You’re just popping in to the grocery store for one little thing, surely it’ll be fine to leave your bang bang toy in the glove box and walk away without locking it. Nobody would think to check there. It’ll probably definitely still be there when you get back. No criminal mastermind would ever take your gun, a gun without a paper trail bound to them, for nefarious purposes. That could never happen to you.
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You might think that, but that doesn’t make it true. Guns stolen from cars now make up the largest portion of stolen guns in America, according to a New York Times report. Thieves will sweep neighborhoods, parking lots, and garages for vehicles with telltale signs of gun ownership. If you’re driving a lifted truck with a 2A, NRA, or thin blue line decal, you’re probably a target.
Over 40,000 guns were stolen from cars in 2020, and that trend doesn’t seem to be stopping. Thieves are coming for your guns and your catalytic converters, and one of these things is extremely easy to protect against.
A new report from the Nashville metro area indicates that a rash of gun thefts have resulted in nearly 1,000 guns stolen in just that region so far this year. The good news is that this is slightly down from the same period last year (953 in 2023 vs 1087 in record high 2022), but with an average of 100 guns going missing from cars per month, there’s no telling where they end up. Around 8o percent of stolen guns have been taken from vehicles.
Metro Nashville police are urging folks to lock their cars. It may seem like a no-brainer move, but it seems thieves are just walking up to cars and opening them up. Obviously stealing a gun is, itself, a crime. The intent, one supposes, is to use this untraceable stolen gun to commit further crime, armed ones, potentially violent ones. That’s an outcome that is decidedly not great.
Nashville isn’t alone in this trend either. Atlanta, Georgia police have reported some 1,200 guns stolen from cars, likewise St. Louis County, Missouri and in Cleveland, Ohio thieves are taking guns from cars parked at Hopkins airport.
Look, this isn’t a fight over whether people in this country should be legally allowed to own guns. There are elections and lobbying groups and disinformation campaigns dedicated to ensuring that debate rages on from now until eternity. One thing we can—hopefully—agree on is that everyone who owns a gun needs to be fucking responsible with it, and for it. If your stolen gun is used to commit a crime, you should consider yourself morally responsible for that crime. Especially if it’s because you left the damn thing in an unlocked car.