Hundreds of legally owned guns are being stolen and used in shootings

Hundreds of legally owned guns are being stolen and used in shootings

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – The property room of the Cincinnati Police Department is full of handguns and long guns.

Sometimes, people simply do not want them anymore, but often, they are stolen guns that police take from criminals. CPD takes roughly 1,500 guns a year off the streets from criminal investigations.

Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate said, “I probably return 200-250 of those guns per year back to the rightful owners because they were stolen and then illegally possessed, used in a crime.“

The problem is people who owned them legally leave them in cars and then a criminal breaks in and steals them. Simply locking them in the glove box is not enough because a criminal can force it open relatively easily. Sometimes they are stolen in burglaries as well. The paperwork and time processing takes away from time officers could be spending on other safety issues.

“I’m trying to bring awareness to the fact that we are very concerned about gun violence. A lot of attention to the past five or six weeks where we’ve had an astronomical number of shooting deaths,” Neudigate said.

Some of the guns that end up in the hands of criminals are through “straw purchases.” That means someone legally buys them for another person who cannot legally own a gun, like a felon. Neudigate says most of the guns end up in criminal hands because the legal owners are simply being negligent.

He said, “Please secure your firearms because we are all concerned about the level of violence in the city of Cincinnati. The recent number of homicides — a lot of those guns were legally owned guns that were stolen.”

The assistant police chief also says that he has seen the same gun stolen from the same owner more than once and then the owner will submit a request to the police department to have it returned. Neudigate says it is particularly frustrating to get a repeat request from the same owner.

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