Who Steals Guns? Violent Criminals. Duh.

This is not news to anybody, except, it turns out, the news media. This year the New Orleans Times-Picayune discovered that, to their shock and horror, criminals steal guns. 

No $#!+, Sherlock. Criminals steal stuff. It’s what they do. 

But it seems to have really blown the NOLA reporters away that such a things happen. It seems to have twaumatized their ban-the-guns-end-crime simplistic, childish worldview. They are shocked that criminals in the Crescent City have made off with 2,100 plus guns, the theft of which was reported to the NOPD, between 2012 and 2015.

Graphic © 2016 New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Graphic © 2016 New Orleans Times-Picayune.

No reporter writes a story to inform his readers any more; it’s always a crusade to Change the World. The paper’s agenda in this case is to help their party’s politicians push a proposed mandatory-reporting law. But in support of that push, they gathered some interesting interviews and statistics.

Here are the Times-Picayune stories:

‘I put guns out on the street’: Gun theft victims speak outThe paper notes that some owners are careless, leaving guns in unlocked homes or in cars. But others get ripped off despite using safes. Best you can do is have a list of your serial numbers — and not just in your laptop that the same thieves will bug out with.

5 tips to prevent your guns from being stolen. These are pretty much standard, and won’t stop a determined thief. Still, not all thieves are determined, and not all gun owners take these precautions.

Video: Stolen Weapons Fuel Street Violence. (It doesn’t seem to occur to them that violent criminals either seek to steal weapons, or seek to buy them from thieves).

3 stolen guns, 3 New Orleans violent crime scenes: How stolen guns fuel crime. Three case studies of guns used in robberies and murders (twice, wrested away from the criminals, and once, used to shoot the bastard stone cold graveyard dead. Woot).

An interactive-map sidebar to that article shows that 10 NOLA stolen guns didn’t leave town, but were used by local robbers and murderers. Another interactive tells us that:

  1. Stolen guns are used in crime (they keep harping on this, but it’s not an Einstein level insight).
  2. 3 guns a day are stolen in the NOLA metro area of the city and adjacent Jefferson Parish.
  3. The thousands of guns stolen in the metro area are used in shootings that kill innocents (they cite an example where 17 and 19 year old gangbangers missed each other but nailed an uninvolved 15-year-old girl inside a nearby home.
  4. In 2015, NOLAs theft total of 582 breaks down as
    1. 203 vehicle break-in
    2. 149 theft or auto theft (not burglary)
    3. 106 residential burglary
    4. 64 all others (lost, armed robberies, etc).
  5. The reporters interviewed some gun-theft victims. Of 44 guns these 11 victims lost to theft in 2015-16, only 2 have been recovered. The other 42 presumably still circulate in criminal channels.
  6. Almost half the time, the owners had no record of their stolen firearms’ serial numbers.
  7. Most NOLA murders are shootings (149 of 164 in 2015, 91%). To this we’d add, that’s pretty normal for North American major cities.
  8. ATF estimates that 60+% of gun thefts are never reported. (What percentage of those is various criminal underclass members stealing from one another is not clear). The latest number the ATF has (based on actual theft reports) is 190k, but they think 500k is more reasonable, to account for those theft victims who do not report guns stolen.

Lessons Learned

If there’s one lesson in the whole thing it’s don’t leave your gun in the jeezly car. If there’s two lessons, the second one is take a picture of the GD serial number and store it in the cloud. You might even get your gun back, after the cops pry it out of some worthless gangbanger’s cold dead hands.

Expanding Beyond NOLA

The ATF has released a study on calendar 2015’s gun thefts. The data are a little more solid, and the writing not nearly as breathless as the Times-Picayune’s, but it’s not constrained to any one city, either.

Because, naturally, New Orleans’ criminal element is not the only one awash in stolen guns these days. In Phoenix, an open-carrier found his gun grabbed by a lightfingered crook, and then used to discourage him from pursuing. Open carry is tactically inferior to concealed carry, folks. Even when you’re not getting your guns stolen and used aginst you. And open carry in a non-retention holster? Sheesh. Watch the video at that link. Don’t be that guy.

In Cleveland, gun show thefts led cops to a thief who was also a suspect in violent crimes. (Well, duh. What sort of person would steal guns, except a violent criminal?)

In Philadelphia, Officer Josh Hartnett was shot by a convert named Abdul Shaheed, whom the Philadelphia press continues to call by the non-jihadi name he had rejected, Edward Archer, perhaps to distract people away from questions about motive. Shaheed attacked Hartnett with a stolen gun. The gun was a Glock from Hartnett’s own department. It was one of a couple dozen department firearms that are missing at any given time.

8 thoughts on “Who Steals Guns? Violent Criminals. Duh.

  1. Tom Stone

    And career criminals caught with a stolen gun almost always plea down to a lesser charge, because that’s how the system works.
    It’s a jobs program.

    1. Hognose Post author

      It’s almost as if they get professional courtesy, as fellow full-time members of the criminal justice profession.

  2. Ken

    I hate doing it but sometimes leaving a gun in the car is the least bad option.

    1. Boat Guy

      Yup. Sometimes the choices are between “bad and worse” (as Victor Davis Hanson characterizes decision choice in war). Leave my piece in the car when I enter the VDZ or leave it at home for the entire commute/day.
      Course you’ve nailed it when you note that the media have long since abandoned informing us to “Shaping the world” via the Narrative.

    2. Cap'n Mike

      I have a small safe that’s cable locked to the seat frame for the odd time I have to leave my weapon in the car.

      Another option is to remove the barrel from a semi auto and take it with you. At least then you haven’t given the thieving bastards a functional firearm. Sure they can buy another barrel, but how many of these rocket scientists are that resourceful?

  3. ToastieTheCoastie

    There’s a scene in the first Bourne movie where he says that he “knows which car to break into in the parking lot if he needs a gun.” That’s not too impressive in America, since a lot of gun owners advertise that there might be guns in the vehicle with stickers for firearms brands or the stupid “this truck protected by S&W.” Just something I wonder about. Why ever give the thieves even a hint that something interesting might be in your vehicle?

  4. archy

    ***Open carry is tactically inferior to concealed carry, folks. Even when you’re not getting your guns stolen and used aginst you. And open carry in a non-retention holster? ***

    Not necessarily, though I often prefer concealed carry simply as better weather/dust protection for my sidewinder. But very, very often when I’m open carrying, it’s not the only one I’m carrying.

  5. John M.

    “…perhaps to distract people away from questions about motive.”

    The Glock made him do it. I mean, duh. Am I missing something here?

    Also, IMHO, open carrying can be very tactically sound if you want to communicate to someone that you are a hard target without drawing or moving to a retention position, both of which may be needlessly aggressive. Areas with lots of space and few people come to mind as places where OC can come in handy.

    -John M.

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