Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gun owners urged to keep weapons in secure place

Hillsborough County sheriff's officials say guns keep ending up in the wrong hands, especially in east Hillsborough County.

And deputies say the blame lies partly with gun owners.

Hundreds of firearms are stolen each year. Perpetrators use them to commit violent crimes.

"There isn't a week that goes by when a firearm isn't taken," said Maj. Clyde Eisenberg, who oversees District 2. "If people would secure their guns in safes then burglars would not be able to go into homes and take them."

To cut down on thefts, the Sheriff's Office recently put up digital sign boards in Brandon and Valrico urging people to lock up their guns. Hillsborough County offers seminars on the responsibilities of gun ownership.

Still, the problem stays the same. Not better. Not worse. Just the same.

"Our advice is get an alarm system for your house," said Maj. Ron Hartley of District 4. "If there are guns where there is a break-in, chances are they're going to get taken. They are easy to sell and highly portable. It's a lot easier to fit a bunch of them in the trunk of your car than it is a flat-screen TV."

Car break-ins also pose a problem. Hunting rifles are swiped. Petty thieves walk away with handguns. Officials believe the problem is worse in east Hillsborough because the area is rural and people tend to own more firearms and keep them with them.

"Don't leave guns in your car and definitely don't leave them in the car with the door unlocked," Hartley said. "I've seen that one too many times."

Hartley explained burglars don't usually target homes or cars specifically for weapons. Once they break in, they treat weapons just like they do electronics, jewelry and other popular items. If something looks easy to grab, it gets added in with the loot.

Gun safes, which range from $50 to $1,200 online, help keep weapons out of the pile.

"A lot of people just have them in their dresser, under a mattress or in their bedroom drawer," Eisenberg said. "It's just something they grow up with, and we want to remind people it's a problem. "

It's a problem because felons prohibited from purchasing a gun count on obtaining them illegally.

"You certainly don't want (your gun) to be used in a violent crime," Eisenberg said.


Safety first

For more information on how to keep your weapons secured and out of criminal hands, visit

Gun owners urged to keep weapons in secure place 12/23/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 23, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates


    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears


    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'


    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]