Guests leave bag of ammo and loaded gun in nightstand

Okay fellow hosts, I’m hoping that I can post here for some solid advice without sparking a political debate even though we all surely have our own passionate thoughts on the topic. In the past two weeks, I’ve had three different sets of guests at my off-grid, remote cabin. Two of those bookings were “turnaround” reservations, meaning that guests checked out and new guests checked in on the same day and things were quite hectic for the cleaning crew. The third time, I cleaned the cabin myself. When I was cleaning, I got a sixth sense and opened one of the cabinets in the kitchen where I keep a ton of spices. On the very top shelf, I noticed a plastic bag. I pulled it down and to my surprise found a bag of ammunition. I had/have no idea how long the bag was in the cabinet or who the owner might be. This morning, the current guests wrote to say that they were double checking drawers before checkout and found a loaded pistol in the master bedroom nightstand. (Note I didn’t check the nightstand drawers during my last cleaning.) THANK HEAVENS the current guests have three teenage sons and not three small children who could have gotten curious and found the loaded weapon. I immediately called the local sheriff’s office and they sent out a deputy to pick up the gun. The deputy ran a check on the gun and it’s not stolen property but he’ll keep it as “confiscated goods” and handle any communication with the owner. It took quite a bit of time for me to navigate all of this today. What I’m wondering is whether any other hosts have had to proactively address firearm issues - and more importantly safety - in their listings or house rules. My cabin is located in prime elk/deer/beer country, and some people may come to fish and hunt. I also know that some from the city are very scared by pitch black starry nights - some have even told me that the silence of the backcountry “makes it hard for them to sleep.” They might want to carry protection? Anyhow, I don’t want to make this a moral issue and I leave the decision about a weapon (including bear spray, which is considered a weapon) up to the guest. However, I have ZERO tolerance for unsafe practices and putting others, including myself, at risk. An unsecured gun could be stolen from the property while guests are out, a horrific accident could happen with children, etc. What a mess! I searched on Airbnb for guidance and there’s not much except this language (see below), but how would this help me unless I have cameras at the cabin and spy on guests or conduct site visits and look through their things? I’m trying to figure out how to word my house rules so that those who choose to bring a weapon will practice meticulous safety while others who choose not to bring one won’t perceive the property as a dangerous wild, wild west or something. Oh and I’m still trying to track down the owner of the gun and ammo - someone who practices truly horrendous safety since a week or two later, he or she still hasn’t realized the gun is even missing. Thanks for any advice!

From AirBnB:
Guests are also required to provide notice of and obtain consent for any secured weapons prior to booking, and should use the messaging feature to do so. If prior notice of a secured weapon is not provided and the host or guest prefers to cancel the reservation, Airbnb will allow cancellation without penalty.

Ask the police for the name of the owner of the gun, explaining that you aren’t sure which of the previous 3 sets of guests left the unsecured, loaded gun, and you need to report the guest to Airbnb. Hopefully they will give the name.

No, I have never had to deal with such a thing at my place in Mexico. I get mostly international guests who fly in, so they can’t bring a weapon, and guns are heavily restricted for private citizens in Mexico. Plus I do not attract the type of guests who would ever carry a gun. And why would someone book a remote cabin if they are so afraid of the quiet, the dark, or animal sounds that are common to the countryside or wilderness?

I really don’t have any suggestions for your listing wording, because if it was me, I would absolutely forbid guests bringing weapons.

But I would be more attentive to thoroughly checking all cupboards, drawers, etc, when cleaning. If your cleaners or you are too “rushed” to do this between bookings, I would leave a day in between bookings. I can sort of understand something tucked away on the top shelf of a kitchen cupboard full of spices being missed, but I truly don’t understand “missing” cleaning out bedside tables. People put all manner of things in bedside tables that would be terrible for incoming guests to find- wadded up tissues someone has blown their nose in, medication, food wrappers covered in ants, used earplugs, one host here even found dirty underwear.


From your reference to the AirBnB policy, we as hosts are protected and can cancel guests who bring weapons without consent. Thanks so much for sharing this.

I think you did a beautiful job of handling this situation.

What I’m changing, thanks to your experience, is from now on, I will check all drawers and shelves after guests check out.

I would not return weapons to guests who forgot them without calling the police first. I would ask the police to handle weapon return.

Also, something I learned from a New York City officer–handle the weapon only with rubber gloves or in some way that does not disturb fingerprints. As the cop said, “You don’t know where [that weapon] has been.”

Otherwise there is nothing to do.

SCOTUS has decided what the law is and yes, I would like very much to move to Portugal.


Yes, of course I have a house rule about guns:

We do not want loaded guns on our property. If you are required by law to bring a gun onto the property, please advise us via the Airbnb Messaging system and provide us with a copy of your gun permit. No exceptions.

Now I realize that given your remote location you may be ok with guns so you can modify this but for me, it’s my home and I live below.


I think you handled it well and better than I would have. It’s odd that the the owner who is unknown but not your current guests hasn’t noticed it was missing and contacted you. Surely they don’t value their Airbnb membership over a gun. And ammo isn’t cheap either. LOL. On the other hand if they are far away they probably aren’t going to ask you to go to the trouble of getting it back to them, like having to ship it to a Federal Firearms License holder.

In terms of advice going forward, there is no way you can regulate unsafe practices of others. You can put wording in your listing about respecting their choices and reminding them to be careful but aside from that, nothing you can do. And this is true of all their other bad choices like drinking and driving, or checking to make sure the children aren’t being abused in any way or … you get the idea.

The only thing I can think of that you could do is to provide a guest safe and ask guests who bring a handgun to please secure it in the safe. In my experience with gun owners who think guns provide protection, they may or may not be willing to do that. edit: this statement was incorrect <If this owner had the ammo hidden up high, separated from the gun they at least gave some thought to safety.>


The gun in the bedside drawer was loaded. I am assuming it was the same set of guests who left the ammo and the loaded gun…

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Oops, missed that. I’ll edit my post before anyone else jumps in to point that out.

Well then, unless it had a trigger lock this owner is in the “doesn’t care about safety” category. Or rather, they have an idea about safety that is counter to all known research and is based entirely on how he feels. Having known some of these people my entire life I don’t believe there is a single thing you can tell them that will change their behavior. The only thing that might work is the tragic, or near tragic incident.


Mexico has quite stringent laws against people owning firearms, never mind bringing them into the country. So there’s that on your side.

As for your being in bear country and hosting hunters, you can’t forbid firearms. You can ask the police to contact AirBnB about the owner - there is probably a procedure in place. Doubtful you’ll get the name of the owner anyway, no matter your logical reasons for wanting to not only let them know they lost their firearm (idiots), but also let Air know.

If I were traveling with a firearm, it would be under lock and key. But I’ll leave gun safety and training right here.

Agreed. You did everything you needed to do. What amazes me is that the owner hasn’t reached out asking where the firearm is. That’s not right.

Go forth, add a HR that states “Per ABB policy, any firearms or bear spray brought to the property need to be disclosed in advance. We understand that some guests come to hunt or bring a weapon for self defense. However, ABB and our insurance require that we be notified.”

If anyone gives you grief, mention the gun and ammo you just found (the fact that no one has come forth to collect it speaks volumes about possible illegal ownership) and that you want to make sure that everyone is safe.

Have you thought about putting a gun safe in the cabin? Or in a shed?

Just a thought for a remote location.

As a former NYC and Boston city dweller, I found the countryside to be eerily silent and animal noises, which were foreign to me, spooked me. It’s not a question of being afraid, it’s the unfamiliar sounds. Give me the noise of a busy city block in the middle of the night and I sleep like a baby. Bumps in the night in suburbia? I’m up checking the perimeter! :wink:

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She can forbid them bringing them into the house. If they are hunters, there is no reason they need a gun in the house, they can leave it secured in their vehicle.

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I’m not a fan of people having rules they can’t enforce.

I think by having an honest dialog with gun owners about their concerns and safety the OP is better off than forbidding something causing a gun owner to become secretive and defiant. If you’ve kept up with US politics you know that defiance is a common reaction to reasonable requests on some issues.


Right after I started hosting, I asked on this forum about whether I should install a wall safe in my listing that could secure valuables or a firearm. I don’t know if there was a consensus, but I never installed it. I actually had already purchased the safe because my previous long-term tenant was a police officer and his wife didn’t want him to keep his service pistol in the house, so he kept it in the trunk of his car, but he ended up vacating earlier than he planned and I never installed it while he was there.

Exactly. I hosted about 60 reservations in about 18 months and given that firearms are legal here (including concealed carry without a permit), I’d be surprised if a no guest ever brought a firearm into my listing and I doubt putting a rule about it would have any affect at all. The same goes for illegal drugs.


My friends who concealed carry don’t advertise it and they also wouldn’t be deterred by host telling them they can’t. They only obey when going into Mexico or going in an airport or other venue where they will be subject to a physical search upon entering.


Yes, there’s that. Quite true.

Yep. I read that Madison Cawthorn, entitled, lying frat boy that he is, got busted not once but twice, within a fairly short period of time, trying to get on a flight with a gun. Is that defiance, or just plain stupidity? A combination of both, I guess.

Oh hell no. No responsible gun owner in this day and age leaves a firearm in a vehicle overnight or unattended. Even if you have a safe in the vehicle. Nope, they come in and go into the safe every time.

This. They’ll bring them anyway and then what?

As someone who grew up around responsible gun owners, we’re very reasonable when we are met with legit concerns like this. “I’m coming to hunt and bringing rifles, etc. Do you have a gun safe or separate locking storage area?”

Being emotional won’t get anyone anywhere. Safe practices and open communication.

And from now on, make sure your cleaners check everything. I mean we all remember the used panties in the bottom nightstand drawer, the personal toys, etc that have made posts here. And yes @muddy, before you say they won’t kill someone - agreed. But guests leave stuff. And a remote cabin where hunting is accepted by the host means extra diligence.


I’ve had most things but never a gun or ammo in the rentals. (As far as I know - yikes). If I did, I’d hand them to the police, explain the situation and then forget about it. (Well, probably after I’d told the story here).

I do want to point out though …

This is not an excuse. Even when it’s a double turnover I make sure that everything is done properly in the time available.

There should also be a final walkthrough (by the host or co-host) to check that everything is perfect.

I’d be pretty impatient with a cleaning crew that missed checking inside all drawers and cupboards - that’s a pretty basic thing.

Quite often I do a double turnover plus occasionally one for a neighbour with no help. Admittedly the apartments are all pretty small one-bedroom and even though I might skip a couple of minor things, checking drawers and cupboards isn’t one of them.

If I can do it, a professional cleaning crew can. :roll_eyes:

That was me. Although I think it was posted first by another guest and I said “Me too!”


It was a post by a new host who had had a friend stay in the unit before she actually had a guest. After her friend left and she was preparing the place for her first guest, she found the underwear- that’s how I recall it, anyway. I remember asking, “Who puts dirty underwear in a bedside drawer?”

You’ve got a much better memory than I have. :slight_smile:

The men’s underpants I found weren’t in the bedside drawer but in the chest of drawers several feet away. Which makes it even more bizarre really…

Then there was the woman at Love Field in Dallas today with a handgun and shooting it. A guard shot her in a lower extremity and she was transported to hospital.

Imagine the havoc this caused in an already stressed system? Think everything was cancelled.

Shooters in airports now, most reassuring.

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Malls, airports, grocery stores, schools. It’s utterly shocking and very hard to understand for non-Americans. Not only does the US have a gun problem, they seem to have a mental health crisis.

A guy who posts on a Mexico forum said he went up to Texas a few weeks ago to help his adult daughter move into a new house. There were 2 shootings in the neighborhood within 24 hours, one where several members of a family were shot and killed. The police had some roads blocked off around the sites, and the poster had gone to the grocery store with his daughter, where people were standing around bitching about the road closures, seemingly immune to the horror of the shootings, which they weren’t even talking about, it’s so seemingly accepted as a common thing.


Yep, and extremely difficult to understand for some Americans like me. It’s so commonplace that it’s now normal. People get upset for about 5-7 days each time a massacre happens then it’s forgotten till the next one.
This is one sick society.