TALLAHASSEE, Fla. April 21 2017 In 2016, gun store burglaries and gun thefts were in the news daily and local and federal law enforcement including the ATF quickly realized that they were dealing with something bigger than just a few local break-ins.
In fact, last year more than 500 local gun shops and big name Sporting Goods stores including Bass Pro, Dick’s and Gander Mountain were all burglarized, their gun cases smashed and their gun inventories seriously attacked by thieves who hit these stores relentlessly.
Between 2013 and 2015, gun thefts were up by 28% federal authorities with more than 12,000 weapons were stolen including handguns, shotguns and assault rifles.
The Charlotte, North Carolina, region has been among the hardest hit for the past several years and the ATF reported that there were no known specific reasons for it.
The Atlanta, Georgia, area is the second-worst region for gun store burglaries, according to ATF.
While Florida did not make the top three states for gun thefts, it has been a problem there too as it has been in numerous other states.
Now, the Florida Legislature is moving on a proposed law that might allow police to respond faster to activated burglar alarms at gun stores and thus have a better chance of catching the gun thieves’ in the act.
Currently, alarm monitoring companies call store owners before calling police when an alarm is activated but the new law would have the central stations call police first instead.
The House unanimously passed the bill Thursday.
Republican Rep. Jennifer Sullivan said she sponsored the bill after a gun store in her district was burglarized and it took seven minutes for the alarm company to contact police.
Alarm companies contact property owners first to ensure an alert isn't a false alarm. They then call police if property owners can't be reached or if they confirm it wasn't a false alarm.
The bill would also apply to gun manufacturers and importers.
A similar Senate bill has one more committee stop before it can be heard by the full chamber.