Spring 2.0 is upon us. For those of you who haven’t notice, beyond the broken debris on the edge of most roads, is a full group of blooming spring plants – unfortunately in the fall. Pears and azaleas are blooming with anticipation. For all those new bright green leaves bursting out of barren limbs, I wish you the best and promise to enjoy your beauty while it lasts. Even nature gets wacky after a storm.

Among storm debris are a lot of personal items. Photos, toys, clothes, a clay ashtray made years ago for a father’s day present. What is found in broken or soaked homes and yards are still treasures and are not there for looters and thieves.

Valuables, including jewelry and firearms may be in the mix as well so let’s go over some basic things to know.

1st – Should you find a handgun or long gun in storm debris contact local law enforcement and remember always to treat a firearm as if it is loaded. Keep the firearm pointed at the ground.

2nd – If you find a firearm that is not yours, make sure you keep a copy of the information, including the serial number and description and law enforcement agency you gave it to, in case you are able to find the owner.

3rd - If any of your firearms are damaged get it to a gunsmith as soon as able.

4th– Even if you don’t believe the firearm is wet or damaged make sure you give it a good cleaning, oiling and inspection before use.

5th – Do not use ammunition that has gotten wet.

6th – North Carolina does not have a gun registry but it is a good idea to contact local gun shops (after contacting local law enforcement) if you find a gun or have lost one. Gun shops do not have a data base to check outside their own records so contacting more than one is usually a good idea.

7th - Local law enforcement normally doesn’t share information with local gun shops regarding lost or found items.

8th – If you have a gun safe that was damaged or flooded and can’t get the combo lock to work, contact the manufacturer. In most cases they can help you.

9th – I hope you listened to me in the past and took photos of your firearms and serial numbers and emailed them to yourselves for records in case of an emergency. If not and you are able, do that as soon as you can. This is valuable and important information that will help you get your property back if it is lost or stolen.

10th – Another thing to remember is if you have damage to your home and will be having repair people inside, make sure everything is secured and not left out where things can disappear. Take a full inventory and make sure everything is accounted for. If damage to your home is extensive, consider storing them somewhere else, like a local gun shop. Cash, firearms and jewelry are always tempting items to a thief.

Remember knowledge is power and knowing how to protect your property is vital.


Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.