We’ve noticed a trend in recent months of law enforcement officers having their personal vehicles and professional vehicles alike targeted by gun and tactical gear thieves, as an officer in Fort Worth, Texas recently discovered, losing both a fully-automatic M4 and his tactical body armor to criminals.

Law enforcement agencies need to radically revisit the concept of leaving guns in their unattended vehicles. They are not alone, as their civilian counterparts are discovering that they have much the same issue.

In what’s been a violent year in St. Louis, a common theme has emerged: The gun used in any given crime was probably stolen.

The city is on pace for around 200 homicides in 2015, the most in 20 years. Meanwhile, reports of gun thefts are up nearly 70 percent, police chief Sam Dotson said. But it’s not homes, gun stores or pawn shops that thieves are targeting, Dotson said: It’s cars and trucks.

More than 170,000 Missouri residents hold concealed-carry permits and many bring guns when they venture to high-crime areas like St. Louis. Numerous city-dwellers, too, own firearms. But once they arrive at their destination, they often have to leave their guns behind.

“When they go to a baseball game or an event at the convention center … they can’t take their weapons in with them and they leave them in cars,”Dotson said. “Criminals know there are guns in cars and they break into cars.”

More guns are around overall. Both sales and applications for concealed-carry permits have spiked in the St. Louis region in the past year, after unrest that followed the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown led to safety concerns. Brown, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by a white officer last summer, leading to protests, some looting, fires and violence. When a grand jury declined to indict the officer in November, violence sparked again.

Experts say that, inevitably, with more guns come more gun thefts. Remy Cross, a professor at Webster University in suburban St. Louis, said those who steal guns often sell them to other criminals.

The “experts” are wrong… dead wrong.

The vehicle thefts are not inevitable, but are the direct result of concealed carriers being forced to leave their personal protection firearms in their vehicles in order to attend events in certain public or private spaces where guns have been banned.

Criminals then wander through the parking lots outside these locations—at malls, outside stadiums, in parking garages, at businesses, and on city streets—and look for vehicles that match a likely target profile.

Guess what? Gun thieves look for vehicles with gun-related stickers on them, whether that is a sticker boasting membership in a gun rights organization or gun range, promoting a favorite manufacturer, or even pushing certain political ideas.

Of course, if these “gun free zones” didn’t force people to leave their personal-protection firearms in their vehicles, odds are that far fewer guns would be left behind to be stolen. In an attempt to disarm you, they’re creating opportunities for criminals to steal your guns, and are contributing to the number of crime guns on the market.

Anti-gun Democrats keep causing crime with their hare-brained attempts to render us all defenseless.

I wish they’d stop.