More than 600 guns have been stolen so far in 2019 in Nashville, according to the Metro Nashville Police. This data reflects a gun theft crisis across Tennessee that has grown worse in recent years. In February, Memphis police reported that firearms thefts from cars in the city have increased by 256 percent since 2013.
This problem isn’t isolated in cities; in the two-year period between 2016 and 2017, there was an 85 percent increase in guns stolen from cars and trucks statewide.
Law enforcement officials have credited the spike in gun theft from cars — and the corresponding spike in crime — to laws passed in 2013 and 2014 making it legal for gun owners to keep loaded handguns and rifles in their cars without a permit. In Chattanooga, the number of guns stolen from cars has climbed 262 percent from 2016 to 2018, prompting its police department to request that citizens voluntarily install custom concealed compartments for their firearms.
As lawmakers head back to the Statehouse in January, they should support legislation requiring gun owners to secure firearms stored in cars. If you’d like to interview a volunteer with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action to discuss this issue, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Additional commentary on legal responsibility for stolen guns, including firearm thefts from cars, is available here.