Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

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Mailbag Monday

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I use a bar on my front door at night. If someone needs to enter to check on us or in an emergency they would have to break the door down. Are there any alternatives that would keep the door secure but allow legitimate entry?

-From Ian M.

Answer: The security bar you use is designed to stop people from kicking or breaking down the door. Basically, if police or firefighters tried to get in during an emergency there is no doubt it would slow them down.

Of course, they have tools such as axes and they will figure out how to get in during an emergency. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to disengage these types of security devices when it’s an emergency or even a family member coming over.

For this reason, I would simply deal with the fact that first responders may have to break your door in half to get in and you will have to deal with the repairs. If it’s a life or death situation, this will be a small price to pay.

By the way, a good door security device is called the NightLock and I know many people who use it.


Are you required to have a FCC license for the Baofeng UV-5R radio that you use? I want to get the radio but I am hesitant to get a license.

-From Kelly J.

Answer: When it comes to these types of radios, license-requirements are based upon the band or frequency you wish to use, not the specific radio model.

An amateur radio license is required for transmitting in the amateur bands regardless of equipment used to do so.

With that being said, you can use the UV-5R as a two-way radio using the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) on channels in the 151 – 154 MHz spectrum range.

These channels are for short-distance, two-way communications using small, portable hand-held radios. If you buy the UV-5R and plan to use it as a HAM radio then you will need to get a license.


I’ve been looking for a type of exterior lock box to keep a spare house key. But, then I saw on youtube how various locks can be breached easily, so I wanted to know your thoughts about what you might use to secure a spare key.

-From Lisa T.

Answer: The days of hiding a spare key under the front door mat are long gone and criminals know to look under planters and other obvious places.

With that being said, I would find a creative place to hide your key where nobody will ever look.

I am sure there is some crevice or spot in your front or backyard where nobody will ever look. I know of one fellow who simply tapes a spare key underneath his car. He uses Gorilla tape so it stays on well.


What’s your take on AR-15 pistols?

-From Kevin S.

Answer: The AR-15 rifle is one of my favorite guns and recently there has been growing popularity regarding the AR pistols. Essentially, the AR pistol was developed to get around the National Firearms Act, since tax stamp waiting times can be several months or more.

The AR pistol is a shorter AR-15, but with a different buffer tube and no stock.

Pistol barrel sizes are usually seven inches or 10.5 inches, which gives the shooter a vast amount of flexibility in close-quarters shooting, which is why the AR pistol is becoming popular for home defense.

Biden wants to ban these types of guns, which is why now is the time to get one.


I had an FFL and there was a section in the law where you had to have your business in a commercial space and had to have so many feet of counter space etc. Did the law change?

-From Nick O.

Answer: There is a common misperception that to operate an FFL you need a retail or office location but this isn’t correct. You can 100% legally operate as an FFL dealer from your home.

The catch is that the ATF typically doesn’t approve FFL’s that will only be for personal use.

In other words, during the application process, you have to disclose that you will be using it to actually run a business and not just for personal use.


Is it safe to get the water out of the hot water heater when water becomes scarce? Can we drink this water?

-From Les M.

Answer: Water heaters can be a great source of water during an emergency. The first thing you would want to do is turn off power to the heater.

Typically, water heaters are either electric or gas, but either way, you want to make sure they are turned off. There should be a switch to turn off the power or you can turn off the circuit breaker.

Next, if you are worried about a tainted water supply, you want to turn off the valve that lets new water into the tank. This valve should be at the top of the tank near the pipe that brings in new water.

Finally, at the bottom of the tank you should see a drain and valve. Some of these drains have garden hose connections so you can hook a hose up and drain the water into another container.

Even though water from a water heater should be safe to drink, I would still recommend using a water filter to clean the water before drinking.

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