It seems that not a day goes by that I don’t come across a story of a group of criminals breaking into gun stores and stealing multiple firearms, guns we all know will be used to commit further crimes down the road. No one wants to see that, no one at all. If there’s one thing all honest Americans can be united on, it’s that we don’t want to see this kind of thing happen.
Unfortunately, when it comes to solutions, we’re not all that united. After all, new laws aren’t really the answer.
However, the ATF has stepped in and teamed up with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to kick off Operation Secure Store to try and help gun dealers meet this new threat.
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.”
Frankly, this is a smart idea. Before we start trying to regulate things, why not help inform the dealers–the victims of these crimes–how to better protect their inventory. They don’t want to be robbed. They’d prefer to keep their inventory where they can sell it, as a general rule. Insurance isn’t likely to make them a profit, after all.
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.