About the story
For this story, the Times/Reveal analyzed annual statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and requested dozens of police reports from 17 law enforcement agencies in Florida.
The Times/Reveal used the ATF statistics to note the increase in the number of guns stolen during burglaries. These numbers represent thefts that are reported to the ATF. Although gun dealers are required by federal law to report thefts and losses, there may be cases where they fail to notify ATF.
Citing a law that placed restrictions on the disclosure of certain kinds of firearms records, ATF denied a reporter's request for theft reports submitted by Florida gun dealers in 2016. To identify these cases, the Times/Reveal used a state database to find every theft that each resulted in at least 10 stolen guns. A reporter then called every investigating agency, 38 in all, to determine if the burglary occurred at a gun dealer.
In all, the Times/Reveal identified 20 such cases from January 2016 through June 2017 and collected police reports for all of them except two. Those records were not available because the investigations remain active, but the Times/Reveal gathered information from statements and video surveillance released by police.
About the reporter
Laura C. Morel covers criminal courts in Pinellas County. She joined the Tampa Bay Times in May 2012. Born and raised in Miami, she holds degrees from Miami Dade College and Emerson College.