In the past decade, at least 82,000 guns have been reported stolen or lost in the state of Florida. And a recent investigation from the Tampa Bay Times and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting found that few are ever recovered.
Times reporter Laura Morel says while gun store break-ins are a well-known target, the other main way these legally obtained firearms are getting into the hands of criminals is more surprising: unlocked cars.
“This is one thing that is definitely a source of frustration for law enforcement. Every single police official I spoke with said the most common way people are getting hold of these stolen guns is through unlocked cars,” she said.
In Jacksonville, for example, there were 1,046 guns that were taken from unsecured cars in two years.
“There are people who leave their guns in cars. They take them with them obviously for protection, but at the end of the day when they get home, and they are pulling into work, they forget to lock their car,” she said. “And that presents a really easy way for people, for criminals to get a hold of those weapons.”