Op Ed

Tougher Laws Needed on Gun Stores

In one year alone, there were 377 burglaries of gun stores nationally.

By - Apr 12th, 2017 11:05 am


News reports over the past several days in Wisconsin have started with updates on a most unsettling story regarding a manhunt for an “extremely dangerous” would-be terrorist. It has made all of us more aware of our surroundings, and more mindful of what is taking place in our neighborhoods. After all it is not, thankfully. an everyday occurrence to hear that Wisconsin authorities are working with the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Secret Service to search for someone.

The news about Joseph Jakubowski started last week when he reportedly broke into the Armageddon Supplies gun shop in Janesville and stole about 16 high-end firearms. Early news reports stated this was not the first burglary of this gun store. The ease with which anyone with a disturbed mind or deadly intentions can make entrance to such stores and steal deadly armaments is very concerning.

Make no mistake about the danger to society from such easy access to guns via this route.  In the case of this Janesville store they simply served as an armory for the mentally troubled Jakubowski.

According to the ATF, in 2012, there were 377 burglaries of licensed gun stores nationwide. (My first thought was how in the world do these gun stores get or keep their insurance?) In 2016, that figure rose to 558 – a 48% increase. In 2012, there were 12 robberies of licensed gun stores nationwide. In 2016, that figure rose to 33 – a staggering 175% increase. For the average citizen those numbers are simply unacceptable.

All combined, 7,858 firearms were stolen from licensed gun dealers in 2016, that amounts to a 76% over 2012. We know that happens to those weapons in too many cases. They are sold—without a background check for fast cash–which when contributes to increased crime and violence.

In the case of Jakubowsaki the real concern, given his crazed manifesto mailed to the White House, is the use of those weapons in some deadly rampage. Which brings us back to the Janesville gun store where he easily stole the weapons.

The U.S. government does not require the nearly 65,000 nationwide licensed gun shops to meet any particular security measures. But be mindful, there is a tag on my new sofa pillow alerting me to not eat the contents. Meanwhile gun stores selling deadly arsenals of weapons have too few mandates for public safety.

Wisconsin needs to implement stricter standards for such stores. The reason why is most obvious. As are the ways to bring some order to this chaos.

At the present time ATF does recommend that all commercial dealers install an alarm system, high-definition security cameras with audio, place bars on all windows, plus sturdy doors with multiple locks at each entrance.

But that is not enough. Advising such common-sense actions is far different from demanding under law the stores act responsibly. So let us be clear as to what should be required.

Simply put, all gun stores need to place all firearms in a safe or vault during after hours to prevent theft. I also have long felt that these stores would be best served with burglar alarms connected directly to the local police department. These ideas would in no way impede on those who seek to buy and own guns but would make those who sell weapons more responsible members of society. If stores do not abide we then need to hold gun store owners accountable for shoddy security practices.

As we watch the events unfold–and things are certain to change in regards to the movement and hopefully the capture of Jakubowski–let us keep in mind how different this story would be if not for the ease of stealing a deadly arsenal from a local gun store. 

And then after pondering that for the 30 seconds it takes to connect the dots pick up the phone and demand changes from your state representative.

Gregory Humphrey writes for the Caffeinated Politics blog

24 thoughts on “Op Ed: Tougher Laws Needed on Gun Stores”

  1. AG says:

    Right, because these stores actually like being robbed.

  2. Tim says:

    Just because negligence leads to a predictable result, doesn’t mean that someone wanted it to happen. They just didn’t care enough to prevent it. The problem is that those guns are now out there killing people.

    Bar insurance companies from covering the loss of merchandise at a gun store, I bet they’ll take more precautions.

  3. Ted Chisholm says:

    If they don’t like being robbed, they should improve their security. The author’s suggestions are pretty reasonable in light of the alarming situation in Janesville.

  4. Vincent Hanna says:

    And in light of how many guns are stolen from gun stores every year, and how many guns go missing from gun stores every year. 7,500 guns were stolen from gun stores in 2016, and in 2011 the ATF reported that 62,000 guns were missing from gun store inventories.

  5. AG says:

    Creating laws that punish victims is an absolutely horrible idea. Not only do these stores already get financially burdened by the robbery (insurance or not), but this is like creating a law that punishes drivers who’s cars are stolen if their car is/could be used in another crime.

  6. Vincent Hanna says:

    That analogy is total nonsense.

    “Wisconsin is one of 41 states that do not require gun stores to secure their inventory with gun safes or locks; surveillance systems or alarms; bars on the windows; or barriers to prevent cars smashing through the front door.”

    The ATF’s recommendations exist for a reason, and these stores aren’t victims like someone whose car is stolen from them.


  7. Daddy2Girls says:

    “…this is like creating a law that punishes drivers who’s (sic) cars are stolen if their car is/could be used in another crime.”

    No, it isn’t. It’s a (fairly obvious) safety regulation. Lots of businesses have to operate under a variety of regulations. You may be a “dadgum gummint off my back” type, but characterizing it as a punishment to crime victims is more than a stretch. I prefer to think of it as protecting gun shop owners from their own negligence.

  8. Tim says:

    AG, it’s a crime to leave your car unattended when it’s running in winter, how is this different?

  9. Bob says:

    So as of June 16, 2016 there were 64,737 licensed gun shops in the US. So the easily panicked liberals see that 548 of these shops were burglarized in 2016. Doing the math, 0.008% of these 64,737 gun shops in the United States were burglarized in 2016!!! Oh my goodness this is an alarming number of gun stores burglarized the world is ending. Maybe the author of this nonsense article has been eating the contents of his sofa? After all the author is not a psychiatrist and has also not examined Jakubowski but he was able to determine that Jakubowski is mentally troubled. Maybe readers think the same of you after reading your articles???

    Then Tim makes this ridiculous comment:

    Just because negligence leads to a predictable result, doesn’t mean that someone wanted it to happen. They just didn’t care enough to prevent it. The problem is that those guns are now out there killing people.

    Really Tim the guns are killing people. I hate it when those guns just walk down the street and kill people for no reason at all. That is a typical idiotic lib statement.

    Then Tim says:

    Bar insurance companies from covering the loss of merchandise at a gun store, I bet they’ll take more precautions.

    And Tim if your house burns down maybe we should bar your homeowners insurance from covering your losses because you had candles in your home??

  10. AG says:

    I think if we did more to keep criminals off the street there would be far bigger impact for punishing gun store owners (who probably mostly already have solid security.

    Lets look at the numbers… this article references the spike of 7,858 firearms stolen from licensed gun dealers in 2016. Compare that to the 300,000-600,000 total guns stolen each year. How many of those were stolen in WI? If WI made a law, what small fraction of gun store stolen firearms are we really talking about?

    Is this really just a way to put additional cost burdens on gun stores to drive them out of business?

  11. Daddy2Girls says:

    “Is this really just a way to put additional cost burdens on gun stores to drive them out of business?”

    In other news, Reynolds Wrap is reporting a sharp increase in business since instituting its millinery division.

  12. Daddy2Girls says:

    Bob, you’ve really worked yourself up into quite the lather, haven’t you? Easy on the excited punctuation there, friend.

    548 is no small number of burglaries. Those store owners not taking proper precautions with dangerous items put everyone in their vicinity at significant risk.

  13. AG says:

    Tim, your example is quite similar indeed. Why don’t we outlaw “suggestive” clothing for women as well… that way they’re less likely to be sexually assaulted. We need to do it to make up for their own negligence.

  14. Vincent Hanna says:

    Many don’t have solid security AG. It’s a problem. Hence the ATF contacting them and asking them to do more.

    “The surge in thefts led the ATF to begin calling dealers when burglaries occurred in their areas and warning them to take precautions. Andrew Graham, the deputy assistant director who oversees the ATF’s regulatory enforcement, said the bureau had conducted “numerous” calls since the program launched Feb. 6 and was following up with dealers to see whether they adopted the bureau’s security recommendations. The ATF also hands out pamphlets and speaks to dealer gatherings about trends in thefts.”

  15. Tim says:

    The gun stores aren’t just taking on risk for themselves. When they fail to secure their armaments, it creates risk for my family, kids at school, someone shopping at a store, or police officers on patrol.

    This isn’t a candy store, these now stolen guns are in the hands of people in order to threaten, maim, or murder.

    If my recklessness caused a forest fire, why wouldn’t I be held accountable? I don’t expect any less accountability on a gun store owner, that is negligent in keeping these guns safely stored. Do you have a better way to ensure that happens?

    I’m all ears.

  16. AG says:

    Tim, I’m sure if you started a forest fire we wouldn’t enact laws forcing the store that sold you matches to install bars on the windows and pay for 24/7 monitoring.

    Why don’t we look at Pharmacies who lack security. Literally thousands of pharmacies get robbed or burglarized each year and I guarantee that every pill stolen ends up harming someone. Should we require every pharmacy to install bars on their windows?

  17. Bob says:

    Hey Vincent,

    How many guns has the ATF put into the hands of drug cartel members and other criminals with their half-arsed Operation Fast and Furious or the botched undercover operations? Yeah I would follow their directives.

  18. Daddy2Girls says:

    And the bad analogies just keep piling up…

  19. Tom D says:

    Bob (post 9):

    You claim that if there are 64,737 gun shops and 548 of them were burglarized, then only 0.008% were burglarized.

    Your math is way, WAY off.

    The actual number is nearly 1% (0.847% to be more precise).

    For comparison, about 2% of cars are stolen in the City of Milwaukee each year.

    Do you still feel that gun shop burglaries are nothing to worry about?

  20. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Why were the burglars that committed the crime allowed to walk? if they were in jail, where they belong, no burglaries.

  21. Tim says:

    So, we have AG defending the status quo… “more burglaries, what me worry?”. Then we have WCD with logic of “if the criminals are in jail, there won’t be crime!” Thanks for that WCD, but how can you punish someone unless they’ve already committed the crime.

    This is why the government is so dysfunctional, you elect GOP idiots that are more interested in squabbling than solving problems.

  22. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Will bet anyone thousand dollars that those that did burglaries, have long sting of felonies.

  23. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Bet anyone thousand dollars that all those that committed the burglaries had long list of felonies. They only catch 30% or so of burglars and they they let 90% go.

  24. Daddy2Girls says:

    Nice try, WCD. Everyone knows you don’t even have 10 dollars.

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