By Erika Haas
While we’re finally expected to see a drop-off in overall crime, violent crime and murder rates for 2017, there is one number that is still steadily on the rise: gun store thefts.
According to a new report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF), a record number of federally-licensed firearms dealers were burglarized and robbed in 2017.
There were a whopping 577 gun stores burglaries last year, approximately a three-percent increase from 2016 during which 558 stores were burglarized, and a 70-percent increase from 2013.
The number of robberies has also steadily climbed over the past five years. In 2013, there were only nine reported robberies. By 2016, that number had risen nearly 267-percent to 33. While that number didn’t increase in 2017, it didn’t decrease either.
Of course, more burglaries also means more stolen firearms. Since 2013, the number of firearms snatched during burglaries has more than doubled, from 3,355 in 2013 to 7,841 in 2017. Interestingly enough, the number of guns stolen during robberies decreased in 2017 from the previous year, even though the same number of robberies took place. In 2016, 370 guns were taken, while in 2017 only 288 were grabbed. Still, that’s a 200-percent increase over the past five years.
In an effort to get these numbers back down, various pieces of legislation have been introduced at both the federal and state levels.
In September, SB 464 landed on California Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, which would’ve required gun shop owners to implement at least one new security measure from an approved list, such as storing firearms in a shatter proof display case or installing steel, roll-down doors on perimeter doors and floor-to-ceiling windows. The bill, to many’s surprise, was vetoed by Brown.