How can we cut down on gun violence? A Fargo business owner has an idea.
FARGO — Sante Fe High School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Sandy Hook Elementary, Virginia Tech University, Columbine High School.
As Bruce Pantzke watched news coverage of one school shooting after another, he wondered to himself what could be done to cut down on this country's gun violence.
The avid hunter and owner of three Security Self Storage locations in the metro area came up with one possible answer.
Pantzke has opened what he believes is North Dakota's first guns and valuables vault at his north Fargo storage facility.
"We're giving people an alternative to storing their firearms in their home," Pantzke said.
He said removing guns from the home will restrict access and may help prevent certain crimes of passion.
The Vault Room, 402 25th St. N., offers 52 vaults in a variety of different sizes ranging from personal to eight-gun and 14-gun.
Pantzke said gun owners couldn't ask for better security considering the Fargo Police Department will soon be housed across the street once Border States Electric employees move into their new headquarters.
But he's not relying on protection from law enforcement. The operation is protected by several layers of security. The vaults are housed in the Security Self Storage office, with access limited to office hours. Beyond that, renters will need a code to get through a locked vault door and will also personally create a code for his or her individual safe.
Pantzke said the gun vaults will also be useful for college students who are unable to store their guns on campus.
Linda Shearer, manager of the north Fargo Security Self Storage location, said people traveling through North Dakota on their way to Canada are also potential customers.
While traveling through the area, Shearer said a university student from Georgia recently decided to spend a few days in Canada and was unable to bring his guns across the border. He found Security Self Storage online and was able to safely store his guns in Fargo while he traveled north.
Pantzke said the vaults are not just for guns.
"We're catering to people storing any kind of higher-value item: documents, jewelry, you name it," he said.
Because it's a climate-controlled environment, he said wine enthusiasts might also find this storage option useful.
Pantzke's background suits his new endeavor. He grew up hunting and fishing in North Dakota. As a young man, he enlisted in the North Dakota Air National Guard. He served in logistics and retired with the rank of captain several years ago.
"I applied my logistics knowledge to this," he said. "And I've been involved with firearms all my life.
"Now, I'm in the storage business, and it finally clicked," Pantzke continued. "I was watching these school shootings every day and thought there had to be something we could do to mitigate this. Give them an alternative to storing these firearms in the home. We want to be that alternative so people keep their firearms and be safe about it."