Yeah, I said it: gun owners are making it too easy for criminals to get their hands on firearms. Fighting words, I know – but to me, the news stories of guns being stolen from vehicles, legislators calling for additional restrictions on the Second Amendment and law enforcement scolding gun owners are completely unnecessary.
Why? Because we know better.
In St. Louis, MO, police have seen a double-digit percentage increase in gun thefts this year, reporting more than 1800 gun thefts with a month left on the calendar. Over the Thanksgiving weekend alone, seven guns were stolen out of vehicles in the city, four of them from one vehicle, prompting authorities to address not the criminals, but gun owners.
“It’s not unusual for them (criminals) to break into 4 or 5 or 6 cars in a row and not take anything out of the first five but in the 6th car they find a gun, it’s like winning the lottery for them,” said Sam Dotson, St. Louis Police Chief, in a statement Tuesday.
“Be smart about it,” Dotson scolded gun owners. “You got 5 firearms that can be used to hurt somebody in your car. You leave them in a way that a criminal can take them, they took them. Now they’re going to be used in the commission of a crime.”
Locking guns in the trunk or glove compartment of your vehicle isn’t enough – criminals smash car windows and can break through those locks or, like in my car, can access the trunk through the backseat. And these criminals aren’t stealing guns for their protection.
“Those guns go right out into the street and are used in gun violence on a daily basis,” said St. Louis Circuit Attorney, Jennifer Joyce. “We know as prosecutors that most of the cases we see, most of the violent crime, is committed with stolen guns. If we were able to get people to properly secure their guns, our crime would plummet in St. Louis,” she said.
“If you have it in your car, find a way to secure it. Put a lock box in your car, bolt to a trunk so a criminal can’t take your gun. We can replace a window. It’s a lot harder to replace somebody’s life if that guns used in the commission of a crime,” Dotson said.
I’m committed to being pro-active and vow to secure my firearm when I have to leave it in my vehicle. I don’t need anyone to think gun owners need more restrictions on us than we already have nor do I want my firearm to wind up in the hands of a criminal or worse, used to murder an innocent person.
But to me, that’s just common sense.