Dragonmans gun store range
(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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Keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals takes a monumental effort. Partnerships between neighborhood gun store retailers, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are critical and a multifaceted endeavor.

The firearm industry’s Operation Secure Store (OSS) is a pillar partnership with ATF and DOJ to provide brick-and-mortar firearm retailers with educational resources and services to better secure their inventory and reduce robberies and burglaries.

New data released by ATF confirms once again OSS makes communities safer. The number of FFL burglaries and robberies and the number of stolen firearms are all lower than they were last year.

FFL burglaries and robberies
Courtesy ATF

This is great news and the data continues a downward trend since 2017.

First Line of Defense

“Retailers are the first line of defense against criminals and would-be criminals,” said NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi in testimony to the Connecticut state legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee. He stated it to members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee last year, too.

When neighborhood firearm retailers use industry tools and resources through OSS to improve their inventory security, they are backstopping against possible criminal behavior that could endanger their communities. No one wants that.

The new ATF data, from the report covering 2017 through 2022, shows Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs) are taking the right steps against would-be criminals. The number of FFL burglaries dropped each year, with the exception of the COVID pandemic year of 2020. In 2017, there were 577 FFL burglaries.

In 2018, that figure dropped to 427 and again down to 343 in 2019. And, ATF told NSSF if the months of May and the immediate aftermath of the George Floyd incident in 2020 were exempted from the statistics, it would show a decline over 2019. Last year, the most current year for data, there were only 277 FFL burglaries. For FFL robberies, the high mark of 36 in 2018 has gone down each year, including 2020, to just 21 in 2021.

guns stolen ffl burglaries robberies
Courtesy ATF

Where the data really jumps out is the number of stolen firearms over the stretch of the report. No one – especially an FFL business – wants to see legal-to-own firearms illegally stolen, winding up in the hands of someone who shouldn’t possess them and ultimately used in the commission of a crime or violent act.

In calendar year 2017, ATF data shows there were 7,841 firearms stolen during FFL burglaries. That number dropped by 2,200 the following year (the first year of OSS), dropped further to 4,490 in 2019 and dropped even further last year. In 2021, there were only 2,936 firearms stolen during an FFL burglary. That’s a roughly 65 percent reduction in firearms stolen from FFLs in five years.

Layers of Security

Ensuring firearm inventory remains safe doesn’t just mean extra locks on the doors or shelves to keep guns secured. With the OSS program, ATF, DOJ and firearm retailers work together and focus on five key areas; “Education and Awareness,” “Assessment and Risk Analysis,” “Planning and Strategy,” “Engagement” and “Response.” This thorough multipronged approach to firearm inventory is critical.

Any stolen firearm is one too many. It’s why the firearm industry doesn’t just work with ATF and retailers to prevent burglaries and thefts, but also offers matching rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the crimes if theft occurs. Offering rewards often helps spur community cooperation and encourages anyone with information to help authorities bring criminals to justice. That communication is also critical in alerting other firearm retailers in the area of crimes so they are aware and on the lookout.

gun store security
Courtesy clickorlando.com

The ATF has a 100 percent response rate to burglaries and robberies of firearm retailers and uses the combined expertise of its special agents and industry operations investigators to apprehend those responsible and recover the stolen firearms.

Real Solutions. Safer Communities.

Operation Secure Store is one of several NSSF Real Solutions. Safer Communities. initiatives. Don’t Lie for the Other Guy helps ATF to educate retailers on the warning signs of illegal straw purchases. Project ChildSafe has partnered with more than 15,000 local law enforcement agencies in all 50 states and the five U.S. territories to distribute more than 40 million free firearm safety kits that include a locking device.

FixNICS is an ongoing effort to provide resources and encourage states and federal agencies to submit disqualifying records to the FBI NICS system to ensure people who shouldn’t own a firearm are unable to purchase one from a retailer. NSSF also partners with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to give tools to firearm retailers and ranges to have a brave conversation before a tragedy and prevent suicide.

This important work, including Operation Secure Store, remains critical to the entire gun-owning community. The new ATF data is positive. The hard work continues to keep communities safe.

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  1. Really? Gee, one of the networks had video of gangs in a Chicongo railyard stealing CRATES of guns off of a stopped train, and they knew just what car to break into. A large percentage of UPS shipments are stolen by employees. Also, gangs routinely back trucks into the doors of gunshops and make off with whatever they can grab.
    Yep, blame the gunshops for having an ” enticing” commodity.

    • I get what you are saying but if you own a LGS you had better take every precaution that you can to protect your inventory. Douglas County Firearms was ripped off not too long ago and the morons that did it were caught on camera. Video caught the license plates of the perpetrators and they were arrested weeks later but not until dumping some of the firearms who knows where first. Now they have better security thank goodness. Hopefully LEO’s were able to follow up and recover all the stolen guns. There wasn’t a follow up in the local news as far as I know.

      • No joke. They have armored transport for Marijuana but these jackasses can’t provide security for their loads or their business? That’s on them. Shipping through something like UPS is a risk. If you are getting shipments of crates full of munitions, you better ship accordingly.

        • It should be a federal felony to steal guns!.
          Sadly we have a “patchwork” of law enforcement and prosecution across the USA and many federal prosecutors FAIL the American People by being “soft on crime”.
          If William J Clinton was never prosecuted for DESERTION back in 1969, then who the hell cares about stolen guns???
          DESERTERS are not suppose to hold any office of public trust.
          So, as long as we have a “patchwork” of law enforcement and prosecution……..only the lawful citizens will be held to account.

      • “I get what you are saying but if you own a LGS you had better take every precaution that you can to protect your inventory.”

        Can the drop in theft rate be attributable to the stupid gun shops no longer in business after they were ripped off?

        If so, good… 🙂

    • do they really think that sign would deter burglars wearing masks?…suspect it’s there to deter straw purchases…

    • Well, guns stolen from a railroad car don’t count as guns stolen from an FFL’s store. It’s not what the numbers are, it’s like votes, it depends upon who counts them. As Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “Figures don’t lie but liars figure.”

      How about guns stolen from law enforcement officers and agencies? How many guns did the armed forces lose in the last five years? Afghanistan doesn’t count, but where do you think those arms are going to end up? How much do you think the cartels will pay for .50 cal machine guns or LAWs?

  2. All good points, but I think the article may miss the main one: although better security against burglaries is more likely (mandatory?) than other stores, the ratio of burglaries to robberies is huge. I’d love to see a comparison vs. other stores. Could it be because gun stores (despite offering products that are more desirable to criminals) are the least-likely to offer helpless unarmed sheeple targets?

    • From the beginning of the article:

      “Keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals…”

      The very term “criminal” is losing its value, as more and more lesser actions are being classified as crimes, and many that were formerly misdemeanors are now felonies. Upon the creation of our Republic, there were very few recognizes crimes defined as felonies, and now there are countless laws on all levels (federal, state, county, local).

      A few years ago, I was present in a courtroom as support for a friend who had been charged by our local Deputy D.A. with a crime that had historically been considered by CA as a misdemeanor, but was “upgraded” to a felony. Some of our laws are considered to be “wobblers”, meaning the D.A. has the discretion to consider an action as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A plea deal was reached and was scheduled to be entered into the record that day, but literally only five minutes before the judge entered the room to begin the proceeding, the DDA leaned over to my friend’s attorney and (I myself heard her say this) tell him she insisted the plea deal be modified to the level of “violent” or she would rescind the offer entirely. A total blindside, and absurd considering the fact that there was absolutely no violence involved, nor could there have possibly been due to the nature of the charges. But the atty was an idiot and agreed, not even consulting with my friend, who himself didn’t know of the change until three weeks after that day.

      What was considered to be normal in CA 100 years ago was made illegal at some point, and later made to be a wobbler to permit an upgrade to a felony if it suited the political whims of a D.A. And in my friend’s case, it’s now a “violent” felony as a matter of record, which removes any possibility of petitioning for a restoration of his rights, including his gun rights.

      I have no faith whatsoever in the courts, or the laws passed by politicians who know little to nothing of real life. They pass legislation and pat each other on the back in their ballyhooed efforts to keep the guns out of the hands of “criminals”, but the real criminals get them anyway.

      • “Wobblers” contradict the whole idea of “a nation, not of men, but of laws” – one of unfortunately many that the Founders thought were too self-evident to require writing down in the Constitution.

      • I worked in court in CA for 25 years and finally had to quit because I couldn’t stand what was going on that passed for justice. I don’t know about other states but what is in CA is not a system for justice. It is a court system designed to provide maximum employment for public employees. Most of the problems with the CA court system and other jurisdictions too is the War Against Drugs. I have watched judges accept absolutely implausible testimony from cops without a blink of an eye. The War on Drugs has corrupted law enforcement to where they casually accept perjury to establish probable cause. Juries are just as bad, accepting the DA’s argument that they should believe Officer X because he doesn’t really have anything to lose. Sorry, that is a blatant lie to the jury. Officer X made the arrest. He participated in the investigation. He presented the evidence he amassed to the DA. And he doesn’t have a dog in that fight? If you believe that, I want to talk to you about a bridge that is a sure money maker.

    • while the big box stores often do a better job of securing their guns….their clerks aren’t very intimidating….

      • Any big box stores that sell guns must have FFLs and are therefore rolled up in this article’s stats already. I’m not sure if anyone has broken them out separately.

        I meant someone should compare the stats for [all] FFLs, as shown here, vs. the burglary-to-robbery ratio for non-FFLs like jewelers, banks, supermarkets, etc. Even better, vs. “woke” companies who refuse to hire armed security.

  3. Street price is the metric for availability. Once street price falls below retail you know you have failed totally.

    • Hmmm about the same in NY but less of you never bothered with a permit. Probably substantially less for NYC but that is a different level (and employment union/access) of information.

  4. Ok – I need some education here. What is the difference between a FFL robbery and a FFL burglary?

    • Robbery – stealing from a person.
      Burglary – stealing, or intending to steal, from the building, like when the store is closed.

    • The use of force is the defining characteristic. A burglary may break and smash, but there is no one there. A robbery will have someone there to use or threaten to use force against. Think pick pocket vs mugger. Aggravated robbery will display a weapon in the course of the robbery. At least that’s how it was explained to me when I went through the police academy.

      • The actual definitions vary by the penal code of each state. Each state has a slightly different definition of crimes. What is aggravated robbery is called armed robbery in CA. It used to become armed robbery if the robber was armed at the time of arrest. I don’t think that applies any more as we have dumbed down so many crimes in CA. Burglary of an occupied residence used to be more serious than burglary of an empty residence. Burglary of a residence was more serious than burglary of a business after hours. Burglary at nighttime of any building was more serious than burglary of the same building during daylight hours. There is a case reported in the official reports of the CA Supreme Court that happened in this county in the 19th century. Found guilty of stealing a barrel of flour worth more than $200. Sentenced to be hanged on Wednesday. Hanged early Saturday morning. the CA Supremes found that said sentence and execution was according to law and okay with them. How times have changed.

      • Robbery by force or fear as defined in the CA penal code is no longer a prosecutable offense if performed by a person of color in SF. It is considered reparations for years of slavery and oppression. SF is seriously considering cash “reparations” to people of color (unless they are Asian or Latino) and the amounts being considered are truly staggering. Don’t know where they are going to find the cash. Perhaps they will float a bond issue to cover the difference between actual cash in hand and pie in the sky. Or maybe Two-Shot will order the treasury department to add some more zeros to the national debt and give the “money” to SF to pay “reparations.”

  5. Criminals should be forced to register as criminals. When they register they can identify as violent or non-violent, armed or unarmed. If armed, the type of weapon. The gov can provide a Website for them to update their status.

    Oh, you say the anti-gun stance of the gov has nothing to do with crime? It has to do with making us hapless victims? OK, then a different idea.

    How about a registry for folk who agree to be hapless victims? Sign an affidavit that you are unarmed and helpless and you can register as a hapless victim. That way the gov leaves you alone and concentrates on folk who have not signed up.

    Of course, criminals might use the hapless victim registry for their nefarious pursuits, but, hey, that’s what you signed up for. Then, there is the risk that armed folk might sign up as hapless victims. What a surprise for those bad guys!

    Time for the gov to course correct.

      • Someone in our area did for houses registered democrat. Prank but understandably got the police investigating.

      • My neighbor has a “Nothing inside this home worth dying for” yard sign. Has the muzzle profile of a 50AE Desert Eagle on it. 😄

        • We have a guy here who has several acres of land, his house is right in the center of it. He has big signs up at the boundaries of the property that say “If you can read this you are within rifle range.”

        • “My neighbor has a “Nothing inside this home worth dying for” yard sign.”

          Oh, he has a sign that says “Guns to steal here when I’m not home”?

          I bet the crooks that drive by are very pleased to know that…

        • Hmm not sure I would advertise having a degal here cops get interested if it is original or NY compliant weight and local savages would steal it because memes. But outside of NY with good property laws go for it 🙂

    • Don’t forget to have the criminals unionize. Then they can go on strike for safer working conditions.

      • So Democrats re bail reform, sentence reform, raise the age, equity sentencing, selective prosecution (see self defense) and gun control?

    • Criminals are registered as such. Criminal records, except for misguided youths, are public record and available at the courthouse in CA, anyway. However, you may not peek if you are employing someone. After you ask them their name — and that may be suspect and consider either racist or anti-LBGTXYZ — you are not allowed to ask them any more questions. You can’t administer a test to see if they actually know what they claim to know. You can ask them to show you identification that proves they are eligible to work (maybe). I’m glad I am no longer in business in this state I would rather be partners with the Mafia.

  6. And who was responsible for the burglary increase in 2020? Answer: Democrats pushing their little cultural revolution. The outcome from their actions was 100% predictable. They wanted mayhem. If people die and suffer, they die and suffer. [insert Que Mala cackling]

  7. Every AR platform on premise was assembled by yours truly. They are functioning works of art so I have been told. The thought of seeing my work in the hands of a buffoon thief really grinds my gears. In other words it would be wise and much safer for a thief to get a job washing dishes and purchase their own firearms.

    Great Gun Store pic TTAG…sure to ruffle some Gun Control feathers.

  8. Jewelry’s pretty enticing too. Hmm, how should we treat them. We see smash and grabs fairly often. If there’s a crime to be committed, somewhere there’s a criminal that can’t wait.

  9. A couple years ago some idiots stole a county dump truck and used it to smash through the wall of a gunshop in Mobile AL. They stole a number of firearms and were gone in under 3 minutes. Security cameras caught the crime on video but didn’t show any faces, nor did the outside camera catch a license plate. The fools were caught and are currently residing in the state facility for idiots. Problem is only about half of the firearms were recovered. Several of the stolen firearms turned up in places like New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis, and Houston.
    Question is how do you secure a store against those who would go to such extremes to steal?


    • Well in a nearby Cook county ILL Gunshop Homie & company tried to steal gats this winter. It was a failure but they were all
      caught on camera. Unlike more than one Gunshop in NW Indiana. So there’s that🙄

      • remember spending a couple of nights in an electronic store (before we could wire it)…staring at a large hole in the wall that thieves had used to enter after breaking into the basement and tunneling upward….kind of reminded me of that Monty Python skit about “mice”….

    • When a criminal is in prison it slows him down. People complain about the cost of lifetime incarceration but they don’t consider the cost of allowing criminals to roam the street. Even petty crime creates loss. The thief who steals a bottle of cheap wine and runs out of the store. “Oh well, the store can afford to lose a bottle of cheap wine every now and then.” That’s a false assumption. Margins in retail are very slim and the total cost of that cheap bottle of wine is lost to the store and the owner of the store, even if it is a large corporation. It’s like the Chinese water torture, a drop at a time.

  11. Local Reporter Brutally Confronts Lori Lightfoot, Tells Her, ‘You Are A Pandemic!’ and ‘get the hell out on my city’.

    even cries for the press credential process to be removed from the mayors power and put back in the hands of the constitution.


  12. “The ATF has a 100 percent response rate to burglaries and robberies of firearm retailers and uses the combined expertise of its special agents and industry operations investigators to apprehend those responsible and recover the stolen firearms.”

    And near zero interest in firearms stolen i -transit with UPS…..

    • interesting….in the days before “porch pirates” they used to leave automatic weapons on my doorstep…true story!

  13. Might be fewer are stolen from ffl’s because they can’t keep them in stock since joe burden became the worlds best gun seller.

  14. “The ATF has a 100 percent response rate to burglaries and robberies of firearm retailers …”


    its their job… so we should giving them a medal for doing their job and being heros?

    The ATF also has a 100 percent response rate to show up at law abiding citizens homes and threatening and coercing innocent people into letting them in without a warrant waving an illegal gun registry page around. Should we give them medals and call them heros for this too?

    The ATF also has a 100 percent response rate to take away the livelihoods of innocent FFL’s because a letter in a name didnt meet the standards of perfect hand writing. Should we give them medals and call them heros for this too?

    The ATF also has a 100 percent response rate at creating unconstitutional law to bypass congress. Should we give them medals and call them heros for this too?

  15. Are the numbers adjusted for the decrease in the number of FFLs? I imagine many have just given up in the last few years in the face of the ever more Draconian BATFE.

  16. Reported a couple years ago a significant # of gun store burlaryies had as a target the files of 4473 – a identity thieves’ wet dream of complete personal info.

  17. With PROPER security measure FIREARMS THEF should be practically ZERO. INfact any retailer who gets FIREARMS stolen because of a lack of security and I’d say that it is the vast majority, should be bannen from the trade for life I think you would be surprised at how THAT affected firesarms theft from stores.

    It goes without saying that the same should apply to Private ownership as well but I’m saying it anyway!

    • yep, the ATF has a 100 percent response rate…at waging war on innocent American citizens.

  18. One LGS in our town of about 150,000, the Perps stole a truck, and drove it through one wall of the store, and made off with a number of rifles and shotguns, before the PD could even get there to answer the alarm (response time in the report was under 10 minutes which is below the 15 minute average RT for the local PD). That’s how fast, organized and efficient they were. The truck they used, was stolen from a used car lot 5 miles away.
    Last I’d heard, a few guns were recovered, but not all, and two guys were arrested, butvI don’t think they caught the actual thieves, as the two were only charged with receiving stolen property.
    The tools that are used are easier to come by now, than in the past. Small Portable Plasma Cutters make quick work of steel doors and bars, or they wrap a chain around them and yank them off. Battery ran Cut Off Tools and so on. Steel Cabinets and Safes only slow down access (unless otherwise a true bank type vault), in hopes that the PD answers the alarm before they can grab what they can.
    None of the local stores leave anything on the shelf anymore after closing. All have gone to some type of secure storage, buy it won’t keep the determined thief forever.
    As the old saying goes “Locks only keep honest people honest.”
    Given the Resources and the Time, nothing’s foolproof anymore.

  19. I’m not big on excessive government regulations but I think that all FFL dealers should be required to have heightened security at their place of business. This would include physical barriers, hardened windows and doors to slow down burglars, CCTV security cameras with live feed capability, 24/7 active alarm systems monitored by third-party companies. It won’t stop all gun shop thefts, but it would help to make it harder for dedicated thieves to target them.

  20. How do the numbers compare to theft from private gun owners who leave their guns unsecure in their vehicles? Or home burglaries? Private gun owners need to take the security of their guns seriously at all times and also protect their children by doing so.

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