Guns

Clever Places to Hide Your Guns

gun safe

Securing your guns from unauthorized users is an integral component of ownership. A gun will serve hero or criminal, expert or fool alike with no prejudice. If an unauthorized user should find your gun, like a child, tragedy will be following shortly behind.

If a criminal finds your gun while ransacking your home or car in the midst of a burglary, you can rest assured it will be stolen and employed for no virtuous end, with your best-case outcome being it is sold to a commercial dealer instead of used in a violent crime.

The obvious go-to solution for securing firearms is through use of a safe. Large or small, a quality safe can secure your guns from wandering hands and deter or delay criminals from absconding with them. A good unit, secured properly, is the typical security measure employed by responsible gun owners to keep their guns safe.

But are they the only way? What about situations where one has neither funds nor ability to make use of a safe? You have a few options: you can keep a single gun on your person where it will be under your direct control, though you are out of luck if you should have more than one or two handguns and this is not always possible or practical at any rate.

You could go with the old standby of stashing your gun up on the highest shelf in a closet, though burglars will almost certainly find it as will curious children on their unsupervised explorations of their environment. We have all read stories of the latter scenario especially ending in tragedy time and time again.

Instead, we could take a third option: hide your guns, and hide them very well. The art of concealment, in the right circumstances, can be a valid, even ideal choice for a gun owner, even one with a secure storage container already in place. In this article, I will detail principals, examples and considerations you should understand before employing these methods for your own benefit.

Why Hide?

You might choose to hide a gun for a variety of reasons: you may not own a safe, perhaps you desire to place several guns throughout your environment for rapid access no matter what part of your home you are in. If you are traveling, knowing good hiding places may offer a measure of security over keeping the gun in your vehicle (a likely target of theft) or in a questionable in-room “safe.”

Whatever your reason, the desired outcome is the same: keep the guns out of unauthorized or criminal hands! Careful selection of hiding places and a little practice will give you an advantage when you need a gun in a hurry if confronted with a threat. Truly hidden spots will remain not found from all but the nosiest of children or thorough of thieves.

There are a few attributes that will determine any given hiding spot’s viability and efficacy for a given task, discussed below. I will tell you up front that there is no one-size-fits-all hiding place: depending on your purposes, you might need maximum security, or maximum accessibility.

Rarely will the two meet. Some locations may incur wear or weathering on the gun that will need to be accounted for one way or another. You will need to use your head and common sense when choosing to hide a gun in any of the locations discussed below or one you devise yourself.

As always, take the time to think through all possible events that may result in someone finding the gun or you needing to access it in a hurry. What sounds great on paper or in your mind may not work out at all in practice.

Considerations

As mentioned above, you will be biasing most hiding places towards either security or ease of access. A truly hidden, easily accessed solution likely exists, but is typically rare without some technical know-how or specialist methods.

Generally, the better hidden and more unreachable a location, is the more difficult and slower it will be for you to access it. If security is your primary concern, the more bizarre and unreachable the better when placing.

If you are stashing guns in ready positions for home defense, you will need to strike a balance between access and security from other’s grubby mitts depending on your family and/or visitor situation.

If you decide to locate a gun in an area of the home that is damp or wet, you must engage in regular routine maintenance and lubrication to prevent corrosion from wrecking your firearm.

The gun’s finish is a significant factor in determining maintenance intervals, with classic bluing faring much, much worse to exposure of that kind than a finish like Cerakote or nitrocarburizing.

It sounds silly, but if you are stashing guns high and low like a magpie you need a physical inventory of the guns themselves and their locations to keep from forgetting about them.

Spare me your rebuke about how good your memory is; you are human, which means you have a human brain, simultaneously one of the most wondrously powerful and laughably fallible structures in all of creation. Don’t run the risk of neglecting or, worse, forgetting all about a hidden gun and moving away.

Either write down the list in a fashion that only makes sense to you or keep it safely stored in a bank deposit box or electronically encrypted.

This bears mentioning again: if you are in a home with children, you must make absolutely sure that the child cannot access the gun no matter what until they are of age to be trained in basic gun safety and strictly follow instruction from parents and adults.

It is up to parents to determine the maturity and intelligence levels of their children and act accordingly; the very best protection for youth is training and education. You must plan otherwise that children will find any gun conventionally hidden in the home, and more than a few unconventional hiding places.

Similarly, common burglars will routinely find common hiding places, and professional thieves will ransack a home with no nook unturned in shockingly little time.

Given more time in the home, or if they feel they have little risk of discovery, the entire home will be processed thoroughly by thieves looking for hidden valuables. Only the most well hidden locations will escape an instance like that.

As a quick aside, many safes, certainly anything 500lbs and under, are considered man-portable, and can be carted off entirely with a sturdy dolly or team of strong crooks. Others will use tools found in and around the home to attack the safe itself or its anchoring system.

As a rule, any security measure will only buy time, nothing more. There is nothing that is unbreachable or unreachable if someone has enough time and willpower.

In conjunction with an alarm system, thieves will usually put themselves on the clock, grabbing only what obvious items they can before beating feet with their ill-gotten goods. Like you would with any other defensive or security measure, consider hiding places as just another layer in your integrated protective plan, not a one-shot, fool-proof method for securing your guns.

Hidden Treasure

Today we are hiding iron and lead, not silver and gold. Below are some ideas you may consider using for your own purposes or simply as fodder for your own creative process. I have added a few thoughts and concerns on each.

Start thinking about why or why not each of these would be workable in your home. If one is, what variation could you put on the concept? If not, why? Would another location be subject to the same deal-breaker?

Inside a fixture– Behind a real or false panel, receptacle, sconce, or medallion. Take care around live electrical components if applicable.

In the pantry, fridge or freezer– Take an empty or partially full box or container that belongs among the others and hide a gun inside. You’ll need to step up maintenance checks if keeping a gun in the fridge or freezer. This location is easily compromised by guests or family.

Among the towels– A stack of towels or linens will hide a handgun easily with no outward sign of disturbance.

The laundry basket– If it is full of dirty clothes, so much the better. Few family members and fewer crooks will search the hamper.

Boxed up– A shoe box or similar among others of like kind can be a good hiding place for a handgun and still quick to open.

In the vents– You can hang a gun on a piece of cord inside a vertical shaft or simply push it back away from casual notice in a horizontal shaft. Tape a piece of string to the “ceiling” of the horizontal shaft to make retrieval easier.

Trash Day– A stack of broken down boxes or bags of “trash” comprised of crumpled newspaper can conceal even a long gun in plain sight.

Under the sink– Fashion a hook from a coat hanger or other sturdy wire and you can hang a handgun close under a sink, invisible to anyone who does not stick their head under the washstand.

Picture frame– A thick picture frame, or one that stands off the wall a bit, can have its back papered over and with the gun secured in the resulting space.

Hidden in clothes– The clothes hanging in your closet, especially sturdy coats or trousers, can handily hide a gun suspended from a hanger or piece of wire. Take care if you decide to just drop a pistol in a pocket; the garment will hang skewed, a dead giveaway that something has been hidden inside.

Behind drapes or curtains– attach a holster or hanger that will support the weight of the gun to the wall behind thick or layered drapes. So long as they are undisturbed the gun remains out of sight.

Inside furniture– Create a small cubby underneath a chair or sofa. Utilize a false bottom or back in a drawer or nightstand. Use your imagination. Don’t stick it under the sofa cushion and call it good, everyone looks there.

Inside/Under a Vase or Trophy– Depending on the dimensions of the gun, a vase or trophy may hide it either inside or under the base. Take care here, as anything that appears valuable may be a target of theft.

Inside a clean paint can– A good spot. A cleaned out paint can, complete with old paint spatters and label, placed among others in your workshop or basement is likely to evade detection.

book safe

Use a Book Safe– Ah, the classics. Make your own or buy a purpose made unit. Beware; many thieves have long been keen on ripping every book off shelves as SOP looking for just such a contraption.

Stashed in the attic– Either inside a box of stuff or concealed somewhere around the structure.

Behind upholstery– With a little DIY work and some thread, Velcro and glue, you can create an imperceptible flap where fabrics join on a piece of furniture or seat in your car. Affix a holster or peg inside to hold the gun.

A custom compartment– In the wall, ceiling or floor. With attention to detail and some ingenuity, it is entirely possible to craft a truly seamless secret compartment. If you ensure there is no telltale like a rattle, squeak, shadow or visible edges, these can make one of the best stashes.

Behind a false wall– Similar to the custom compartment, you can create a false wall in a closet, pantry or end of a hallway that is designed to be removed or swing away. Another variation that can yield perfect concealment for long term storage is simply drywalling over the same finished space with minimal or no framing. In an emergency the drywall can easily be broken away to access the contents.

Decoy gun– The great bamboozle. Control perception, control events. If you have some old, junky guns, or even a nicer, but broken gun, you can prominently display it or “hide” it in an obvious clichéd hiding spot.

If a thief should find them, he may be content with the score of a gun or three and depart while the getting is good. The remainder of your stash will be safe. Take care that you permanently deactivate or sabotage your decoy guns, think welded slugs in barrels, shaved firing pins, etc.

Conclusion

Well planned, clever hiding spots are viable solutions for securing and maintaining ready access to guns so long as a few essential guidelines are followed. Don’t fall victim to “tried and true” hiding spots: they aren’t fooling anyone. With a little ingenuity and some elbow grease, you can secure your guns when safes are not available or practical.

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About Charles Yor

Charles Yor is an advocate of low-profile preparation, readiness as a virtue and avoiding trouble before it starts. He has enjoyed a long career in personal security implementation throughout the lower 48 of the United States.
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9 thoughts on “Clever Places to Hide Your Guns

  1. Charles,
    This is a pretty good list; but, misses one of the most important aspects of firearms storage.
    Never store a loaded gun!!!
    Using the same hidey holes, you can store a loaded magazine or speed loader (double action revolver) or a handful of cartridges for a single action revolver. I’ve found that a old 35 mm film canister can easily hold six .38 special or .347 magnum cartridges, keep them together and makes them easy to access.
    I’ll address other issues later this evening after my radio net that is about to start.

  2. My additions & comments:

    The obvious go-to solution for securing firearms is through use of a safe. Large or small, a quality safe can secure your guns from wandering hands and deter or delay criminals from absconding with them. A good unit, secured properly, is the typical security measure employed by responsible gun owners to keep their guns safe.

    These come in all sizes and prices and there are ways to make even the inexpensive once a bit harder to breach that I will explain below.

    You could go with the old standby of stashing your gun up on the highest shelf in a closet, though burglars will almost certainly find it as will curious children on their unsupervised explorations of their environment. We have all read stories of the latter scenario especially ending in tragedy time and time again.

    And sometimes by a person who should know better: 4-Year-Old Dies After Finding Gun From Dad, a State Trooper
    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/ohio/articles/2019-05-13/4-year-old-dies-in-shooting-police-believe-was-accident

    Whatever your reason, the desired outcome is the same: keep the guns out of unauthorized or criminal hands! Careful selection of hiding places and a little practice will give you an advantage when you need a gun in a hurry if confronted with a threat. Truly hidden spots will remain not found from all but the nosiest of children or thorough of thieves.

    Once again, hide the unloaded firearm and its ammunition in separate places where you can retrieve and put them together quickly; but, make it harder for others to do so.

    g>This bears mentioning again: if you are in a home with children, you must make absolutely sure that the child cannot access the gun no matter what until they are of age to be trained in basic gun safety and strictly follow instruction from parents and adults.

    My daughter was shooting at age 5 and was immunized by the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program; but, we still kept the guns tucked away from prying eyes & hands, since she was not a problem; but, others, even untrained adults, could be if they are in the house.

    As a quick aside, many safes, certainly anything 500lbs and under, are considered man-portable, and can be carted off entirely with a sturdy dolly or team of strong crooks. Others will use tools found in and around the home to attack the safe itself or its anchoring system.

    While my safes can be attacked, they cannot be simply carted off. I have the heavy gauge steel gun cabinets all with different integral locks as well as a couple of similar pistol cabinets. The long gun cabinets are nested next to each other in a 2nd floor room, with very narrow steps to the upstairs. The pistol cabinets sit on top of those cabinets. All of these cabinets have holes in the bottom and sides for attaching mounting screws / lag bolts. By drilling through the holes into the adjacent cabinets and bolting them together from the inside, 3 cabinets and the two handgun cabinets sitting on top become a single piece of kit, all bolted together where the bolts cannot be attacked directly from the outside. The nice thing about doing it this way, is you can acquire the cabinets one at a time as you can afford them, and individually they are easy to handle and drag up those narrow stairs, with only a little drilling and inexpensive bolts, washers, and nuts to secure the whole thing.

    In the vents– You can hang a gun on a piece of cord inside a vertical shaft or simply push it back away from casual notice in a horizontal shaft. Tape a piece of string to the “ceiling” of the horizontal shaft to make retrieval easier.

    If I’m looking for something hidden inside a wall (vertical shaft) I might be looking for cordage hanging into the void. What I have done in the past prior to having the cabinets, was to place a firearm into a container, like a soft case and attach cordage to the case and to a magnet. Lowering another piece of cordage with a magnet allows one to retrieve the cordage tucked down in the wall with no obvious thing dangling into the void. For smaller handguns, you don’t even need the cordage tucked away, since a pair of Neodymium rare earth magnets has enough strength to haul the gun to your hands with one in / on the case and the other on a piece of cordage.

    Decoy gun– The great bamboozle. Control perception, control events. If you have some old, junky guns, or even a nicer, but broken gun, you can prominently display it or “hide” it in an obvious clichéd hiding spot.

    If it is well known that you are a shooter, such as NRA or other stickers on your windows or vehicle or your neighbors know you go shooting or hunting, then a thief will be expecting one or more firearms, so hiding them all, may only get your house torn apart. Better to let them find the cheap broken gun with no firing pin so they can leave without more mayhem.

  3. My oldest daughter fired her first gun at 4-years old and received significant firearms safety training (mainly Eddie Eagle). When she was six or seven, I came home for lunch while was working as a cop. No one was home, so I put my duty revolver on a table near the front door with my scout car keys.

    While tinkering in the kitchen, my wife, daughter, and some friends came home. Suddenly, I heard my daughter, “Don’t you touch that gun! It’s not a toy!” I had forgotten the revolver was out there, and a little boy had bee-lined for the revolver the second he saw it. I came out to find my daughter standing, arms-crossed, between the boy and the revolver. I secured the gun immediately.

    I was very proud of my girl (still am). Her daughter is getting trained now even as a two-year old.

    I know this isn’t the main thrust of the article, but securing firearms from kids is as critical as securing them from thieves. I went to more than one scene as a cop and paramedic where a kid got hold of a parent’s firearm resulting in a tragedy. Sadly, in one case the father had done a very good job, but his teenaged son was apparently an accomplished safe cracker. How that kid survived a .357 to the front of his head, I’ll never know.

    1. Zulu 3-6,

      No one was home, so I put my duty revolver on a table near the front door with my scout car keys.
      While tinkering in the kitchen, my wife, daughter, and some friends came home. Suddenly, I heard my daughter, “Don’t you touch that gun! It’s not a toy!” I had forgotten the revolver was out there, and a little boy had bee-lined for the revolver the second he saw it. I came out to find my daughter standing, arms-crossed, between the boy and the revolver. I secured the gun immediately.

      I never had an experience with a loaded firearm; but, I do have an old Winchester Model 12 with a cartoon like burst barrel and no firing pin that I use as a prop in my classes. One day after a long weekend teaching, I simply set my ”prop” gun in a corner and forgot about it. That was until my daughter, perhaps 7 or 8 at the rim, asked me when I was going to put it away. Lesson learned.
      I also never had an experience with another kid in the house and guns; but, that’s the one thing people often forget. While my kid may be gun proof and trustworthy, leaving an unsecured firearm when other people may be in the house can be dangerous, as your situation might have been but for your little “cop” standing in the way.

      Her daughter is getting trained now even as a two-year old.

      That’s about when we started the Eddie Eagle Program. She quite literally cut her teeth on the Eddie Eagle plush dolls beak.

      I went to more than one scene as a cop and paramedic where a kid got hold of a parent’s firearm resulting in a tragedy.

      Note my link to a recent story about the same. In this case the parent was / is an Ohio state trooper (Ohio State Patrol).
      I mean no disrespect to police; but, often they are some of the worst people around guns, since they are not a hobby where they practice for fun or hunting; but, a tool of the job that they have to carry and perhaps only fire once or twice per year to qualify.

      1. TOP,

        The lack of firearms practice by police officers was something that annoyed me for a long time. I pointed out to people, all of the time, that they were happy as clams to run out at the drop of a hat to go to the driving range and hit golf balls, but wouldn’t go to a firearms range and practice with their firearms unless the department made them (and was paying them). Hell, if they were taking their duty pistols, I’d even provide some ammo for free. They could use the department’s range for free too if it wasn’t already in use.

        Golf did nothing to protect their lives or that of others, but proficiency with their firearms damned sure could. The light bulb came on with a few guys, but most kept on truckin’ in their ineptitude.

        I did introduce a number of different drills during range days to spice thing up. This helped a lot in at least making range day a time worth looking forward to. Just shooting the same old qualification course was boring (it was), but learning to shoot (a lot) with their non-dominant hand, how to reload, clear jams, etc, with just one hand (including the non-dominant hand), shooting with winter gloves on, shooting from the prone (with a pistol it’s different than with a rifle), reactive targets, etc. At least I got them paying attention and competing to do well on training days. Even a couple of our notorious slackers started looking forward to see what I came up with next.

        When I went to some outside training sessions, I would try to get a couple of other officers signed up too. Yes, it helped them, but I wanted them to come back and spread the word that their firearms instructor was pretty damned good. Things really improved when the word got back that I out-shot an ex-Team 6 SEAL on a sub-gun/pistol CQB course.

        People complain when they read of police shootings where the officers fire multiple shots and only hit the bad guy once or twice, and not necessarily in vital places, or worse, miss and hit innocent bystanders. This is not necessarily a result of lack of training (though it could be that too). Instead, it is frequently simple human physiology in action. Extreme stress causes your body and brain to do all sorts of weird things, especially when trying to perform physical functions requiring fine motor skills. Shooting a gun accurately IS a fine motor skill that goes down the toilet under extreme stress. Yes, training can ameliorate some of the effects, but it has to be specific types of training simulating the life threatening stress of a gunfight. Standing in front of a paper target with circles is not that type of training.

        I have a friend who is now a retired Detroit police officer. He served three tours in Vietnam and was in lots of gunfights. Plus he was a Marine Corps trained sniper. In his time as a cop, he was in five gunfights. Every shot he fired hit the bad guy he was aiming at, including the one time he used a 12-ga with 00-buck. Four of five died at the scene. He never seemed nervous in a high stress situation. But, he was really an outlier. Combat in Vietnam obviously inoculated him against the worse effects of high stress in a life threatening situation. Plus, he was an accomplished shooter with anything that went bang. That helps a lot too.

        This part is not for TOP as I know he has done this: Read the books by Lt. Col Dave Grossman (On Combat and On Killing. Teaching our Children to Kill is also of interest). Attend one of his seminars on The Bulletproof Mind. Also good is a book by Bruce Siddle, Sharpening the Warriors Mind. Siddle is primarily known for physical defensive tactics, not shooting, but it all transfers over. There are a lot of academic studies out there on police use of force that might surprise some people, like why police sometimes shoot people in the back when they are no longer an apparent threat (answer: they were still a threat when the officer made his decision to shoot and pulled the trigger, but in that short time, the bad guy had managed to turn around to flee). Unfortunately, unless you have access to a university library that subscribes to the appropriate publications, most folks won’t be able to read them.

        However, an excellent source of scientifically sound use of force studies is the Force Science Institute, formally under the aegis of the University of Minnesota-Mankato, but now independent (I think the liberals at UMinn drove them out). https://www.forcescience.org/

        1. Zulu 3-6,
          The lack of firearms practice by police officers was something that annoyed me for a long time. I pointed out to people, all of the time, that they were happy as clams to run out at the drop of a hat to go to the driving range and hit golf balls, but wouldn’t go to a firearms range and practice with their firearms
          Unfortunately I’ve heard this from too many good officers who are also frustrated.
          I did introduce a number of different drills during range days to spice thing up. This helped a lot in at least making range day a time worth looking forward to. Just shooting the same old qualification course was boring (it was), but learning to shoot (a lot) with their non-dominant hand, how to reload, clear jams, etc, …
          We usually add something like this in our classes, including point shoulder (natural point of aim) sometimes doing evening low light drills to show them why shooting without the sights might be necessary.

          People complain when they read of police shootings where the officers fire multiple shots and only hit the bad guy once or twice, and not necessarily in vital places, or worse, miss and hit innocent bystanders. This is not necessarily a result of lack of training (though it could be that too). Instead, it is frequently simple human physiology in action. Extreme stress causes your body and brain to do all sorts of weird things, especially when trying to perform physical functions requiring fine motor skills.

          As I understand it, that’s also why we have the Tueller drill. Gun vs. knife training where the knife can be a credible threat.

          Shooting a gun accurately IS a fine motor skill that goes down the toilet under extreme stress. Yes, training can ameliorate some of the effects, but it has to be specific types of training simulating the life threatening stress of a gunfight. Standing in front of a paper target with circles is not that type of training.

          While my vision makes it mostly impossible now, I used to shoot IPSC and along with IDPA, one can get a pretty good view and practice into this kind of training under stress; however, the stress is artificial in the clock and not quite a deadly encounter. It’s still better than just putting holes in paper.

          This part is not for TOP as I know he has done this: Read the books by Lt. Col Dave Grossman (On Combat and On Killing. Teaching our Children to Kill is also of interest).

          You might also include another of Grossmans books:
          ”Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression, and the Psychology of Killing” By Dave Grossman, Katie Miserany, and Kristine Paulsen
          It’s interesting to see that many large cities that were once rather peaceful, now seem to have more & more violence. Ohio’s capital city, Columbus is our closest large metro area @ around 60 miles, and I see shootings reported on the news now, nearly every day. I’m glad I live rural and most people around here don’t even question why one would carry multiple defensive means at all times.

          Attend one of his seminars on The Bulletproof Mind. Also good is a book by Bruce Siddle, Sharpening the Warriors Mind. Siddle is primarily known for physical defensive tactics, not shooting, but it all transfers over.

          It all comes down to mindset and tuning your OODA loop, so anything yoy can do there will be helpful.

          There are a lot of academic studies out there on police use of force that might surprise some people, like why police sometimes shoot people in the back when they are no longer an apparent threat (answer: they were still a threat when the officer made his decision to shoot and pulled the trigger, but in that short time, the bad guy had managed to turn around to flee)

          But who are you gonna believe? Some cop or an important social justice warrior out making points.
          The problem as I see it Is that policing sometimes involves encounters with hoodlums; but, lack of policing allows the hoodlums to kill each other, in which case it is once again the fault of the police for not catching the hoodlums in the first place. Sometimes you just cannot win.

          However, an excellent source of scientifically sound use of force studies is the Force Science Institute, formally under the aegis of the University of Minnesota-Mankato, but now independent

          Thanks for that link. It will I suspect provide hours of reading.

  4. Irresponsible of you to make such a statement! You probably call it a WEAPON too.

    “. . . . curious children on their unsupervised explorations of their environment. We have all read stories of the latter scenario especially ending in tragedy time and time again.” FALSE & IRRESPONSIBLE STATEMENT!

    FIRST, responsible people teach their kids FIRST all about guns.
    SECOND, accidental shootings are the lowest of the list of shooting statistics.

    THIRD, the only possibility of your statement being even remotely possible, is where idiots buy a gun on the sly with NO TRAINING for themselves, believing that just having a gun makes them “safer.”

    STOP perpetuating such BULLSHIT! It’s the greatest threat to our freedom.

    1. I already replied to you via email, Tom may see this comment and reply, I accidentally thought it was Tara’s, article. In any case, I won’t be posting it again here.

    2. TP,

      I frankly am not certain what you are upset about. Children who access unattended guns anywhere- in the home, at a friend’s or family member’s house, or in the car- have before, do today and will in the future shoot themselves or others. A search on any search engine will furnish plenty of recent instances. It should not happen, but it does.

      To your first point, I said exactly as much later in the article and am a staunch advocate of the same. I have the feeling you flew down here to the comments after reading that paragraph in the opening that set you off for whatever reason.

      To the second point, I do not care how numerous or how few accidental shootings are. I only know that almost all of them are preventable by strict adherence to good procedure. Just as I advocated in the article, and will continue to advocate in the future.

      As to your third point, I honestly do not know what you are going on about. If you will take the time to read my article in its entirely I hope that you might find it helpful and see that we probably agree about everything you are upset about.

      Take care,
      -Charles

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