ATF warns buyers of stolen guns on the market

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating an increase in gun store burglaries where thieves are stealing firearms.

At least five gun stores were targeted in the Middle Tennessee area this month, and the ATF reports another five so far in 2017.

“When those firearms goes into the commerce, it creates an issue for public safety and it creates an issue for first responders who may come across these individuals,” Special Agent Michael Knight said.

He continued, “ATF is working with all of our law enforcement partners in terms of recovering these firearms  but law enforcement as a whole needs the community support.”

In one burglary, thieves got away with around 45 firearms at the Tactical Edge on Fort Campbell Boulevard June 9.

The ATF is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the men responsible for the thefts.

Knight said nationwide there is an increase in gun store burglaries and robberies.

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“What we are seeing is an increase in the theft of firearms and more importantly there is an increase in the number of firearms per theft,” he said. “The criminal element has become a little more brazen. We have seen them go into gun shops during business hours and commit these crimes.”

The ATF is also working to raise the public awareness about purchasing firearms from people who are not federal firearms licensees.

“Now that we have numerous firearms in the illegal commerce we want to make the public is aware that they may be purchasing a stolen firearm,” he said. “We want to become active with the community and have conversations with community organizations.”

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You can also provide information about firearm thefts through the ATF’s Report It app. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME with information. .

“We know that the public has information about these gun thefts and we want them to feel comfortable to talking to law enforcement,” Knight said.

Knight said the ATF has been able to solve some firearm theft cases using information submitted through the Report IT App.