Are You a Gun Hoarder

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We've all seen the shows advertised on television about hoarders and hoarding: those sad lonely people who sit in their home overwhelmed by clutter and junk. Compulsive hoarding (also called pathological collecting) may affect as much as 5% of the population. Can you be a gun hoarder? Let's talk about that.

Hoarder vs. Collector

Most hoarder cases profiled are situations where a person refuses to get rid of otherwise worthless items (such as old newspapers, household garbage, phone books, etc.) seeing some future use for them. A collector will specialize in one particular type of item and pursue an interest in that item. For example, a collector may have 100 different coffee mugs from all over the world, whereas a hoarder would have 100 paper coffee cups all from one place...often still with coffee in them.

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Firearms have an intrinsic and real value. They rise in value over time on rates comparable with silver and gold. By that guideline most firearms owners are more collector than hoarder.

The Case of M.C.

M.C., a local gunsmith in my hometown, was a living database of firearms lore. In his 80s when I knew him, the man had run a lathe for Remington for two decades before he retired into general gunsmithing from his own shop. Never one to throw away an odd gun part, broken stock, or old bolt, over decades he filled a 1500 sq. ft. shop with enough bits and pieces to fabricate a hundred Franken-guns. I remember sitting with him in his shop and seeing a Sharps carbine trigger group sitting in a box filled with Lahti anti-tank gun parts and what looked like most of a Velo Dog revolver.†

"Any of that for sale?" I asked.

"Not on your life," he said without even looking at the items I asked about, "Never know when I'll need those for something."

When he died from a short illness, his daughters and grandkids, uninterested in the vast chaos of metal springs, magazines, and actions, simply boxed it all up and pushed it to the side of the road. Was M.C. a collector? Certainly. Was he a hoarder? Not really. Should he have placed his collection in the hands of someone that could have used it after he moved on? Assuredly.

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The Case of Mr. M

Sitting on Mr.M's couch was uncomfortable due to the barrel of the loaded Mossberg 12-gauge that was poking into your legs from under the cushion. So go to the kitchen and open the cabinet for a glass, but be careful or the 1911 in condition one there may fall out if you grab the wrong one. When you take a shower there, watch which bottle of shampoo you reach for so the Smith J frame doesn't tumble out onto your wet feet.

Mr. M is a good guy. A schoolteacher, church choir member, and veteran Marine. He's also a relative of mine and truly believes in keeping a firearm in every room should he have to make a tactical withdrawal or fight naked. He doesn't have any children, lives alone, and is very particular about who comes to his home. Is he a collector? A hoarder? Unsafe?

All I can say for sure is that he was burglarized and it took him two days to figure out where he had all of his hardware hidden to check and see if any of it was missing.

I personally know several firearms collectors who own over 50 working pieces. Myself I do not have quite that many but I do keep an excel spreadsheet of type, caliber, make, model, acquisition date, and serial number for my own personal records. It costs nothing to do and I feel is one of the most important files I have on my computer. With the exception of a foyer closet long arm and a side arm in my nightstand, everything else I have is secured and unloaded as a matter of personal choice.

Questions to see if you have a problem.

1. Do you often buy things you already have because you canít find them?

2. Do you avoid having company or make excuses when people call to come over because you donít want them to see how many firearms you have in your home?

3. Is it difficult to maneuver in your home because the pathways are narrow and precariously placed around unsecured firearms and ammunition?

4. Do you have family members who have issues with how many firearms you own?

5. Do people tell you that you might have a problem?

6. Do you spend most of your free time getting or collecting more guns, or lie to friends and family about how many guns you have?

7. Do you feel like you are leading a secret life, one outside your home and one inside it?

8. Have you lost guns inside your house for more than a few hours?

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you may need to talk to someone.
If not, nothing to see here, keep your head up and move along as a responsible collector.

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10 COMMENTS
Posted: 
August 20, 2012  •  12:35 AM
Not a hoarder. But would love to have the full safe of guns with safe included..........
 
Posted: 
August 21, 2012  •  08:33 PM
HA! If I had a gun safe that looked like that, people would be suspicious of my perpetual grin!!! Compared to that picture, I'm what you could call 'armory deficient'. I still like to think the bad guys would refer to my house as a 'pocket of heavy resistence'.

That's the most beautiful gun safe I've ever seen!
 
Posted: 
August 21, 2012  •  11:52 PM
1. Do you often buy things you already have because you canít find them?

Normally only nails, curtain hooks, picture hooks, faucet washers and other assorted hardware.

2. Do you avoid having company or make excuses when people call to come over because you donít want them to see how many firearms you have in your home?

No. Only Clark Kent would be able to see how many firearms are in my house. (I'm too stingy to spring for a fully lead-lined gun-cabinet...)

3. Is it difficult to maneuver in your home because the pathways are narrow and precariously placed around unsecured firearms and ammunition?

No.

4. Do you have family members who have issues with how many firearms you own?

No.

5. Do people tell you that you might have a problem?

Frequently - but invariably for reasons other than firearms.

6. Do you spend most of your free time getting or collecting more guns, or lie to friends and family about how many guns you have?

Only airsoft replicas, as they are cheap. Even then, I've got a list of replicas I want in my replica collection and something's got to be really exceptional to make it on the list.

7. Do you feel like you are leading a secret life, one outside your home and one inside it?

Yes, but I consider it fairly normal as I'm a believer in not advertising to the bad guys that there are firearms in the house. I trust my cabinet, but getting my house trashed while they test its efficacy would piss on my week.

8. Have you lost guns inside your house for more than a few hours?

I've never lost one inside my house for any length of time.

I'd love a collection of selected favourite Real Steel pistols and SMGs but they cost a major fortune (especially some of the ones I want) - far more than I can justify spending for any firearms over and above those I actually need.

Instead, I have a collection of airsoft and Denix (alloy) replicas to satisfy my urge for a "collection" of "cool guns" and limit the Real Steel to those I need and use - and I don't actually *need* a large number of pistols, rifles and SMGs.
 
Posted: 
August 22, 2012  •  12:20 AM
My income doesn't allow me to be a hoarder but if it did, you'd see more boxes of ammo in my house than guns. I think the only person to have too many guns is my enemy.
 
Posted: 
August 22, 2012  •  09:55 AM
I plead the 5th on the grounds it may incriminate :)
 
Posted: 
August 22, 2012  •  07:55 PM
i'm sorry, but i "resemble" that remark!!!

is there such a thing when referrin to firearms?
 
Posted: 
August 22, 2012  •  08:09 PM
1. Yes, but normally only consumable stuff. I can never find where I put the Super glue I bought last week. Or pencils.

2. All my guns are in their own room, more or less. Casual company doesn't see that room. However, I still don't invite a lot of people over because the house is best described as 'bachelor pad with shedding dog' zone.

3. The only things to avoid knocking over when navigating my house are books. I read a lot as well.

4. No family members with whom I have normal correspondence.

5. Yes, but they tend to be liberals who have difficulty dealing with freedom. And a couple of ex-wives, but they were crazy enough to marry a guy like me in the first place; I mean, look who's talking, huh?

6. This seems to be an 'either/or' question. Okay, I spend most of my time collecting, shooting, researching, working on, or compiling research on the guns I own and want to own. I don't lie to anyone about them; but I do sometimes inform some people what I own - or don't - is none of their business.

7. Okay, I'm really Batman. But keep it under your hat, okay?

8. (Blushing) Uh - yeah. Mostly they are found in the range bag, or a pistol box. Once in 'my other trousers'. They have all be accounted for and none are missing.

My collection started out as 'guns I use'. Primarily self-defense handguns and a hunting rifle or two. Then I started finding 'target' pistols for competition. And some more options for self-defense. Then some more rifles - for competition shooting and hunting. Some because they were too nice and inexpensive NOT to buy. A few shotguns the same way. One old semi-auto as a house defense and three gun match artifact; then a pump shotgun for police matches. Then I inherited a couple. And so on.

Now I collect 'art deco' .32 ACP self loaders and 'cop guns' - revolvers and pistols of the 20th Century used by U. S. law enforcement at any level.

I have a total of 91 handguns, rifles and shotguns. I still have places to put them, so there are more to come.

I could quit any time.

But why?
 
Posted: 
September 4, 2012  •  04:31 PM
Being a life-long shooter/hunter, Ive always owned 4 0r 5 firearms. About 6 years ago I began collecting and shooting alot more. I basically like variety when I go to the range and there is no such thing as a do-everything weapon so I have aquired enough guns of all shapes and sizes to fill my 35 gun safe. Ive tried to quit several times with no luck.I realize that it is unwise to let outside people know that you own alot of weapons = BUY A SAFE (best one you can afford) but my co-workers think Im a fanatic - who cares. Its my passion,my hobby and if your smart enough to not buy junk,your weapons will hold there value.I know of no-other country that will allow my hobby, so enjoy the 2nd and if its not harming the financial situation with your family, just tell people that your business is YOUR business. IMHO
 
Posted: 
September 9, 2012  •  07:52 AM
Ive got six myself all put together i can hunt anything in north america. i however do have a wish list i want to find a 44 cal black powder for under 200 if anybody out there could help me out.
 
Posted: 
September 26, 2012  •  12:53 PM
I've never bought a gun that I regret buying but there are several that I regret selling. That must be why I keep buying and don't sell guns I own. The collection has to grow for there is no other choice is there?
 
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