More Guns Are Being Stolen From Vehicles – Here’s What You Can Do About It

More Guns Are Being Stolen From Vehicles - Here’s What You Can Do About It

A few months ago the anti-gun websites The Trace and The Guardian published articles based on parts of an upcoming survey from Harvard and Northeastern Universities.  The survey supposedly gives the most complete look at gun ownership to date and is set for release in 2017.

We’ve talked about gun surveys before and why they tend to be inaccurate. Gun owners just generally don’t want to answer questions about how many guns they have and why they have them. This new study, the surveyors claim, will be more accurate than any other before because of the large sample size.

The surveyors estimate that there are now 265 million firearms in private hands today.

While The Trace proudly proclaims that this new survey “does not draw conclusions about how changes in gun ownership could affect public health…” the writers take it upon themselves to draw all sorts of conclusions about guns and public health. They spew out tried and true talking points about mental health and how fear drives the modern gun owner.

They are an anti-gun website, after all.

But then they seem to latch onto something new: blaming gun owners for their stolen weapons. According to this new study, between 300,000 and 600,000 firearms are stolen every year.

“At the high end, that’s more than 1,600 guns stolen every day, more than one every minute. That’s enough firearms to provide a weapon for every instance of gun violence in the country each year — several times over,”

“Many cities where gun thefts from cars increased sharply last year are in states whose elected leaders have passed laws that make it easier to buy a gun and to carry one on college campuses, in restaurants, and in other public spaces. Many have specifically removed restrictions against leaving firearms in vehicles.”

If these darn gun owners just didn’t have guns, criminals wouldn’t be able to steal guns from them.

Keep in mind these numbers are coming from a yet unpublished source, and aside from a few graphs these websites offer no hard numbers. This doesn’t keep other anti-gun publications like The Atlantic from also writing up hit pieces on gun ownership (I am linking to these for posterity, but don’t give them your clicks unless you must).

“The newest study attributes much of this disparity to the National Rifle Association’s successful politicking. The rise in gun ownership and gun thefts in the U.S. has coincided with the NRA’s aggressive campaign to loosen gun restrictions,” The Atlantic writes.

More guns equal more stolen guns which equal more gun crime, they argue.

The Trace chronicles several stories of guns stolen from the cars that end up in the “Iron Pipeline,” where firearms stolen from gun-friendly cities like Atlanta and Jacksonville end up as murder weapons in less gun-friendly cities like New York and Detroit.

Jacksonville is reporting over 500 guns stolen this year, a new record if the trend continues.

Gun theft is a problem. These guns really do end up in the hands of murderers. A 2012 report from the ATF makes clear that “[t]hose that steal firearms commit violent crimes with stolen guns, transfer stolen firearms to others who commit crimes, and create an unregulated secondary market for firearms.”

In other words, criminals don’t go through the hassle of background checks when they can smash in your car window.

But keep your chin up. While gun theft may very well be on the rise, gun crime is certainly way down.

People generally store their gun in their car when they can’t take it with them into a business or place of employment, and a vehicle is an easy place for a thief to make a snatch-and-grab. The ultimate solution to never having a gun stolen from your vehicle is to not keep it there. And while The  Atlantic and The Trace’s solution would be to limit gun ownership, or legislate harsh punishments for gun owners that leave their firearm in the car, the most logical step to curb the theft of firearms from vehicles is to actually allow concealed carry into more establishments.

If it’s on your hip, it’s not in your car.

Nationwide reciprocity and the end of gun-free zones seem unlikely in the near future, and private establishments always have the right to ask you to keep your gun outside. So storing your gun in the car is sometimes just a fact of life.

Victim blaming gun owners for their stolen weapons is not a valid answer to gun theft. But gun owners not taking the appropriate steps to keep their weapons secure is just as bad.

If you must store your carry weapon in a vehicle be sure to keep it out of sight and locked up, either in the glove compartment or in a small gun safe. There are many many options these days for compact and secure safes. Simply stowing your sidearm under the seat or in an unlocked console just isn’t enough to keep prying hands away after they smash in the window with a tire iron.

The days of gun racks in the window of nearly every truck are, sadly, over. There are newer options that store the rifles overhead, out of the line of sight of that creeper peering in your windows. But if you find yourself transporting long guns and you stop to eat, be sure to cover them and keep their locks locked.

While having NRA and Glock stickers on your car may be a good way to show support for gun ownership, it also telegraphs that you may have a gun in your car ripe for the taking. Be mindful about the information someone can glean from simply looking at your vehicle.

Be safe. Be secure. And do your best to keep gun thieves away from your weapons!

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  • rev_dave

    I might also point out that if I could carry my gun everywhere instead of being prohibited at work, schools, taverns, and restaurants, I would never see a need to leave my gun in the car! Those prohibitions are in place to assuage anti-gunners, who then complain if I comply and leave my gun locked up in my car where it is stolen.

    • Clark Kent

      See my post above. NEVER LEAVE A FIREARM IN YOUR VEHICLE. There is NO EXCUSE for lawful firearm owners to allow their gun to be stolen out of their car, period, end of story. Either carry it or leave it secured at home.

      • rev_dave

        Not much of a choice there Clark – unarmed or risking a felony arrest. To be honest I carry concealed, so I usually take the risk. But you’re basically telling everybody to either risk arrest at those forbidden locations or go everywhere unarmed. I’m not sure that’s good advice either. Why should we have to be disarmed to help some thug stay honest? He won’t- he’ll just look in the next car for something to steal.

        That’s the same approach that Prohibition represented – keep the naughty nice by removing their temptation, from everybody. How about making theft of a weapon a higher class felony? At least that only punishes the thief, and not law-abiding gun owners.

        • Clark Kent

          Amigo, you don’t know what you are talking about. First of all; you don’t get arrested for carrying in a store with a gun free policy. If you are discovered, you are merely told to leave. If you refuse, THEN you are arrested for trespassing. How about realizing your car is not a swiss vault and is not meant for storing firearms? Why should a police officer face being killed with YOUR gun since you were too lazy and stupid to either keep it on your person or leaving it stored securely at home? There is NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER for leaving your firearm in your vehicle, PERIOD, END OF STORY.

          • Mark Roman

            Well said, Clark.

          • Green Hornet

            You and CK need to chill

          • Green Hornet

            Sorry but you are biased beyond reason!!

      • Green Hornet

        you sir may need to be medicated

        • Mighty Fine


      • azguitarzan

        Clark, I 100% agree with you. I’ve been a victim of a gun theft because I respected the wishes of a business owner who had the “no firearms” sign on their door. My truck was stolen, as was my gun. Now, I just keep my mouth shut, conceal it properly, and don’t have to worry about gun theft. If the business owner confronts me, then I will leave the premises. Unless it is a felony to carry a weapon (schools, fed buildings, etc.) I carry, regardless of the sign on the door. And Mr. Green Hornet would never know.

  • ImOffendedTreatMeSpecial

    A lock box is inexpensive and are easily cabled (cable included with the boxes I bought) to one of the bolts that hold the seat or console down. The lock box may fit into the console or slide under the seat. I avoid self defense prohibited zones whenever possible but if I have to go to the courthouse or post office I prefer the pistol be locked in a strongbox.

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    • Clark Kent

      ARRRRGGGGHHHH! DO NOT LEAVE YOUR FIREARM ANYWHERE IN YOUR VEHICLE, PERIOD! Over a 33+ year career as a street cop in a major city I took dozens and dozens of car prowl reports where a firearm was taken. Lock boxes are a joke; they are easily pried out of a vehicle and opened at a later time. By the way, unless a building has a metal detector or you are stupid enough to open carry who is going to know you carry concealed? Zip your mouth and no one will know one way or the other. P.S. Covering an item(s) in your car INVITES being ripped off because thieves know something of value is being hidden. And a ten year old could break the lock on your glove compartment. Once again: NEVER LEAVE A FIREARM IN YOUR CAR.

      • Green Hornet

        Wow, you must have had some bad life experience

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    • Dado Molina

      I have a lock box in my BMW, when I leave my car I always lock it and the cable is secured to the front seat of my car. I feel very safe leaving it in the car, but I would have preferred to carry it instead.

  • Mark

    changed my mind-decided not to comment

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  • tom

    Why not lock the gun in the car but take the barrel with you. It takes all of 10 seconds to field strip most modern Autoloaders..

    • Sir TuberKopf

      Why not carry the frame and leave the barrel and slide in the car. Technically your pistol complies with the intent of gun free zones, it is disabled, but the FFL controlled component is under your direct control.

      I’d love to hear a lawyers view on this?

  • Conservo Luchador

    And just like all the alarm system commercials, the thief is a white guy in the image above. As a Hispanic male, I can tell you that most of these crimes are committed by blacks and hispanics. Just saying.

    • Mighty Fine

      I’ve noticed that. It’s always the dopey white guy who buys the ” wrong product”.

  • Bowserb

    If going somewhere guns are prohibited, I leave it at home in the safe. Console Vault is a pretty secure option if you must lock up in the car/truck. Also keep a kid’s booster seat in the back right side and a few junk toys on the floor. No gun stickers on the car. And…lock up at home! Past Harris County Texas sheriff Adrian Garcia left his service weapon on a table at home when he was away all day, house not alarmed. Gun was stolen.

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  • If I didn’t own a car I could never have it stolen either. Guess the grand theft auto crime wave is all the car owners fault. Who knew.

  • Douglas Gerber

    Moms Demand Action, anti-gun group and also under the Bloomberg financial umbrella, is making an issue of this in Missouri. There’s this woman running for Mayor of St. Louis who wants to redefine “assault weapons” as any gun that hold more than 5 rounds, either in a fixed or detachable magazine (though she uses the word clip) and they want legislation to criminalize victims of burglary if their guns are stolen and not stored, unloaded in a safe. Of course no mention of the criminal acts that puts those guns in the pipeline. The reasoning, if you can call it that, is beyond me. Must be the NRA’s fault.

  • Mighty Fine

    You are just plain nuts, and a big part of the “Stolen guns in the hands of criminals” problem if you keep your gun in your glove box or under the seat.
    At the very least, buy a $20 safe box from any big box or gun store and cable it to your seat frame or bolt it down, and lock it up.
    I drive a 15 Silverado & it has the lockable double Center console.
    My gun box fits perfectly into the bottom console and I use the included cable to teather it to my seat frame, and just for kicks, (and to possibly slow the thief down a few seconds), lock that too!
    And remember, if it’s locked in your car, it isn’t on your hip where it can do some good so keep it out of the vehicle unless there’s no other choice.

  • Jameel Nicholson

    Agreed on the blowhards who put gun stickers on their cars. The whole point of concealed carry is to maintain the element of SURPRISE/concealment. That doofus with the Glock/Springfield sticker on the back window of his vehicle says to a perp, “I’ll give you the tactical advantage, so ambush me and shoot me immediately before I can draw that Glock 26/42/43”. If the car is parked outside of a polling place/sporting event/federal building, “free gun for the taking”.