people I don’t want interaction with. Also I carry concealed like a gray man. No hats with NRA, no gun manufacturers names or logos, no camo clothing, I just blend it with everyone around me with nothing that sticks out to attract attention. The element of surprise is a good thing. Also at home if my weapon isn’t within 2-5 feet from me, in the safe they go. I don’t think one can stop a professional burglar/gun thief if they have the time. But a safe will stop the rest or at least slow them down.

    • Johnh April 3, 2016, 11:20 am

      Another thing that I have been thinking about when I go to the local park for a walk is the hat that I wear that has NAVY on it. Many people thank me for my service. Am I putting a target on my back for the persons that want to target military, current or past. I have a Muslin church just around the corner from me.

      • Sam December 28, 2016, 8:00 pm

        The Navy hat,especially in that area,is a good point. If a mugger or mass shooter has done their homework and thought out their plan,the first targets to eliminate are cops/security guards,anyone in camo or military garb,large intimidating guys,open carriers and of course the ever present Tacticool 5.11 cowboys who’s outfit screams concealed carry.

  • larry April 1, 2016, 7:57 pm

    I prefer not to tip off anyone regarding my specific possessions. If I’m home, they’ll find out about a gun soon enough. My main concern is that if I ever do need to use a gun, there is always the potential for legal action even if it is obvious that I am justified. There could be criminal charges, or the family of a low-life could try to sue me. I wouldn’t want any posted signs to make it look like I was a gun nut who was looking to shoot somebody. Those signs could be used against me by a smart-assed lawyer.

  • Dave K April 1, 2016, 3:22 pm

    I have guns, a burglar alarm, and a 2nd amendment sign on my door. If someone is dumb enough to break in, he will not be there long enough to get into my safe because of the burglar alarm.

  • Roger Brett April 1, 2016, 3:17 pm

    This also goes for NRA stickers on your vehicle parked in your driveway. I have one on the BACK window of my pickup, and I BACK it into the driveway. Also…when an officer of the law sees this sticker on your vehicle, it may prompt him to ask “Do you have any guns in the car”? If you’re on a weekend or day hunting trip you’d have to say “Yes” then they have the progitive of making you get out the guns to see if they are properly cased with the ammo in a seperate part of the vehicle etc etc. All a big pain in the butt that you don’t need. I’m just say’in.

  • Jeff H. April 1, 2016, 2:22 pm

    I think Tommy Thies’ (from Theis Holsters) motto/slogan says it best: Always carry – Never tell!

  • Dave Smith April 1, 2016, 2:02 pm

    Criminals do not have any regard for the law or what is yours. A sign will tell him/her that you probably have at least one gun and maybe more. A safe will at least slow a criminal down but most safes can be broken into without much effort. The right tools and a little time is all they need. As for me I do not announce if I have a gun or not. If I am in fear of my life start shooting, they will figure it out pretty quick. If they live to tell the tale you need more practice.

  • Jim April 1, 2016, 1:00 pm

    Its very unfortunate that thiscounrty has degraded to the point that we must now hide our affiliations to protect our belongings, (family , house, car etc.). I agree with the descion to hide in plain sight. However it angers me to very core that the left snd criminsls have cuased us to conceal our true identities and moral standings all in the name of concealment and safetey. Thus they the lefties and thugs have truly already robed us of god given rights of freadom of press and 1st amendment rights. I know I’ll get some flack gor that statement but I dont care about being P.C. anymore, in fact its just the opposite I think we have been far to cautious with what we say and how we say. Its led to everone being affended by every little thing. It time we real Americans get our skin tougher on our necks and bear down. Shoot straight, keep your powder dry, you head up, your pidol handy, be proud of our country and what it sands for and dont apologize about it. I dont mean be rude or disrespectful. I carry concealed as does my whole family we train , we hold our heads high. God bless this country, and yes I did just say it!
    A proud American

  • GradyPhilpott April 1, 2016, 12:56 pm

    I have a license plate holder that identifies me as a Benefactor Member of the NRA, along with badges that identify me as a veteran of the war in Vietnam and a Marine. I have a Purple Heart license plate, but beyond those I never put bumper stickers on my car.

    I wear NRA apparel from time to time, usually ball caps, and sometimes I wear something with a Ruger or Glock logo on it.

    I don’t wear tactical clothing, I just carry a Glock 9mm pistol under my shirt tail in the appendix carry.

    In other words, I’m just a normal guy who’s proud of his country, his service to our nation, and who exercises his Constitutional rights unashamedly.

    It’s nice a wise thing to go around dressed like Rambo, but then it’s not a good idea to look like a coward who’s afraid to express his principles.

    • Bob Uback June 23, 2017, 1:25 pm

      I to am a NRA member, Retired AF Pilot/Officer, and Range Safety Officer, and do not have any signs on my auto, or in front of the house, except an ADT sign. Slowly, my neighborhood is being closed in with cheep apartments that require the Police to make many visits. I do not carry at this time, except within the car at times, but due to circumstances, am started back to do so, today. I have a dog who roams the house and will bark immediately if anything is of a suspicious nature. My 2nd line of defense is the racking of a shotgun with 8 rounds, plus other weapons within 3/5 steps. I’m normal, widowed, and have a neighbor on speed dial 24-7, armed, when either needs. OM Advice: teach all of your Family to shoot a gun…you never know when it might be needed.

  • Tripwire April 1, 2016, 12:15 pm

    Something like 30 years ago I stopped putting gun racks in my pickups, I stopped putting pro gun bumper stickers on my vehicles, and even further back I stopped displaying my long guns on gun racks in my home, all because I became more security aware, for this same reason I’d never open carry, it’s like pulling a money clip out of your pocket filled with hundreds.
    I think the term situational awareness covers it pretty well.

  • Chief April 1, 2016, 10:27 am

    Simple answer ,Yes.

  • Dan Clayburn April 1, 2016, 10:25 am

    Interesting question. I don’t have signs stating Pro 2nd, but I do have ADT, like that would really stop anyone, a safe, and have a few guns hidden but ‘available’ in case of a breaking. When I go to the range I try to move from my front door to the track as quickly s possible, gun cases can draw attention. So I guess regardless of the sign, people, at least observant people, can see you own guns. I try to keep a low profile for just this reason. My neighbors know I have guns, I’m more concerned about the ‘drive by’ types.

  • Jonathan Van Winkle April 1, 2016, 10:21 am

    No matter how far you go to protect valuables family included, there are guys sitting in cells that should have had the death sentence carried out that sit and ponder how to get it over regular people when they do eventually get out. I think you get what I mean? So those entering into a persons home is due what punishment the owner hands out and if more punishment was carried out we would have less of these folks out among peaceful regular American citizens.I heard as a boy “a lock only keeps an honest person honest” I also remember the locks that were handed out in high school American combination locks, one boy couldnt remember his combination and could take his shoe off and hit the lock and it would open. Again, a mind sitting and planning things for hours days etc, come up with some way out stuff. probably using their minds to go places that regular people have so many other things going on the incarcerated have time to think. Almost scary. CCDW and practice.

  • Jeffry Smith April 1, 2016, 10:09 am

    I think the answer to this question, as for all questions, is: it depends. On a lot of things. Do you live in a Red State or a Blue State? A high crime area, or one with a low crime rate. Yet: Hoplophobia is everywhere, though. And the Socialist Party members (fka Democrats) out there who have drunk the Kool Aid may key your car or slash your tires just because you have an NRA sticker. I live in a fairly gun friendly city, and yet I keep a low profile. I live in an apartment, and prefer to not advertise my pro 2A stance in any way. I “walk softly, but carry a big stick” – actually two .357s. A recent robbery where a man was open-carrying, was knocked down, and his gun stolen, has underscored for me the danger inherent in that tactic, so I will continue to keep a low profile…

  • 3rd AF Crew Chief April 1, 2016, 9:17 am

    We I go to bed at night or leave my castle I set my monitored security alarm system. Outside my house is a sign stating ‘premises protected by so and so security system’ and I also applied an 2″round NRA sticker to it.

  • Wolfpack-bravo April 1, 2016, 8:57 am

    I neither advertise my firearm ownership on my house or my truck.
    I see vehicles everyday that I think, “If I needed a gun I would break into that one.”
    I work at a dealership and was doing an alignment on a lifted truck. When it was in the air I opened the door to lock the steering wheel and brakes and that’s when I saw the Glock bolted to the underside of the dash. It had a 30 round mag installed. I immediately pointed it out to the shop foreman so if it disappeared while someon else was driving it I would not get the blame.
    It amazes me what people leave in their vehicles.
    Anyway, no way do I advertise on my vehicles or home. Let them wonder.
    The only warning a burglar gets if I’m home is the safety clicking off on the Winchester 1300 defender 12 gauge.
    Hope they have good hearing.

  • Cyrus April 1, 2016, 8:10 am

    If a Gun thief can get past my 140lbs GSD that has free reign over the entire house, and then somehow get access to the gun safe that is lagged to the floor, then they have earned whatever they can get. However, they still have to deal with the 8 IR security cameras that cover every aspect (Zero soft points) of the grounds approaching my home; and yes it streams 24/7 non stop to the cloud so even if they do manage to find the DVR won’t matter. I am also monitoring my home from work at all times so there is very little chance that anyone could come on to my property without me noticing . . . unless they time it while I’m taking a dump!

    • Formerly April 1, 2016, 4:17 pm

      What cams/cloud service do you use if you don’t mind me asking? I’m looking to go down that road soon…

  • Ron Stidham April 1, 2016, 8:05 am

    I am a gun owner, I have a concealed carry permit, I carry a 1911 full of hollow points. But I do it concealed, not open carry. My belief is that if any one person or group wants to take my gun from me while out in town, or even on my own property showing it off is the first mistake. A 1911 is a big gun to conceal. so I only carry it in the cold months with a big enough coat or jacket to not let every one know I have it on me. In the warmer months, I have a compact 40 cal inside the waist band, hidden by my shirt tail. Hopefully I will never have to draw my weapon for self defense, for my self or any one else. To me it makes sense not to show it off, and keep others no wiser of my protection level or not.

  • The Old Shikari April 1, 2016, 8:01 am

    I understand the glories of both the First [freedom of expression] and Second [bear arms] Amendments, but I think it is unwise to plaster cars or homes with gun-related stickers or propaganda of any kind. I have no particular desire to have my car broken into by some Yahoo who thinks there might be a gun in it – – whether he just wants to steal it or God forbid knock over the neighbourhood liquor store. Who needs the aggravation? Ditto around the house: not only could such advertising be a ‘buglar magnet’ but it surely invites fussing and annoyance from anti-gun cranks – – like that Assistant Professor out in North Dakota who dialed 911 because ROTC cadets were drilling with -gasp! – GUNS –and said in a letter to the press that she’d go right on doing it. (Note to cops: next time lock her crazy ass up for false 911 calls!). Friends, they’re everywhere. Don’t encourage them or the thieves.

  • Dan April 1, 2016, 7:23 am

    Hellofromill ….. Your a sheep!

    • Wolfpack-bravo April 1, 2016, 8:49 am

      Not quite understanding your point of view.
      He inadvertently moved his family into what turned out to be a higher crime area than he thought.
      Stayed vigilant of his surroundings. Called 911 when he saw crime. Stayed friendly with his neighbors which ended up resulting in only his wife losing $20 and he is a sheep how?
      Maybe his story would have suited you better if he had gun Ed down the guys in the van, his wife did some really sweet ninja moves and broke her mugger in half, and took out every ethnic kid with baggy pants while walking his dog?
      I would say he did the best he could in a bad situation and was sucessful at it.
      Well done hellofromillinois!

      • Dewey April 1, 2016, 9:39 am

        To keep one’s family in a dangerous situation because “the lease wasn’t up” is what makes him a sheep. The safety of one’s family supersedes any rent contract. His wife was mugged but at least he didn’t anger the landlord.

        • Shecky April 1, 2016, 11:30 am

          Yeah, I’m with Wolfpack on this one, the guy made the best of a bad situation. I don’t know about where you live but if you sign a lease in the state we live in you are LEGALLY bound. That means if you skip on the lease they can take you to court and not only due you for the full lease amount but court costs on top of it. I know when I was younger I could barely afford my rent let alone double. Apparently it worked out for him as he stated… know you can be mugged in any city, there aren’t any mug free as far as I know.

  • DEFENDER April 1, 2016, 6:34 am

    At 70 I cant run like I used too so I now wear tactical pants with a Black knife and Tac Pen showing, boots, camo patrol cap, etc and carry myself in an Alert Way(Condition Yellow Protocol) – I want “Leroy” to look at me and say(to himself)- “He Old, but hmm, somethin don’t look right with him, he might hurt me. Better not try Him”. I also back that up with a Conceal Carry Permit and concealed gun and the training in how to use it in a real gun fight(combat tactics)(IDPA)(look it up) ie he would be right to avoid me.

    As for yard signs don’t post anything that can be used against you in court – like “We will shoot you”. Post generics like “This property protected by Video Surveillance etc.(even if it is not)

    And know your self defense protocols, the attacker much have – The – Opportunity, Ability, Intent – to do you harm.
    Opportunity – must be close enough to do you harm, not running away
    Ability – must be “able” to hurt you – not a 90 yr old who can barely walk, a 5yo kid, etc
    Intent – Must be imminent threat, don’t want to shoot your neighbor looking for his lost dog, or the Mormans trying to save you soul.

  • Rangemaster11 April 1, 2016, 3:25 am

    Not even an NRA sticker on my vehicle. Someone would toss a brick through the window because there might be a gun inside.

    • bison1913 April 1, 2016, 6:52 am

      Same here… I don’t announce, I surprise!

    • James April 1, 2016, 11:16 am

      Good suggestion. I just took the NRA window sticker off my car.

      • Stargzer April 1, 2016, 3:37 pm

        Well, here in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Maryland I feel safe keeping my NRA sticker on my car window because there is no right to carry for most honest, law-abiding citizens, so there won’t be a gun in the car unless I’m going to the Range.

  • HellofromIllinois March 31, 2016, 3:28 pm

    I once lived in an apartment complex populated mostly by white old folks along with some immigrant families and college students of varying backgrounds surrounded on all sides by subsidized housing that apparently was populated by people formerly living in Chicago public housing. I didn’t know enough about the neighborhood before I moved in, but it was in a relatively new part of mid-sized town that was not a particularly crime riddled, so I wasn’t vigilant enough when looking for an apartment. Everyone in our building but my wife and I had their apartment broken into at some point, and my wife was mugged once outside the building (lost only $20 or so). There were at least two FBI drug raids in the building directly across from us, and I once watched as an unmarked black van full of men in black flew into our driveup right next to me and then unloaded and ran into our complex and then began breaking into the place. I remained calm and acted aloof, got whatever info I could discreetly and went inside and called 911. They busted 6 guys.

    Until my lease was up, I made it a point to take to all the kids and people I saw when walking my dog around the neighborhood daily to make it clear I was friendly and not one of the many racist people living in our building. I also made sure I was indoors and had my blinds closed whenever I did call the police on someone. I give those behaviors credit for our apartment being the only one not broken into. Any firearms in our building would have likely been a prime target. I never wear clothing that suggests I am a gun owner or broadcast that I am by any means. It just doesn’t seem wise.

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