The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) has joined up with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to kick-start Operation Secure Store, an initiative that seeks to prevent theft at firearms dealerships.
According to the Center for American Progress, gun thefts are on the rise. A recent reports shows that about 1.2 million privately-owned firearms were stolen between 2012 and 2015. But the problem isn’t equally spread across the U.S.
The Center for American Progress said Tuesday more than half of the 1.2 million privately-owned firearms stolen over those three years came from southern states.
Seven of the top 10 states where 22,000 guns go missing from retailers daily are southern: Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi.
Rather than further penalize victims of theft, however, Operation Secure Store seeks to improve security in firearms dealerships.
That’s a much more reasonable solution that new regulations that seek to punish people who’ve recently been victimized by crooks.
Operation Secure Store — a partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — will help federally licensed firearms dealers “make well informed security-related decisions to deter and prevent theft.”
“No one wants to prevent the theft of firearms more than the licensed retailers that sell them,” said Stephen L. Sanetti, NSSF president and chief executive officer. “There is no one-size fits all solution to helping prevent thefts from firearms retailers, which is why Operation Safe Store will provide access to information and training to allow retailers to make the decisions that are right for them.”
Gun store thefts rose across the country in 2016, according to a report from the Center for American Progress. The ATF recorded more than 8,000 guns taken from dealers in burglaries and robberies in 2017 — a 3 percent increase over 2016 and more than double the amount stolen in 2013.
The agency identified the surge in firearms stolen from dealers as a “primary external challenge straining its limited resources” in 2018, according to the CAP report.
“It’s clear from the crime guns we recover every day that firearms stolen from FFL retailers are a serious threat to public safety” said ATF Deputy Director Thomas Brandon in press release Tuesday. “To mitigate this threat, ATF welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the NSSF to educate and inform FFL retailers on how they can enhance the security of their businesses.”
Essentially, Operation Secure Store doesn’t attack the entrepreneurs who operate firearms dealerships. It goes after the punks who are perpetuating crime. Without creating new regulations that punish the wrong people, crime can be diminished.
From Bearing Arms:
With an effort like this, not only are you not punishing the victims of the crime, but you’re empowering them to step up and combat it. No laws, just the tools they need to make the best decisions possible.
Further, the NSSF will help with reward money in addition to the ATF’s rewards. This additional money can help entice people who know something to step forward. By arresting the criminals who perpetrate these crimes, you send a signal to others that such crimes just aren’t worth it.
Hopefully, we’ll see more initiatives like this one in upcoming years.