Researchers: Guns stolen from cars skyrockets at alarming rate

The number of guns stolen from cars is increasing at an alarming rate, according to researchers at Everytown for Gun Safety

Over the last 10 years, the number of guns stolen from cars has tripled. Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that argues in favor of more gun control, released the report, saying that a decade ago, a quarter of gun thefts were from cars. 

In 2022, that number was over half, even though the rate of thefts from vehicles has gone down by 11%. 

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A stolen gun was even used in the deadly Ybor City shooting that sent Halloween weekend crowds into chaos. One of the victims, 20-year-old Harrison Boonstoppel, was shot and killed by a 14-year-old firing a gun reported stolen out of Polk County. 

"I know the people who have the guns, oftentimes they don't want this to happen, but it's living in like your own bubble that it's not going to be you," said Ava Boonstoppel, Harrison's sister.

Everytown for Gun Safety insists that permitless carry laws, like the one Florida passed in 2023, are having an impact on these statistics.

"During the pandemic, a lot the gun sales really spiked," said Sarah Burd-Sharps, a researcher at Everytown. "And so we know that there are more guns out there. But the second thing is that lawmakers are making it easier for people to bring their gun out of their home and into their car."

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Everytown said states with the most pro-gun policies have theft rates nearly 18 times higher, or 81.3 thefts per hundred thousand people, compared to 4.6. But gauging the size of the problem in Florida is tricky. 

Only a third of states require reporting of lost and stolen guns, and Florida isn't one of them. The City of Tampa, for example, got 197 reports of a stolen gun in 2023 with 79% from unlocked cars. 

Everytown said there were 21 thefts per 100,000 people in 2013, compared to 63 per 100,000 in 2022. While the rate of thefts from vehicles overall is down 11%, thefts of guns are up 200%.


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