Tom is a devoted husband and father, concerned about the safety of his family. He has a carry license, and goes to the range to train with his firearms on a regular basis. He is prepared to protect his loved ones should the need arise. But Tom was not prepared for something that happens all too often to law-abiding gun owners across the country, time and time again. He became the victim of a crime that is growing at an alarming rate – gun theft.
Tom left his handgun in his vehicle while he and his family ran errands in grocery center that prohibited firearms. Upon returning to his vehicle, Tom found the broken glass beside his car and his belongings gone – including his gun. He joined the hundreds of thousands of others whose firearms are stolen each year.
More than 238,000 guns were reported stolen in 2016, according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database, which is likely a significant undercount.
The FBI put the value of reported stolen firearms in 2015 at over $164 million. However, not all thefts are reported or included, because many gun owners do not know the serial number of their firearms, which is a requirement to input weapons into the NCIC.
It is estimated that the actual number of firearm thefts exceeds 380,000 guns a year. Most of these weapons are flowing into underground markets, and into the hands of criminals. Studies by the Department of Justice reveal that more than half the guns used to commit crimes by state and federal prisoners were obtained from these underground markets.
A Career Criminal
Take, for example, the story of Julius Callicutt, a 30-year-old career criminal who stole an estimated 300 guns before finally getting caught, and is now incarcerated in the Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg, Tennessee. He traded or resold the guns on the streets as part of a larger criminal business.
Callicutt considered himself an underground gun wholesaler, selling handguns to gang members for $150 and up. The gang members would then resell the guns, often for double that price, arming felons, minors, and others who can’t legally possess firearms, and so were willing to pay a higher premium to obtain one.
A study of gang members and gun traffickers in Boston found that a Glock costing $550 at the gun store will bring $800 to $1,000 on the street. This underground market will continue to flourish as stolen gun numbers increase.
As always, if you have any more firearm-related questions, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
If you’re ever the victim of gun theft, we want you protected, which is exactly why we created Gunowner Identity Theft Coverage, so you can have the peace of mind knowing that you’ll have an Independent Program Attorney ready to help you prepare to deal with the authorities when reporting your gun lost or stolen. Simply click here to add this vital coverage to your U.S. LawShield membership today.
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