Robberies and burglaries targeting firearms sellers are skyrocketing, and law enforcement doesn’t know why.
Stealing from people almost guaranteed to be armed would seem like a dumb idea to most, but not everybody got the memo. Firearm theft from licensed retailers including gun stores is becoming increasingly common, according to data released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this week.
Texas gun licensees lost the most firearms in burglaries last year, 769, followed by 456 in Alabama and 427 in both Colorado and Georgia. That’s a big decrease for Georgia, which topped the states at 1,069 such stolen firearms last year.
“Criminals know that gun stores can be easy targets to obtain armfuls of firearms in a matter of minutes. Every successful break-in opens a new threat to our community and puts law enforcement officers at risk,” David Chipman, a senior policy advisor at Giffords Law Center, a gun control advocacy group, said in a statement.
Chipman, a former ATF special agent, added that “when states require gun dealers to take responsible steps to prevent their stores from being burglarized—by properly securing not only their stores, but the firearms themselves—they eliminate the risk of thieves taking off with weapons. We know how to solve this problem, but we need more states to acknowledge this issue and put best practices for reducing gun store theft into action.”
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