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Gun Control Advocates Focusing On Massive Thefts


Florida gun control advocates say a new report on gun theft by the Center for American Progress underscores the need for stricter laws.  The left-leaning group estimates 80,000 guns were stolen from individual owners in Florida between 2012 and 2013.

The report is based on FBI statistics that show 1.2 million guns worth 500 million dollars were stolen from individuals nationwide during the same years.

Author Chelsea Parsons says theft is more common in the South, where gun ownership is more common and gun laws are more lax. Parsons calls the figures alarming. 

“It really does threaten public safety to have this level of firearms stolen, particularly in a state like Florida that does have particularly high numbers of guns that are stolen.”

Unlike nine other states and the District of Columbia, Florida doesn’t force gun owners to report lost or stolen guns, Parsons says.

Patti Brigham, co-chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, sees the report as just one more reason to continue her uphill battle for stricter gun laws, like an assault weapons ban.

“Human lives are at stake. And often times, when guns are stolen, they fall into criminal hands. So people that are stealing these weapons are up to no good.”

But Parsons says gun theft is such a big threat to public safety, even the most liberal and conservative lawmakers should be able to find common ground.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.