Saturday, October 20, 2018
Public safety

Gun theft isn’t just a Florida problem; it’s happening in other states, too

In November, the Tampa Bay Times published a 10-month investigation about the growing stolen gun epidemic in Florida.

Turns out this issue spans the entire country, according to a recent investigation by The Trace, a reporting nonprofit that covers gun violence in America.

Its investigation, Missing Pieces, found that more than 237,000 guns were reported stolen in the United States last year, a 68 percent increase from 2005.

Like the Times’ story, The Trace spoke to law enforcement officials who expressed frustration at the trend.

"We have a society that has become so gun-centric that the guns people buy for themselves get stolen, go into circulation, and make them less safe," former St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson told The Trace.

The Times project, a partnership with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, found that since 2007, at least 82,000 guns have been reported stolen in Florida and never found.

The first story followed the case of Tarpon Springs officer Charles Kondek, who was killed in December 2014 with a firearm stolen from an unlocked car in Jacksonville.

The second story looked at gun shops, where more than four times as many firearms were stolen during burglaries in 2016 than in 2012. During those years, gun dealers reported 156 break-ins to federal authorities.

The Times’ series was also featured on Reveal’s podcast, available here:

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