With rights, come responsibilities. Exercising your Second Amendment Right also means you have a responsibility to do what you can to prevent your guns from falling into the wrong hands. A recent survey conducted by Harvard and Northeastern universities has estimated that at least one gun is stolen every minute. Here are five more facts you should know about gun theft in America.
1. Gun Theft Is on the Rise
Gun theft is on the rise, especially in and around many larger cities. This has helped fuel violent crimes across the United States. During 2016, over 237,000 guns were reported stolen. This is almost a 70 percent increase over the number stolen in 2005.
2. Two Million Guns Stolen in the Last Decade
In the last 10 years, legal gun owners have reported approximately two million gun thefts. Data from the FBI estimates that between 2012 and 2015, at least 1.2 million guns were stolen from private owners. This adds up to almost half a billion dollars worth of guns.
3. Many Gun Owners Make It Too Easy to Steal Their Guns
During the 2012 to 2015 period, FBI data also showed that gun stores experienced only the theft of 22,000 guns. This amount is substantially lower than the thefts of privately owned guns. One good reason for this big difference? Gun stores are required to keep their guns secure. Too often, gun owners are lax with locking up their firearms.
4. Stolen Guns End up in the Hands of Criminals
In one 2016 Arizona gun theft, eight guns were stolen from a private residence - four shotguns and two handguns that were not locked up. Eight months later, one of the guns was recovered by the police after a police chase following a gas station robbery.
5. The Number of Gun Thefts Varies From State to State
The top five highest number of gun thefts from private owners occurs in Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The number of guns stolen in these states is 13 times higher than the number of guns stolen in the five lowest states: Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island.
How Can You Prevent Gun Theft?
The best way you can prevent your guns from being stolen is to keep them locked up when you're not using them. But locking them in a glass display case, closet or file cabinet isn't enough to protect them. Even a small-sized gun safe is often not enough because a thief can easily carry the safe away to smash it open elsewhere. If you want to protect your guns and prevent them from being stolen, you need a gun safe in your home.