Massive Increase in Thefts from Gun Dealers in 2016, More than Double in Colorado
ATF “Very Concerned” About Gun Theft Increase
Following a year in which gun theft from vehicles, homes, and dealers were on the rise, including several high profile car-through-the-building smash-and-grab gun store burglaries not far from us, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) has released some big numbers out of Colorado.
The numbers show a 126% increase in gun thefts from licensed dealers over 2015 numbers and a 389% increase over 2014 numbers in the state that passed several new (utterly useless) gun control laws in 2013, further illustrating what everyone already knew: criminals get guns through illegal means and gun control measures don’t stop them (even in New York).
The number of firearms stolen from Colorado gun dealers more than doubled in 2016, reaching a 10-year high of 273 guns.
In comparison, 121 guns were stolen from Colorado gun dealers in 2015 and 56 guns in 2014.
Colorado mirrors a national uptick in guns stolen from dealers. In 2016, 7,858 guns were stolen in robberies and burglaries across the country, the highest number on record.
“We are very concerned about the rise in gun thefts. These guns will not be used for hunting or sport; they are destined for future crimes and are a threat to public and officer safety,” ATF Denver Field Division Special Agent in Charge Debora Livingston said. “ATF is working closely with all the affected police departments in the Denver Metro Area to identify and arrest suspects, recover guns and prevent future thefts. We are also frequently communicating with gun dealers in the Metro Area to inform them of the rise in break-ins and help them better protect their store and inventory.”
Over the past year, ATF and local police departments in the Denver Metro Area arrested 15 suspects and recovered 55 firearms stolen from dealers in 2016, some at the scenes of violent crimes.
“We believe now that many of last year’s Denver Metro Area burglaries are at least loosely connected, and are not copycat burglaries,” said Livingston.
Most of the thefts were after-hours burglaries, and handguns made up about 63 percent of the total stolen firearms.
Rewards are still active for some of the burglaries, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (1-800-283-4867) or Crime Stoppers at (720) 913-7867. People can also submit a tip through ATF’s new “reportit” app available at www.reportit.com and at Google Play and the Apple App Store. All tips are confidential and can be anonymous.