gun store counter
Store owner Bren Brown, stands with a display of handguns at Frontier Justice in Lee's Summit, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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The firearm industry is leveraging unique partnerships to help firearm retailers become part of the safety solutions in their communities.

Through Real Solutions® the firearm industry trade association partners with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), for a campaign called Operation Secure Store® (OSS). The goal is to deter and reduce the instances of theft and burglary of firearms from retailers. These partnerships have had a positive impact on reducing criminal misuse of firearms. After all, local firearm retailers live and work in the same communities and want those neighborhoods to be free of crime too.

Resources for Safer Communities

More than 21 million customers since last January visited a firearm retail store and lawfully purchased a firearm. That figure includes more than 8.4 million buyers who did so for the first time. Firearm retailers work with NSSF on several safety initiatives, but OSS is one that’s critical to business vitality and community safety at the same time.

gun store pistol handgun counter

Operation Secure Store works with firearm retailers to enhance their operational security and identify potential risks to their businesses. The program focuses on five key areas:

  • Education and Awareness, so retailers understand potential security threats and how to address them;
  • Assessment and Risk Analysis, provided to identify vulnerabilities and security weaknesses;
  • Planning and Strategy, to assist retailers to develop an action plan to address any potential issues;
  • Engagement, encouraging retailers to work with their communities and customers to build trust; and,
  • Response, providing retailers timely response services in the event of any criminal activity.

By focusing on these key areas, firearm retailers can ensure their store and inventory are available and open the next business day when customers begin lining up.

Matching Rewards

In the event of a smash-and-grab burglary, the first priority is recovering the stolen firearms and bringing the criminals to justice. As part of Operation Secure Store, the NSSF matches ATF reward offers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of criminals that steal guns from retailers.

“ATF works closely with members of the firearms industry to curb the criminal acquisition and misuse of firearms,” said ATF Acting Special Agent Toby Taylor.  “ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence will leverage investigative resources across state lines combined with community partnerships to recover the stolen firearms.”

Business-Crushing Laws

Laws are often proposed under the guise of “gun safety,” but are really gun control. This is especially the case when local governments mandate onerous storage regulations on gun retailers that can make it impossible for small business owners to follow because of cost. The Littleton, Colo., city council passed an ordinance to force gun retailers to place their inventory in a “locked safe, gun cabinet or secured safe room after business hours.” This one-size-fits-all policy is unworkable for many retailers and will likely force businesses to shut down. It’s gun rights elimination by another means. 

Operation Secure Store initiatives and the efforts of gun retailers using available NSSF and the ATF resources have helped to reduce crime and break-ins at gun stores. According to data available for 2017 through 2019, the number of firearm retail burglaries decreased year-over-year, from 577 down to 343. The number of firearms stolen by criminals has trended down over the same period, from 7,841 in 2017 down to 4,490 in 2019.

Criminals are paying for their crimes too. In similar available data, the number of criminals arrested for firearm retailer burglaries, according to ATF data, jumped from 133 in 2016 to 280 during 2017. Those arrested for state-level firearm burglaries matched the trend, rising from 114 to 137 over the same period.

The firearm industry continues to believe Real Solutions lead to safe communities and will continue partnering with the ATF and community retailers to ensure Americans can safely exercise their Second Amendment rights and gun stores are safe and secure to provide the outlet to do so.


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. Gun control advocates will not support this because it has nothing to do with the harassment and curtailing of the 2A. They don’t look for solutions, they facilitate, perpetuate, and take advantage of tragedies involving firearms to pass and enforce their will and beliefs onto others.

    ‘Criminals’ to them are usually people they don’t like or don’t think (or look) the same as them.

    • This. So why even bother. The ATF is the enemy. Fuck their feelings and their infringements. This is basically a paper flyer they stuff in your bags at the supermarket.

      • And the new Harris / Biden admin is bringing in every possible 2A adversary they can find for top slots in the repression machine.

        • “going green since….”
          “Reducing plastics blah blah blah…”

          More wasted resources than ever in reality.

    • And now gun control advocates can introduce laws that mandate any of NSSF’s recommended “best practices”, claiming (not unreasonably) that they’re supported by the firearm industry trade association.

  2. Most feared words in the English language to a business owner: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.”

    Politicians with a law never stop a bad guy with a gun…..or bad guy trying to get a gun.
    They only control the good guys,which is there true agenda.

  3. I wish the NSSF would stop trying to polish the feces of anti-gun policies and govt. agencies. It would be better to stand their ground and educate anti-gunners as to why they are completely ignorant of reality and why we’re never giving up our guns.

  4. I would like to say, “Wooo, hooo” about the crime numbers, but….are those stats controlled for any other possible cause of the favorable numbers?

  5. “You don’t join with the enemy”

    You have to read this article most carefully. The headline uses a word that has nuances, but would seem to indicate a straight-up, official coordination. Reading beyond the headline, one finds that just maybe, what you have is a loose connection, in that NSSF could simply know the reward system of the ATF, and unilaterally match the amount, all without any actual ATF involvement.

  6. The most important and effective safety technique is to lock up the children so they can’t get at the guns. I recommend a large gun safe with a place for juice boxes and a Nintendo.

  7. “The most important and effective safety technique is to lock up the children so they can’t get at the guns. I recommend a large gun safe with a place for juice boxes and a Nintendo.”

    This could turn out to be really popular.

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