The Number One Way Guns Are Stolen in America


The rate of guns stolen from cars in the U.S. has tripled over the last decade, making them the largest source of stolen guns in the country, an analysis of FBI data by the gun safety group Everytown found.

The rate of stolen guns from cars climbed nearly every year and spiked during the coronavirus pandemic along with a major surge in weapons purchases in the U.S., according to the report, which analyzes FBI data from 337 cities in 44 states and was provided to The Associated Press.

The stolen weapons have, in some cases, turned up at crime scenes. In July 2021, a gun taken from an unlocked car in Riverside, Florida, was used to kill a 27-year-old Coast Guard member as she tried to stop a car burglary in her neighborhood.

The alarming trend underscores the need for Americans to safely secure their firearms to prevent them from getting into the hands of dangerous people, said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director Steve Dettelbach, whose agency has separately found links between stolen guns and violent crimes.

“People don’t go to a mall and steal a firearm from a locked car to go hunting. Those guns are going straight to the street,” said Dettelbach, whose agency was not involved in the report. “They’re going to violent people who can’t pass a background check. They’re going to gangs. They’re going to drug dealers, and they’re going to hurt and kill the people who live in the next town, the next county or the next state.”

Nearly 122,000 guns were reported stolen in 2022, and just over half of those were from cars — most often when they were parked in driveways or outside people’s homes, the Everytown report found. That’s up from about one-quarter of all thefts in 2013, when homes were the leading spot for firearm thefts, the report says.

Stolen guns have also been linked to tragic accidents, such as when a 14-year-old boy in St. Petersburg, Florida, killed his 11-year-old brother after finding in an alley a gun that had been stolen from an unlocked car a few days before.

Recent Comments