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If you own a gun and it gets stolen, chances are you won’t get it back. That’s the not entirely surprising conclusion from a stolen gun study in The Land of Lincoln. Make the jump for the official stats, via Meanwhile, “According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, an average of 232,400 guns were stolen each year from 2005 to 2010. Guns were recovered in only 17 percent of reported burglaries and in 15 percent of other property crimes.” Assuming that rate has continued to today, ignoring the possibility that there are at least as many guns stolen that were not reported . . .

We can safely state that there are millions of stolen guns in circulation in the United States. So tightening background check laws will do nothing – not one thing – to stifle or eliminate the supply of stolen guns for criminals. In fact, that stat tells us that background checks are nothing but security theater. Well, that and a statist attempt to delay, degrade and/or destroy Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

Stolen guns by the numbers [drawn from three years’ worth of Springfield Illinois Police Department data]

* There were 291 guns stolen in Springfield between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 11, 2014. In that timeframe, 13 of those guns were recovered, a rate of less than 4.5 percent.

* In the 35 full months surveyed, 284 guns were stolen. That’s just over eight guns stolen per month or one gun stolen every 3.75 days.

* Between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 11, 2014, a total of 186 incidents were reported involving the theft of a firearm. In the 35 full months surveyed, there were 183 incidents. That’s just over five incidents per month, or about one incident every six days.

* Handguns were the most popular firearm stolen. Since 2012, 191 handguns have been stolen (65.6 percent). Shotguns were the next most popular, with 47 stolen — 16.1 percent of the total. There were 28 rifles stolen, 9.6 percent. The remainder of the stolen firearms — 25 guns, or 8.6 percent — were not known because owners couldn’t provide sufficient information to police or the police records didn’t include sufficient information to determine the type of gun stolen.

* In three cases, six or more guns were stolen at a time. The most guns stolen at one time were nine in a burglary in the 1700 block of North 19th Street on Nov. 20, 2013.

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  1. But we love licenses and security theater! Makes people feel special.

    Did they steal the Target shopping carts in the photo?

    • Hahaha… that’s what I first saw as well. I was thinking either Target has a really awesome gun selection since the last time I’ve been there or they’re putting stolen guns into stolen shopping carts.

    • Target shopping carts in the Springfield Police Department evidence room? Several scenarios:
      1. The cops stole them from Target while doing overtime as security to supplement their pay. (Possible)
      2. The cops legally purchased them from Target. (I doubt it.)
      3. The carts were donated to the department by Target (I doubt that too.)
      4. They were confiscated from a couple of homeless guys urinating on Abe’s statue (Most likely explanation.)
      5. They are evidence in another crime and merely being put into service until the statute of limitation expires on the crime in which they were gathered as evidence. (A plausible explanation.)
      You have to remember – Illinois is infested with liberal Democrats and switch hitter Republicans who want to be Democrats. Illinois is also home to the Killing Field called Chicago. Anything is possible in this state (Sadly, I am a resident of Springfield, home of the police department possessing two Target shopping carts that may need to be returned to their rightful owner.)

      • Or, more likely still, is that when Target upgraded all of their carts to their current, fully-plastic models with rounded corners, these metal ones had to be liquidated.

        The civil servants probably saw a bargain basement way to ease evidence handling in the old carts.

        • Al, Target, like virtually all companies, obliterates its logo when it sells its carts They are virtually certain to be stolen

  2. And what, I wonder, is to be done about stolen shopping carts? Such as the one in the photo that was clearly the property of Target corp.

    Surely no LE agency would … commandeer … private property for their own use, so it must be there as evidence.

    • First thing I said when I saw that image was “Holy Crap! Target is selling guns now! FU, Moms Demand Action!” Hahaha!

    • There could be any number of explanations other than theft explaining the presence of those shopping carts, you have no evidence that Target ever actually owned those carts. Further, apparently if they were stolen in another state, that does not count, somehow, even if you have the fingerprints of the thief.

  3. Just ask yourself how many crimes background checks prevented. Then ask how many failed background checks were successfully prosecuted.

    Then look at how many were denied purchase due to errors in the record, because if they weren’t prosecuted, then clearly they did nothing wrong to cause a denial.

    The whole thing is full retard stupid.

      • It’s all about “raising awareness” – basically letting the megalomaniac progressives get their adrenaline rush of pathological altruism, and then calling it a day.

    • I know it’s a crime for a felon to possess a firearm, but is it a crime for them to attempt to buy one from a store? I’m genuinely asking, because that might explain some of the unprosecuted denials. I mean, if you go to buy one, and you’re denied in the NICS check, you never actually possessed the gun, right? So what crime would you be charged with (assuming you didn’t lie on the 4473 form)?

      • The 4473 form itself asks whether you’re a felon. If you answer “yes”, an FFL won’t run a background check and won’t sell you a firearm.

        If you answer “no”, but actually are a felon, they’ll run the NICS and likely it will come back denied, because it picked up that you’re a felon. Lying on that 4473 is a federal crime, regardless whether you take possession of any firearm or the outcome of the NICS background check.

        In fact, just standing at the counter, holding a firearm you’re considering purchasing, is a crime, if you’re a felon.

    • Some might even argue that background checks even cause crime, or at least make crime easier ti commit.

      For example, Adam Lanza reportedly attemptedvto buy a rifle from Dick’s Sporting Goods in the days prior to his rampage, but denied the purchase because he did not want to wait through CT’s 14 day waiting period/background check. Instead, he stole his mother’s rifle and murdered her in the process. Might he have killed her, anyway, had he bought a rifle? Maybe, maybe not.

      Maybe he only killed her to silence a witness who could tip off police, which would not have been necessary had he been able to buy immediately from Dick’s? After all, he didn’t go on a time-consuming, multi-state killing spree to murder other family members and doctors. So that background check may have prompted an additional murder.

      Then there are the cases of the 1992 L.A. Riots, where frightened residents ran head first into that state’s background checks and waiting periods, leaving them vulnerable to wilding thugs. One can google examples of stalking victims unable to buy a self-defense firearm quickly enough through legal channels to ward off their violent demise at the hands of an ex, too.

  4. “According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, an average of 232,400 guns were stolen each year from 2005 to 2010.”

    A conservative estimate of the number of guns stolen in 2000 would be 384,296, while the figure for 1993 would be 642,000. (…) In any case, even conservative estimates indicate that the number of handguns annually obtained by criminals by all methods exceeds 600,000 even in low-crime years. – Kleck and Wang

  5. Damn shame the M1 Garand allegedly cannot be returned to it’s owner. I wonder if the “official” in the picture is doing a little shopping?

    • Since that rifle has a big old bolt sticking out the back, I suspicion that it is not a Garand, but rather an ’03 Springfield.

      • Your probably correct about the rifle in his hands. However, there is a M1 Garand in the cart. Farthest to the right in the cart.

      • The rifle in his hands is a Lee Enfield. There’s an m1 in the cart. Also in the cart appears to be a leather lace on cheek piece on a wood butt stock. That’s the one I’d like a better look at.

        • Major brain fart on my part. That isn’t a Lee Enfield in his hands. It does indeed look like an 03 Springfield.

  6. Playing devils advocate here.. How many criminals did not attempt to buy a gun legally because they knew they wouldn’t pass a bcg? I agree that the record keeping requirements for ffl holders is backdoor gun registration, but are we honestly suggesting that we do away with bcg’s all together?

    • Yes… Shall not be infringed is a pretty easy one to understand. Criminals will steal and what will stop that? Background checks are things lawful citizens have to endure to protect a small minority. Might as well all wear helmets because some people bump their heads.

    • Granted I’m still a relatively new member of POTG, but the way I see it background checks wouldn’t be necessary if criminals were actually being charged with crimes and incarcerated. That seems to be the common sense measure that should be taken. It’s a bit of a catch-22 due to overcrowding of the prison system, which makes security and safety of security officers more costly and less realistic.

      • Maybe overcrowding would be a hard to overcome issue. It would be less of an issue if convicted violent offenders were executed. Let’s start with the FT. Hood, Tucson and Aurora shooters. Caught red handed in the act of murdering random people. No investigation necessary. Of course they are crazy. What sane person would commit these acts. Doesn’t mean they aren’t responsible.

        • “Incarceration” doesn’t have to be that hard. Sheriff Joe has it figured out.

          Triple strand concertina, GP medium tents, sleeping bag on the ground. Ping underoos and black/white striped jumpsuit. Shower every other Sat. Feed peanut butter/jelly and bologna sandwiches. No better conditions that a grunt on extended duty in the field.

          And doing CHAINGANG/slave manual labor. Cheap and they won’t want to be back.

          Perhaps the mohamadans have an idea. Steal a firearm – loose the hand.

      • Most people in jail have not harmed or threatened anyone, they are there because of lifestyle choices not approved by politicians. Call it the prison-industrial-complex. The people in that complex, including cops, always rail against legalization of these lifestyle choices because its their livelihood.

        Not to mention the cowardly police departments that choose to enforce lifestyle “crimes” over going after violent criminals (most violent crimes go unsolved, that should tell you something — they could choose to lighten up on the safe lifestyle “crime” enforcement and put more resources going after violent criminals, but that would be dangerous…).

        • Count me as one of many who believes that selling drugs to kids is a “lifestyle choice” that warrants incarceration.

        • The overcrowding of the prison system is due to a political system that continues to make more and more actions into crimes, especially those that involve “crimes” that have no victim.

          Drug possession, drug consumption, drug buying or selling involve no victim. But we imprison people for these actions.

          The same applies to buying, selling, possessing or carrying a firearm. No one is harmed by those actions. But we imprison people for them.

          It’s much easier to prosecute victimless crimes than it is to catch the real bad guys, apparently. It’s also more profitable when you consider how asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement agencies to steal possessions from people.

        • That claim cannot be substantiated.

          In the state prison systems, not only have the majority of inmates harmed others, but a majority (54%) have harmed others specifically via a violent crime for which they were convicted.

          In the federal system, it’s less clear, particularly in how you define “harm.” A plurality (48%), not a majority, are imprisoned on drug charges. Selling drugs to kids harms them. How do you factor that? Some 10% are incarcerated on immigration law convictions. Victimless? Not to the low skilled legal immigrants and citizens who are screwed out of a job. Not to the taxpayers who foot the illegals’ medical and educational expenses. How do you factor that?

          We know that far more crimes are committed annually than are closed with convictions. We also know that many inmates have prior convictions. Hence, we know that many of these criminals are guilty of a helluva lot more than just what they happen to be in prison for at the moment. So let’s not try to transform these criminal predators into mythical, peaceful, burger-loving potheads straight out of some stoner flick, ok?

        • 99.9% of a Police Officer’s “productivity” is enforcing laws that generate revenue. Attempting to focus on real crime doesn’t bring in money to keep the politicians happy and could be dangerous. Most people won’t take a shot at you over a littering ticket.

    • Fifty years ago people used to store there firearms on gun racks in their living rooms and in the back window of their pick up trucks. But then some genius figured out that any felon could walk right into a store and walk out with a firearm. So we all traded in our gun racks for gun safes. The criminals still have guns, but now we all have to be paranoid about our guns being stolen. And, as anyone who has ever seen Red Dawn knows, the Russians and Cubans know just where to look to find a list of private gun owners in America. Personally I’m all for getting rid of ineffective governance in any and every situation.

      • Squse me, Gov., but what in the world would those people do with a list of gun owners? Send nasty letters? If they plan to attempt to steal our guns, they might be in for a bit of a surprise. And that goes for anyone trying to steal them, of course…

        • You need to watch Red Dawn. The Russians and Cubans invade the USA and in one of the scenes a Cuban colonel instructs one of his men to go to the local sporting goods stores and find the files labeled 4473. Then they round up the gun owners and put them in concentration camps.

  7. I plan to be bitter about my BG check delay on my .338 whenever the subject is mentioned. What should have taken a day at most took several weeks due to a background check delay. I have no tickets, arrests or at-fault accidents. Someone who really digs could find reference to a speeding ticket in ’97 and another in ’99 on my WI DL. That’s the extent of my criminal record.

    Shockingly, no one from the government has offered to compensate me for my lost time.

  8. You know the liberal reply will be “Common sense” “safe” gun storage laws and containers requiring the gun owner to store the parts of the gun in two different storage areas with unannounced random police and government search and seizure inspections.

    • you are traveling in the right direction, just not far enough.

      the data proves the gun-grabber case that the only solution is full gun confiscation, banning the existence of guns in the US (for non-police/military). the only way to prevent stolen guns is to not have any guns to steal ! remove all, I mean all, guns from the law abiding citizens, and you reduce the problem to something “manageable”. you can never eliminate the criminal element, but restricting the problem to that group makes life easier for everyone. yes, there will be a number of non-criminals murdered or injured, but that is the price we pay for a safe country/state/county, city….and, we have the benefit of not having to do criminal investigations of gun deaths in the sub-cultures (who cares if criminals kill each other?), just drag the bodies off to the potter’s field.

      these theft statistics drive a spike in the heart of the claim that private citizens can be properly trusted to avoid their guns becoming tools for the death of innocents.

      just hide and watch.

      • Exactly this. Progs believe no one should have guns, period. They run through a whole list of reasons to justify their belief, the final one being that the guns will be stolen and used in a crime.

  9. Maybe the cart was used in a crime, and is thus in evidence…?

    About reporting stolen guns, I have my serials written down, along with photographs; if something goes walkabout damned straight it’s getting reported.

  10. Next up. Mandatory jail time for not reporting a stolen firearm within 24 hours.

    If so few stolen guns are being recovered how many of the stolen guns are actually being used in crimes?

  11. I’m perfectly happy being responsible for the safety and security of my exchange for not being licensed and documented over what guns I own.

  12. On another note, it is shameful that tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding gun owners make their non-carry weapons readily accessible to any burglar out there. In fact, many here seem to have a rather indifferent attitude to their gun getting stolen, seeing it as little more than an insurance claim. Now the surest way for more gun laws to be rammed down our throats is us supplying the criminal element through sheer negligence. In short, please secure your weapons, people.

    • What a batch of manure. I also leave my wife and children equally readily accessible to burglars, rapists, and killers inside our home. I do not lock them up in a relative safe, wtf can I be thinking? How ’bout we prosecute criminals, and stop trying to blame their crimes on the victims.

    • That’s a load of crap. Each and every gun I own is locked up 24/7/365. There are two exceptions: the gun on my hip (G27 at the moment) and the .338 (too big to fit in the safe). However, the bolt and mag of the .338 is locked up, which is locked up in the garage.

    • A professional burglar can open the vast majority of fast access safes in less than thirty seconds. Their only true utility is keeping your kids’ mitts off of them–that is, until they are old enough to figure out how easy it really is to pick the back up key lock. Requiring gun owners who have no young visitors to lock up their guns is nothing more than security theater. Real gun safes, like the Liberty safes, are a different matter.

  13. for cameron and whatever, guns in safes are safe; owners are at risk. massachewsit has a law requiring guns kept in the home must always be in a safe. can’t even have one on the hip, as it might be taken away from you. having guns available in several locations around the house is better than any gun locked in a safe…when you need the gun. taking a gun into the shower/ bathtub with you is not an option, and since it is not on your hip, laws requiring you to keep guns in a safe when not on your body make home defense impossible. quick-access safes can be stolen. next step, portable safes locked in non-portable safes.

    • @george, you are incorrect. In MA, a gun must be stored unloaded or kept under the owner’s control when it is not stored. Storage can be either in a safe or with a trigger lock. Safes are not required. Moreover, home carry is perfectly legal for a licensed owner.

  14. Something the data did not, and could not, report: how many guns were stolen but could not be reported as such (therefore, unrecoverable in any case) because the owner could not provide proper documentation? ie: receipts, photos, serial numbers. I have to wonder if more stolen guns could be recovered if folks would keep better records.

  15. Here’s how I see it and yes this is off the wall I already know that lol, but it’s my perspective.
    Mandating background checks to deter crime is absolutely worthless and just plain stupid. Only reason for background checks is to gain a list of every person who owns a gun it’s not to deter crime, period! If it deterred crime then why don’t they have a mandated background check for every purchase of a prescription drug. By the CDCs own numbers in 2012, of the 41,502 drug overdose deaths in the United States, 22,114 (53%) were related to pharmaceuticals. That’s 60 people a day dying from pharmaceutical drugs. Of the 41,502 82% were under the age of 21! All firearms deaths in 2011? 32,351! Almost 10,000 less than all drug overdoses in 2012 and only 10,000 more than pharmaceutical drugs. So in light of this we should immediately demand background checks for every purchase of a pharmacy drug. Requiring a license to carry and mandatory training classes for all citizens who own prescription drugs in order to help prevent drugs from killing people! Now yes the Doctor has to send the script to the pharmacy but the pharmacy doesn’t do anymore then look at an ID card. Hell I’ve had some just ask for a birthday and don’t ask for any ID and doctors don’t do background checks patient confidentiality and all. So if we did all this who would it effect? The criminal? Nope! He steals his drugs or buys them on the black market! Will it stop people from buying drugs? Nope! Will it stop people from using someone elses drugs? Nope. Will it help police on the street to lower the drug problem? Nope! Will banning drugs deter the drug problem? Ya we know for a fact! Nope and it’s the same for firearms! So why only do liberals demand to ban firearms but want drugs made legal? Drugs are killing more people the guns! They’ll tell you banning drugs doesn’t work would cost unnecessary billions to law abiding citizens and only hurts those who need access to drugs to save their life! Banning or restricting drugs is a fail! Gee! Sounds like a winner and it’s the same for guns!

  16. Look, almost everything the American law enforcement industry does is kabuki theatre. They talk a big game about catching criminals… but then they turn them loose again, as tho they were really just over-eager fly fishermen in the Wyoming mountains fishing for Brown Trout using hooks without barbs. Everything from their mottos to their recent fixation on MRAP vehicles is for show. They’re not really interested in catching criminals. They’re interested in their comp packages and pensions.

    America would be much better off if we seated a Congress who has as their only job the removal of laws from the books for two full terms. It took 100 years of idiots braying “there oughta be a law!” to get us to this state, it will take at least four years of hard work to undo it.

    But that isn’t going to happen, so we might as well recognize that the system in place is here to say and learn to ridicule it in meaningful ways.

    • “My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden.”

      Barry Goldwater

    • No. Learn to sidestep it, back stab it and kill it. They want to break the “law”? Fine. That means EVERYONE can, not just them. They are creating anarchy for us, time they had their anarchy rammed up their a$$es.

    • America would be much better off if we seated a Congress who has as their only job the removal of laws from the books for two full terms. It would take longer, but that would be a start.

  17. Illinois might be the stolen gun center of America. That number seems really high for a city with a population of a little over 100000…reported thefts. I know I had ( when I was new and enthusiastic about guns) several mostly black guys tell me their guns were stolen. The absolute dumbest and most irresponsible was a young guy who had sole custody of his 16year old son. The kid had an unauthorized party and dad’s Glock was stolen out of a DRAWER. Well duh. And he reported it immediately. Never got it back of course. And he’s a white guy with some connection to the local police. They do have laws about reporting theft in Illinois too. I’m sure that’s a big help in Chicago…

  18. thank you for the correction. a safe is not required, but rendering the gun useless is. as you know, a home threat is not the time to be looking for safes or trying to unlock triggers.


  19. Sorry RF, I like to be on your side but there’s a bit of a logical disconnect here. You have no data about the total number of guns used in crimes compared to the number stolen.
    you write:
    “So tightening background check laws will do nothing – not one thing – to stifle or eliminate the supply of stolen guns for criminals.” …yeah but it COULD theoretically stifle or eliminate the supply of legally (legal other than lying on 4473) purchased guns by criminals which I think is the goal
    *Note I don’t disagree with your overall point I just think your reasoning doesn’t make sense*

    • ” data about the total number of guns used in crimes compared to the number stolen.” Why don’t you provide us that data?

  20. Have you ever noticed that, when police show off confiscated guns, it’s usually tons and tons of long guns, despite the fact crimes, especially in big cities where they have big displays like this, is overwhelmingly committed with handguns?

  21. So, are these “public servants” going to be prosecuted for stealing Target’s property? I f*cking doubt it. F**king scumbags!

  22. I’m wondering just how big that makes the number of stolen weapons out there. At a minimum of a million every five years, that’s over five million just since I graduated from OSU. But given the higher figures reported by some in these comments for some years, it’s probably twice that. So, let’s say from the end of the Vietnam war… thirty million? forty?

    Then there are firearms people make themselves. When I was in high school, several guys in my class turned out their own firearms in wood shop and metals shop, and several others made their own hunting rifles at home. I suspect that today’s PC culture doesn’t allow the production at school any more (even though there’s still an allowance of a week excused from school to go hunting with a parent).

    I’d guess there are easily fifty million firearms out there with no evidence of their existence at all.

    Next step is to double that.

  23. BTW, I’m wondering if the tags in that photo mean what they did when I got three of my firearms back after they’d been seized as evidence when someone drove off with my truck: when I went to the facility to claim them, red tags meant items being held as evidence, green meant items released.

    note: the truck thief didn’t get access to the firearms; the cops tore things apart after recovering it. Figures the government did me more harm than the bad guy(s).

  24. The federales should maintain a national public list of “Missing Guns”. A database with the make and serial number of every gun found, confiscated or recovered by law enforcement anywhere. That way an owner could claim it more easily, even if the gun had crossed jurisdictions.


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