Chicago crime scene
A Chicago police officer picks through debris at the crime scene. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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By Larry Keane

Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot has long ignored criminal culpability when it comes to violence in the Windy City. Instead she infringes on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and hamstrings law enforcement charged with keeping streets and neighborhoods safe. 

A recent Chicago Tribune report detailed the break-in of a firearm retailer by a criminal who fled with a stolen firearm. That firearm was subsequently used in more than two dozen criminal shootings in Chicago, including two fatalities. Smash-and-grab break-ins are serious crimes. Firearms stolen from retailers are a menace to public safety and no one wants to prevent these thefts more than members of the firearm industry, especially retailers.

Surprising no one, criminals don’t follow the laws. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Statistics data show the overwhelming majority of firearms used by criminals to commit their crimes are obtained through the black market or by theft.

Lori Lightfoot
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (AP Photo/John O’Connor, File)

The tragic saga of this stolen firearm reinforces the importance of the cooperative partnership between NSSF and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) through Operation Secure Store (OSS) to combat these crimes. It’s a comprehensive initiative to help firearm retailers make well-informed security-related decisions to deter and prevent break-ins and thefts.

Proof Positive

Firearm industry safety initiatives like OSS are working. Surveys conducted by ATF through the first six months of 2021 and the data bear this out. ATF surveys showed 111 firearm retail burglaries that resulted in 959 stolen firearms during the first half of the year. The same six-month stretch in 2020 saw 284 burglaries and more than 3,700 stolen firearms. That’s 61 percent fewer burglaries and a 71 percent reduction in stolen firearms over the same time period last year.

But OSS has an even longer track record of success. According to ATF data, firearm retailer burglaries peaked in 2017 at 577 and dropped to 343 by 2019, a 40 percent reduction. Because of OSS efforts, the number of firearms stolen in burglaries dropped from 7,841 to 4,490, a 42 percent reduction during the same time.

One of Many Programs

Operation Secure Store is just one initiative among others by the firearm industry to reduce criminal acquisition and misuse of firearms. The industry’s Real Solutions, Safer Communities campaign includes the public awareness program, Don’t Lie for the Other Guy, to reduce the instances of illegal straw purchases of firearms. Don’t Lie reminds the public they could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if they lie on the background check form when they are acting as a straw purchaser for someone who cannot legally do so themselves or an illegal firearms trafficker.

NSSF joined with industry partners at ATF, DOJ and local law enforcement at a local firearm retailer in Chicago earlier this year in June to relaunch the Don’t Lie campaign.

During that event, NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi, reinforced the commitment from industry to continue to support Operation Secure Store, Don’t Lie and other industry safety initiatives. Bartozzi explained that NSSF and ATF work collaboratively to prevent firearms from reaching those who should never possess them. The partnership endures because both NSSF and the ATF know they are effective.

The firearm industry recognizes serious and effective programs to reduce criminal firearm misuse require meaningful partnerships with industry members and local and federal agencies. Gun control politicians like Mayor Lightfoot blame the wrong people.

The firearm industry will continue the hard work needed to further reduce these crimes.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


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  1. why is Hunter Biden not in prison for lying on buying a gun????? Hold the crackhead accountable>

    • Because we don’t live in an equal society. The Left hates equality, and let’s be honest, they’re the dominant political regime in this country. They’ve controlled our institutions for some time now.

  2. I receive a notice from the ATF every time a gun store gets hit anywhere in the country. I don’t get a lot of those notices which means that FFLs don’t get robbed as often as, say, convenience stores.

    But why do I get the notices in he first place? Should I care that there was a gun store robbery in East Bumfvck, Iowa? If the ATF is concerned about an FFL unwittingly purchasing such stolen guns, wouldn’t the notices specify what guns were stolen? And where can I get one of those cool ATF hats and jackets?

    These are the kinds of questions that keep me awake at night.

    • Hey! I might be from East Bumfvck… it must matter!

      BTW, back right after the Waco deal I had “BATF Tactical Unit, Waco, Texas” baseball caps made up. Prominent bright yellow, official-looking lettering on the front. Shot and poked holes in them and sold for $10 each. Sold over 13 dozen, cost me $3 each. A lot of them went to local LEOs. Still have a couple laying around. Is that the cap you want?

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  3. Now let me guess??? This guy was given a no bail release correct? Because white Libertarians white Liberals and the white Left say “the justice system is racist”!!!
    So this black gun thief was allowed to go free, and then hurt law abiding black people. And everyone else.

    Just like they supported prop 47 in California. They said it would “help” black people. Black judges, black DA’s, and all black juries have been filling up the jails and prisons with deserving black criminals.

  4. RE: “Don’t Lie reminds the public they could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if they lie on the background check form when they are acting as a straw purchaser for someone who cannot legally do so themselves or an illegal firearms trafficker.”

    It does not stop there if the prohibited possesser uses the firearm in a crime. Seller is in much deeper trouble.

    Sneaky democRats who want extended background checks and spew Gun Show loopholds do not want the public aware of the severe penalities already on the books.

  5. I thought you had to have a floyd card in Illinois before you can have a gunm?
    Gee, are them guys are breaking the law?
    I’ve heard, now I dont know if it’s true, but I’ve heard some people even drive without a drivers license.

  6. Ummm as far as I know there are NO Chicago (city of)gun shops. Period. Legal ones anyway. I could be wrong but when you lead with with BS…

    • ” the firearm was subsequently used in two dozen shootings ”

      So, my guess is the break-in happened some time ago– though, two dozen shootings in Chicago is a quiet weekend. So who knows…

      The saddest thing about all these shootings in Chicago is that Lori Lightfoot never gets hit.

    • Chitcago Trib story states it was stolen from a Superior, Wisconson gunshop with others in a New Years smash and grab…. amazingly, the thieves didn’t fill out a 4473 or wait for a background check before they left, nor were any performed when the gun changed hands a dozen or more times between gangbangers in Chitown I guess they don’t follow dacians fairytale about where crime weapons are suppliied from. Evidently , they come from bars, flea markets, gunshows, newspaper ads, and the internet. Usually, they are found coated in Unicorn glitter.

      • Read my below comment genius boy. I am about to once again make a fool out your usual ranting’s.

        • “I am about to once again make a fool out your usual ranting’s.”

          The rantings… what?

          You have zero credibility and make a complete ass of yourself when you can’t be bothered to spell correctly.

          You know, something about glass houses and stones… 🙂

  7. It may have been lightfoot’s bargain gun store – run by fmr atty gen holder with obama working the register.

  8. The problem with gun stores is that a surprising number of them have almost zero security. Every Criminal knows it takes the cops some time to get to a business that has a burglar alarm so when guns are not locked up the inevitable smash and grab burglary takes place. In some surveys done some gun stores did not even have bars on windows or security doors.

    In my own area back in the day a few gun stores had walk in safes that would have withstood an attack by a WII German Panzer Tank but those were the exceptions. Rifles were on racks that had wheels and the entire rack was rolled into the walk in safe at night. Pistols were also locked up at night.

    It all goes back to a Federally mandated safe storage law that would apply not only to individuals but gun stores as well. Back in the day old line companies like Smith & Wesson had night guards and the facilities were built and secured like a WWII ammo bunker. Today some manufactures are actually located in shopping centers with little to no security. This was well documented several decades ago by a 60 minutes special.

    All civilized countries have safe storage laws especially for individual gun owners. You do not get a permit to own any guns unless you get an approved safe and have it inspected before you can make a gun purchase.

    Most countries have mandatory safe training as well training in all the gun laws of the country. And the tests are not Simple Simon either. You study hard and pass or you flunk out and are shown the door. I often wonder if the average hill jack in the U.S. could even pass the well constructed tests like the Germans have.

    Many countries require you to belong to an approved gun club as well and there is no such thing as carrying for self defense. Ever wonder why there are few if any road rage incidents in civilized countries? Well look no further than banning Dodge City or OK Corral shoot outs when you must leave your gun locked up at home and in some countries disassembled. By the time some drunken Hill Jack husband would assemble his gun to kill his wife the wife has plenty of time to vacate the premises. Surprise inspections rule out cheating also, if they find a gun lying around even unloaded you lose your rights forever and an assembled gun gets the same penalty even if its locked up in the safe.

    Most homicides do not take place in break-ins or even out on the street but are done at home between the people who live there.

    Most studies show you actually have more of a chance of surviving a robbery out on the street by not fighting back with an armed intruder. Remember he will not hesitate to shoot and most case studies show that normal people who have never killed anyone will hesitate for just a fraction of a second before shooting and that is usually enough to get themselves killed.

    And criminals who rob all the time pick on you when you are most venerable when you have your wife or kids with you. It happened in broad daylight to my Uncle on one of the busiest streets in the U.S. He was snuck up on from behind and told “Do not turn around hand me your wallet over your shoulder or I will kill you and your family”. Now what good would a gun have done him under those circumstances. Zero of course because this crook was a professional crook and knew all the angles.

    And many concealed carriers each year are actually shot by mistake by the police. A good example was the Philando Castile case. I could name dozens of others. Have a gun on you and the untrained cops shoot first and ask questions later. It happens all the time. The moral of the story is that no you are not always safer going about armed to the teeth despite the Far Right huffing and puffing with the usual propaganda of “I am a mean mother fker so do not fk with me”. Famous last words.

    The moral of the story is you are always at a disadvantage as the criminal or psycho has the element of surprise. The famous slaughter at the Colorado theater with the nut case with an AR 15 had body armor including both the upper and lower part of his body and his legs and his head and his collar pulled up protecting his neck. Taking him out with a pop gun pistol would have entailed a very difficult risky face shot in bad light and under stress and you would have only got just on shot off before he easily shot you with a high power rifle. In that case yes it would have been better to go down fighting and maybe created enough distraction to let some people escape but the whole point of this story is to show that no you would probably not have survived being armed that night because all of the advantages were with the attacker i.e. surprise, body armor and superior fire power from an assault rifle.

    Now you know why I have so strongly and always advocated throwing up every legal road block possible to stop nut cases and criminals from buying weapons with no paperwork. No law is perfect but our current almost complete lack of gun laws in regards to second hand gun purchases only guarantees future mass murders will be a certainty all of the time not just on very rare occasions as is found in civilized countries. Their laws work much better and our lack of laws do not.

    • Little boy, you need to get out of mommy’s basement once in a while. Sunlight is actually beneficial for your psyche , even the filtered light visible in downtown Capitalvania.

    • Once again. dacian is very seriously mentally ill. Do not engage with him. There is no point to it.

      • There is so much fail in that diatribe I can’t be bothered replying.

        Hey little commissar. If you think everyone around you is “mentally ill” and needs classical socialist treatment in an asylum, maybe it is you that is mentally ill and needs the treatment.

    • Dacian, I thought you was all about liberty and justice for all.
      How much does one of your approved safe’s cost?
      How much does a HiPoint cost?
      You just disarmed thousands of law abiding citizens.
      [We didnt want “Those” people to have gunms anyway, right]

    • Good job comrade!

      Keep these hill-jacks unarmed so that commissars can extract their treasure without being shot.

      Make America safe for Commies and pedophiles!

    • The probem with PCs is mothers (dacians) don’t keep them locked out up/out of reach of their little basement trolls.

  9. Many firearms thefts happen in-transit with UPS, while the theft takes place at a UPS facility in one location the report of the theft/loss must be made by the shipping individual and that is set as the location of the theft/loss. UPS is well aware of the facilities where thefts are problematical and often even which drivers are the thieves. UPS limits their video surveillance in the shipping facilities so as not to be regularly catching their drivers in theft and having ongoing problems with the unions.

    In addition to firearms thefts, the theft/loss of Controlled Substances (drugs) in UPS facilities takes place on a regular basis.

  10. My local dealer tells me that a newish driver of FFL breakins is to steal the dealers paper ATF 4473 records. A GREAT identity theft racquet for the thief as great way to mine personal info. With dang little downside (as long as don’t also take any guns)

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