When I'm going about my daily grind, I check in and out via radio with the Police Department of the city where I work. I have occasion to visit an address and I inform dispatch that I am out at 1234 Whatever Street. When I'm done, I clear from the location on the radio.
Quite often, I'll check out at an address and Dispatch will tell me there is an "Alert for Guns" at that location. I don't generally pay much attention to the alert, because I assume everyone that I have to deal with is crazy right out of the box. I've very aware of my circumstances and the behavior of the people that I deal with. I don't bet my safety on whether or not someone in a warm cubicle somewhere gives me a heads up to potential danger.
I just assume that it's there and act accordingly.
I began to think, though, about what an "Alert for Guns" might actually entail. What event spurred the notation by an address in the City computer that potential danger for Police (and myself) exists? So, I spoke to one of the dispatch supervisors and asked where the info for the "alert" comes from. The following is the policy for the city were I work - but your home town could very well be similar....
You can get a danger warning about guns attached to your address in the Official Police Computer System just by checking a box on a Alarm Permit. When you have an alarm registered with the city, there's a little box near the top that you have to check if you have guns in the house. You also get tagged as a "Gun Alert" house if you ever have a Police Officer to your home - for whatever reason - and he just sees a gun or you mention that you have one. Even if you have the Police at your home because you are making a complaint on a neighbor for their barking dog, they will tag you with an "Alert for Guns" if they discover that you own firearms while they are there.
You also get the tag, obviously, if they discover your gun ownership because you've been up to mischief.... That's understandable. I think if you shoot a gun in your front yard or threaten your neighbors with a firearm, then that definitely needs to be noted for officer safety. I think marking gun owner homes as "dangerous" simply because guns are known to be there is a bit much though, and it bothers me. The dispatch supervisor admitted that the vast, vast majority of Gun Alerts in the system are generated by the more mild circumstances described above, rather than any idea that the person at that address is a danger to anyone.
Maybe I'm making mountains out of molehills here, but I don't like the thought of myself or anyone else that is a law abiding conscientious gun owner being tagged with an "Alert" because we own guns. And believe me, it is about the guns. Doubt me?....
Right next to the "Guns" check box on the alarm permit application there is an identical box marked "Dogs". I've never once had dispatch warn me that there are Dogs at the address that I'm visiting.