ATF concerned by rash of gun shop burglaries

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A rash of area gun shop burglaries has the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) concerned and store owners on edge.

There have been five gun shop burglaries in recent months.

ATF agents told News 2 there has been a spike in frequency. There’s also been an increase in the number of guns stolen in each incident.

On October 30, 2016, thieves smashed though the security bars of Everything Weapons in Brentwood. In less than a minute, the gun bandits the bandits got out carrying high-powered weapons.

“We know they have been here before because they knew exactly what cases to go to,” the store owner said.

Now more than six months later, the case is still unsolved.

MORE: Police investigate smash-and-grab burglary at Mt. Juliet gun shop

Since last fall, there have been multiple unsolved gun shop burglaries across the Mid-State.

“Some of the aspects of these criminal acts could be gang initiations, or perhaps it’s financial because on the open market these firearms can gain quite a bit of money in the criminal underworld, but the focus is the safety of the community,” Michael Knight with the ATF said.

Knight said the stolen guns could wind up in the hands of criminals anywhere in the United States.

“We have seen the spike of thefts of firearms, but also the number of firearms per theft has increased and there is more propensity for violence,” Knight said. “We’ve had windows shot out and cars rammed into front doors and incidents where thefts take place during business hours where patrons and employees are on site. That is more of a concern.”

Kennan Sanders, owner of Nashville Armory, said gun thieves broke into his store a few years ago. The bandits took a couple of weapons, but were quickly caught.

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“It is our responsibility to make sure these things are secured and in the right hands and used responsibly,” he said.

Sanders also said what’s been happening to his fellow gun owners lately is cause for concern.

“They are breaking in and stealing guns and not doing good things with them I’m sure,” he said. “It is possible they try to use them for local crimes. It’s possible they try and sell them local and flip them and make money on it. Just button up, keep your doors locked and follow basic security protocols to protect your business.”

The ATF says it has no reason to believe the recent gun shop burglaries are connected at this time.

The agency also recommends you should buy your firearm from a licensed dealer rather than a third party or the internet where you could actually be buying a stolen weapon.