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Tom is a devoted husband and father concerned about the safety of his family. He has a carry license and goes to the range to train with his firearms regularly. He is prepared to protect his loved ones should the need arise. But Tom was not prepared for something that happens to gun owners across the country time and time again: he became the victim of a crime that is growing at an alarming rate – gun theft.

Tom left his handgun in his vehicle while he and his family ran errands in a grocery center that prohibited firearms. Upon returning to his vehicle, Tom found the broken glass beside his car and his belongings gone – including his gun.  He joined the hundreds of thousands of others whose firearms are stolen each year.

The Stats

According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database (“NCIC”), more than 238,000 guns were reported stolen in 2016. This is likely a significant undercount, since many do not report their stolen firearms to law enforcement.

The FBI put the value of reported stolen firearms in 2015 at over $164 million. However, not all thefts are reported or included, because many gun owners do not know the serial number of their firearms, which is a requirement to input weapons into the NCIC.

It is estimated that the actual number of firearm thefts exceeds 380,000 guns a year. These stolen weapons flow into underground markets and into the hands of criminals.

A Career Criminal

For example, take the story of Julius Callicutt, a 30-year-old career criminal who stole an estimated 300 guns before he was finally caught. He traded or resold the guns on the streets as part of a larger criminal enterprise.

Callicutt considered himself an underground gun wholesaler, selling handguns to gang members for $150 and up. Those gang members would then resell the guns, often for double that price, arming felons, minors, and others who couldn’t legally possess firearms—they were willing to pay a higher premium to obtain one.

This underground market will continue to flourish as stolen gun numbers increase.

As always, if you have any more firearm-related questions, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

If you’re ever the victim of gun theft, we want you protected, which is exactly why we created Gunowner Identity Theft Coverage, so you can have the peace of mind knowing that you’ll have an Independent Program Attorney ready to help you deal with the authorities when reporting your gun lost or stolen. Simply click here to add this vital coverage to your U.S. LawShield membership today.