CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – Thieves stealing firearms out of cars and homes is a problem police are dealing with across the United States, and new statistics reveal it's a growing issue in Georgia.
Georgia law enforcement agencies have seen an uptick in those crimes, which is why they're asking gun owners to lock up their weapons.
According to the Camden County Sheriff's Office, 70 percent of the burglaries to which it responded this year have involved the theft of one or more firearms.
Most of the time, the Sheriff's Office said, the guns stolen in home burglaries and car thefts are never found.
News4Jax on Friday spoke to one gun owner whose car has been broken into before, but she said she was lucky because her gun was not inside the vehicle at the time.
"Wherever you go, your gun goes with you," Jessie Johnston said. "I have guns. I have a 9 mm and a .44 special, and I do carry in my car. And whenever I get out of my car, I make sure to bring my gun inside because cars are easy to break into, I personally think."
Johnston said being a gun owner is a huge responsibility, and anyone who owns a firearm needs to lock it up.
"Whoever gets into your car, whoever breaks in has wrong intentions, so you don't want that person to have that weapon," she said.
Corrine Gentry, who sells firearms at Oakwell Armory in Kingsland, said they remind all buyers about the risk of leaving a gun in plain sight.
"If somebody just breaks into your home and you have a locked gun case, what are they going to do? Take the whole case?" Gentry said. "But nine out of 10 times, they want the quick and easy way to get something. So if something is locked up in a gun safe, not in the open, they will turn around and walk out."
According to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, there were 2,433,092 background checks done last month across the country for gun permits.
But Gentry said criminals don't go through the system, they just take.
"The easiest way for people to get guns is to steal them and, unfortunately, you don't know who's stealing that gun is a felon or not," she said.
Besides locking up guns, owners should record their gun's serial number. That way, if for some reason it is stolen, it's easier to track down.