Gun thefts climbing in Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gun theft is climbing in the U.S. according to a Center for American Progress report. Florida ranks third in the nation for stolen guns.

The report found in 2015 alone, $9.2 million worth of guns were reported stolen from gun owners—many of these taken from cars and homes.

Earlier this week, JSO tweeted out that ‘in a recent seven day period- ten guns were stolen from unlocked cars’.

The numbers in Florida are really climbing not only from individual gun owners but also from gun stores.

In 2012, 233 guns were stolen from gun stores in Florida. Last year, that number was 662.

According to data from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) the Sunshine State ranks third in the nation for gun thefts- only behind Texas and California.

Between 2012 and 2015, it estimates more than 80,000 guns were stolen from individual owners here in Florida.

Chelsea Parsons is one of the lead authors of the report.

“The numbers were astounding to me. Frankly I did not expect to see numbers this high,” said Parsons.

She tells News4Jax a lot of stolen guns end up being used in violent crimes-- ultimately threatening the community.

“When a gun is stolen, they often end up being illegally trafficked and being kind of passed around in underground markets for guns where people who can’t legally buy them will go to try to find one through other means,” said Parsons.

In 2015, the News4JAX I-Team reported that 260 guns were stolen from cars in Jacksonville between January and November.

News4Jax Crime and Safety Analyst Gil Smith said gun theft is a growing problem, especially in the River City.

“Actually, the Jacksonville area ranks number two in the country for stolen weapons. Atlanta is number one and Jacksonville is number two,” said Smith.

JSO reports more than 1,000 guns have been stolen from unlocked cars in our area over the last two years. Parsons says it is time for Congress to take action.

“Under the current federal law, ATF does not have the authority to require any security measures in gun stores, so gun stores cannot even be required to lock their doors,” said Parsons.

JSO is doing their part through an online campaign called ‘The 9 p.m. Routine’- reminding gun owners to lock their doors, take guns out of cars,  and secure them every night.

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