gun store robbery
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12,000 Guns Stolen from Stores Over Past 2 Years is the headline at proclaims. Hang on, why a two-year sample? Why not one year? Or, I dunno, five? Because twelve thousand stolen guns sounds really bad — despite the fact that it’s a tiny rounding error compared to the millions of guns sold by said stores.

While anti-gunners will no doubt seize on this info to inflict their usual disarmament mantra on our civil rights-sensitive ears — SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! — The People of the Gun will look at the stealing stats and conclude criminals gonna criminal. Students of history will recall bank robber Willie Sutton’s famous remarks on his chosen career and offer a similar reason why so many gun stores are being burgled: that’s where the guns are.

Here’s how raises the alarm:

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), gun store burglaries are on the rise — a 28 percent increase from 2013 to 2015, with more than 1,100 federally licensed gun dealers victimized and more than 12,000 handguns, shotguns and rifles stolen.

Thieves have been using any means necessary to get their hands on valuable firearms, breaking through walls, ceilings and even using blow torches to try to get to the guns.

In one case, the suspects used a big-rig truck cab to smash through the front of a gun store in Ventura, California last March and steal about 15 guns.

Yes, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives [And Really Big Fires] is behind this “guns stolen from gun stores” PR push. Because funding. I’ve spared you all the “gun violence” anecdotes dug-up by ABC proving that criminals who steal guns from gun stores use those guns to commit crimes. Who’d a thunk it? Meanwhile, the ATF is in the gun store security business now, apparently.

The ATF has made recommendations to the gun dealers on measures they can take to physically secure their facilities and secure their stocks of firearms to prevent them from being stolen.

After Powhatan, Virginia gun dealer American Family Pawn was burglarized last year, owner Kevin Penrose fortified his building.

“I now have shatter-proof glass. I have bars on every single window. I have sensors,” he said. “I have a light alarm, so if the police are driving by, not only if they can’t hear the sirens from the outside, they’re going to see this strobing flashing light, so it’s more notification. As soon as anything is broken everything goes off.”

Something’s broken here, but I’m thinking it’s the criminal justice system. Feel free to steal that line.

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  1. Plenty of drugs are stolen from drugstores. Maybe we should get rid of CVS? They have one on every corner.

  2. Why, those customers didn’t stop to fill out their 4473’s! They didn’t answer question 10b with “Black or African American.”

    • Didn’t I hear they were removing 10(b)? Because seriously – WTF difference does it make what race a legal gun buyer is?

      • The latest form I have still shows 10a and 10b. 10a wants hispanic/latino or not, then 10b is what the rest of Q10 used to be – race.

        It doesn’t make any difference to me what race the buyer is. But the government (especially this administration) is all about the race angle.

      • It actually doesn’t however, the fact is the democrats put that question in right after the civil war to keep guns out of the hands of freed slaves. No one ever bothered to attempt to take it out. Just like all the gun laws that do not keep guns out of criminals hands. Once a gun law is put into place there is not congressman or women who dare try to take it out even if it does not work. So what is new!

  3. 6000 a year for the entire country?

    A big Walmart in high-black areas likely has more than 6000 stolen items a year at a single location.

    • When you consider that violent criminals attacked people in the United States at least 1.2 million times last year, those 6,000 firearms that criminals stole last year could only have enabled about 0.5% of those violent crimes.

      Now consider the fact that tons of victims never report their attack to police for various reasons and the real number of violent crimes in the United States could easily be as high as 2 million last year. If that is the case, those 6,000 stolen firearms could have only enabled about 0.3% of those violent crimes last year.

  4. Seems like the theft is a crime. Maybe we need crime control? Since gun crime is super evil, really long sentences for stealing guns seems like a good way to eliminate it.

    • Restaurants use high capacity (really) fire extinguishers over grills and deep fryers that are set off automatically in case of fire.

      I suggest a similar system in gun stores that activates in the event any alarm is triggered by a break-in. The system would dispense CS gas including an indelible dye marker under high pressure from nozzles in the ceiling. The thieves might get in no matter how much security you put in place (see video above), but they and their stolen goods will be obviously marked for days afterwards.

      Make a mess of the store, but isn’t that better than having them get away with your guns?

      • “Restaurants use high capacity (really) fire extinguishers over grills and deep fryers that are set off automatically in case of fire…

        I suggest a similar system in gun stores…

        Make a mess of the store, but isn’t that better than having them get away with your guns?”

        Well, I like to get the people who do actuarial studies in on this kind of trade-off. Is the damage from false positives “worth” the damage prevented? The people who pay for it either way are pretty motivated to get the balance point right. That ends up being the people in the biz, the people who insure them, or both.

        The problem is the harm of false positives, or even non-false positives, is hard to quantify casually. What’s coating with a dry chemical film do to a gun? If you can remove it, what’s removing it do to the gun? I’ll bet a gun dosed by an extinguisher then cleaned up can’t be sold as new, legally. “Refurbished” or “remanufactured”, maybe.

        Suppression of this or that isn’t that uncommon. Lots of devices and machinery have fire suppression systems of some kind. In fact, many construction requirements for buildings, and design requirements for gizmos are about hitting the optimum balance point. BUT, many don’t. The other problem with active devices is legal – you are liable for harm to the robbers.

        Really, just like Chesterton’s Fence: before removing something, ask *why* someone put it there, there’s probably an inverse Chesterton’s Fence: before insisting on something “obvious” ask *why* it hasn’t been done yet. There’s often a reason.

        I suspect that invasive, active mechanisms to impede gun thefts from gun stores aren’t in place because gun thefts from gun stores just aren’t that common. The payoff calculation isn’t the value of guns retained vs. the cost of one system, it’s the value of a few robberies prevented vs. the cost of many systems, and some number of false positives. It’s the TSA screening trade-off.

        • “Oops! A wire got crossed between the break in alarm and the fire alarm, and the halon system automatically discharged. You’ll be okay when you quit coughing and stumbling around. Better get outside to fresh air now, though. Cops and firefighters are on the way.”

  5. From the source article at

    “Thieves have been using any means necessary to get their hands on valuable firearms, breaking through walls, ceilings and even using blow torches to try to get to the guns. In one case, the suspects used a big-rig truck cab to smash through the front of a gun store …”

    Did you catch the key part of that statement? In case you did not, here it is again, “Thieves have been using any means necessary to get their hands on valuable firearms …”

    All the efforts in the world to stop criminals from acquiring firearms are pointless. If a criminal wants one, he/she will get one. And getting one is as easy as ambushing a police officer to take their firearm. Or simply make your own. (Go to YouTube and see how easy it is to make zip guns.)

    I have a much more effective way to seriously reduce violent crime: STOP LETTING VIOLENT CAREER CRIMINALS OUT OF PRISON.

      • “… their admission that firearms are indeed ‘valuable’ …”

        Oh, that is a really good point.

    • About 20 years ago, I had been an USAF SP in Europe. We were often warned and told about real life incidents where criminals in Europe would ambush police and military to get their guns. It happened all the time in Europe and it was a huge concern to us. I worked at air shows where we ran everyone through medal detectors. We found thousands of people carrying weapons that were illegal in the host nations we worked including guns. A lot of people ignored their strict laws against self defense. And criminals being criminals, we found that they always found a way. At an air show I worked, a local gang member broke a wine bottle and slit the throat of a random attendee. It seems that medal detectors were not good enough. Bad guys will always find a way to be bad. Murder does not require a gun.

  6. Gun shop owners should always have several boobytraps that look like real guns and ammo.
    Thieves and fences would eventually show up at an ER after using such items..

  7. I’m really shocked to see that ABC News was willing to admit that criminals actually commit crimes … despite laws, locks and even walls!

    And they didn’t call them “legally involved persons” or even “misguided yoots” – but thieves!

    Man, they really went off script! I expect Loretta Lynch will be giving them a call Monday morning. ?

  8. Where are the mug shots of the 3 thugs arrested? I’m profiling the mannerism and dress that this is NOT a very diverse group of choirboys. Might look like Obumers son if he had testosterone.

  9. It seems to me that the most salient point here has yet to be mentioned. Obviously, the regs put in place to ensure keeping criminals from obtaining guns DO work. Hence theyve needed to go to more and more drastic measures to obtain them.

  10. It would take much effort, but a effort similar to Operation Eldest Son would certainly deliver a well-deserved comeuppance to the thieves and their clients. Instead of setting up the ammo, put out guns that have been converted to have a blockage in the barrel, or weakened bolts, etc.

    • Oh, man, that would be *so* sweet.

      You know, DG that actually might be a good idea.

      Doctor some 9mm and .40 cal rounds, and have someone toss them out a car window in the ‘hood at night. Some dumbass would try to shoot it in their gat. Like Elder, just a *very* few rounds. Like one a year.

      Doing a little custom machine work on the barrel chamber, perhaps.

      Unfortunately, someone would forget to make sure one sold wasn’t tampered with and the resulting death-dismemberment lawsuit would bankrupt the shop.

      That video looks just like a typical Florida Pawn & Gun robbery, we had a string of them of few years back.

      That shop screwed up a few ways, there. The bars should have been mounted on the inside of the windows, and the windows should have been replaced with Lexan. The concrete barriers should have been heavier and the door pulls should have been attached with nylon or aluminum hardware to shear easily. That shop could have been better hardened.

      Leaving the handguns in the showcases at night exposes them to theft, but daily moving them from the safes to the showcases inevitably dings them up, there is no best choice there. The smart shops, in my opinion, have the pistols in individual protective trays and eat the labor costs of keeping them in the store safes at night…

      • The other thing this shop failed to do was put a cable through all the trigger guards of the long guns, and sweep the handguns into a safe at the end of the day. When dealing with thieves, one must always remember that they’re on a clock. Anything that slows them down starts to make them abort their designs on your stuff. Years and years ago, there was a rash of thefts in some department stores in upstate NY. A local cop suggested to the store owners that they alternate their hangars on the racks – turn every other hangar backwards. This way, you couldn’t just grab a pack of clothes on hangars, lift and step backwards without dragging the rack with you.

        It worked – the next time the criminal duo making the thefts came upon a store that listened to that one cop, the thieves were caught, still in the store, trying to take a reasonable haul off the racks, one-by-one.

        A non-lethal, but painful, alarm system can be made to attack the intruders’ hearing. A couple sets of train air horns with a 120-gallon compressor in the back office, would be a good start. Even if they cut the power, the air tank still will have pressure.

        Other non-lethal means I’ve seen used are things like 2” square panels of aluminum coated with the same sort of glue used in mouse glue traps. Thieves step onto the trap, and now get bogged down immediately, trying to keep their shoes on, or get the large piece of sheet metal off their feet.

        I’d still like to see criminals get their due, however. A nice “workplace accident” always warms my heart.

  11. Heck, just fill the store with pure CO2 after closing.

    (I wouldn’t object to a significant fraction being CO.)

    • Only problem is, you notice CO2 at relatively low levels of concentration.

      Next time you crack open a bottle of a carbonated beverage, breath it in, your body will reflexively stop your inhalation.

      If it’s your intention to just keep them out of the area, that’ll work fine.

      If you want ’em dead, fill the area with Nitrogen, they will never notice the lack of O2 and just lose consciousness and die in few minuets.

      It’s a somewhat uncommon industrial accident:

  12. I can’t believe you all missed the money quote:

    ATF Resident Agent in Charge Scott Fulkerson says getting those guns off the street is a top priority for the agency. “We know that from experience that as soon as those guns are stolen, we have a very short period of time between when those guns go from the legal market into criminal hands


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