Firearms are being stolen right out of the walls of gun dealers at an alarming rate both nationally and at the state level. In Colorado, gun thefts are higher than they have ever been in a decade, which has raised concerns among law enforcement that the weapons will be used for criminal activity.
Between 2015 and 2016, thefts of firearms have doubled. 273 firearms were unlawfully removed from licensed dealers just last year. In 2015, 121 guns were stolen. 2014 saw just 56 gun thefts. Law enforcement officials are cooperating with dealers throughout Colorado to cut down on these occurrences.
An agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is certain these guns are destined for future violent crimes rather than for sport. Thefts usually occur after store hours and after dark. Thieves “smash and grab” by ramming into storefronts using stolen cars, and running in and grabbing as many guns as they can take. A secondary vehicle picks them up. Most of the time, the guns stolen are handguns.
Burglaries such as these are spiking throughout the country. In 2016, nearly 8,000 guns were stolen from federally licensed dealers in the U.S., the highest number on record. In Colorado, law enforcement agencies are teaming up with dealers to curb these occurrences through heightened security measures and increased awareness.
To help gun dealers, they can now receive automated phone calls alerting them of thefts/ attempted thefts in the region. Seminars on preventive measures are also available. Metal gates, deadbolted steel doors and glass storefronts that trigger alarms when broken are helpful in warding off criminals. The more security measures taken, the longer it would theoretically take the thieves to collect their loot. Many would rather leave empty handed than get caught.
The majority of gun thieves are local; most stolen guns stay in Colorado. Stolen handguns are often peddled on the black market to other criminals who would be barred from purchasing and possessing a firearm by law; they may also be traded for controlled substances. Outside of an authorized dealer, a handgun can sell for up to $400.
Weapons charges are severe felony crimes in Golden, Colorado. If you have been charged with a felony weapons crime such as firearm theft, illegal possession of firearms, or firearm trafficking/ straw purchases, you face extremely severe penalties if convicted. A strong defense attorney like Miller Leonard has an extensive history of defending gun crimes, having practiced law as a former State Prosecuting Attorney, a State Public Defender, and a Special Assistant United States Attorney. Call (720) 613-8783 for a confidential (and free!) legal consultation