2A advocate says ‘gun-free zones’ increase firearm thefts from cars

Gun-free zone restrictions force people to leave their firearms in cars, where they are being stolen. (Dave Workman)
Gun-free zone restrictions force people to leave their firearms in cars, where they are being stolen. (Dave Workman)

One of the nation’s leading gun rights advocates said Tuesday that he knows one reason why firearms thefts from cars are reportedly increasing, and he pointed a finger at a gun control effort that is making such thefts easier.

When The Trace said gun thefts from cars have soared in some cities, the Second Amendment Foundation pointed the finger of blame at the creation of so-called “gun-free zones” as partly responsible. The Trace is a pro-gun control publication that received funding from anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.

But when it comes to genuine gun safety, the so-called “gun-free zone” could be an unintended disaster, according to Alan M. Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation.

“Whether it’s a school, city hall or other municipal building, city park, baseball or football stadium, post office or a private business such as a restaurant, shopping mall, theater or big box store that has been encouraged to prohibit firearms on the premises,” Gottlieb observed in a prepared statement, “the result is the same. Honest citizens are being forced to leave their legal firearms locked in cars, trucks or SUVs and thieves have figured this out.”
The subhead of The Trace story claimed that, “As thefts of guns from cars surge, policed urge residents to leave their weapons home.”

However, that is not exactly what the story says. Several law enforcement professionals are quoted explaining that cars are not gun safes, and that firearms should not be stored in vehicles.

But when citizens who are licensed to carry, or legally carry in states with “constitutional carry” statutes, are faced with shopping at a mall or store where firearms are prohibited, or doing business in a public building that bans guns, what are they supposed to do? Former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, who subsequently served in the Obama administration, lost a personally-owned Glock 9mm pistol from his department-owned vehicle several years ago. He left the gun in his car while doing some post-Christmas shopping with his wife. That gun has never been recovered.

“American gun owners are being systematically discriminated against for simply exercising their constitutionally-protected right to bear arms,” Gottlieb said. “Ultimately, honest citizens are being victimized by such restrictions because not only are they vulnerable to criminal attack because of these unilateral disarmament laws, they stand an increasing chance of having their property stolen. The bottom line is that whether you own a gun or not, these laws make us all less safe.”

In Seattle, for example, former Mayor Mike McGinn, a liberal anti-gunner, launched an effort with Washington Ceasefire that encouraged businesses in the city to post their premises off-limits to firearms. The publicly-owned football and baseball stadiums in the city, along with a convention center attached to one of the facilities, are also off-limits due to a requirement in the contracts with private groups that operate the stadiums.

Thieves know this, as they do in other cities around the country where people are prohibited from carrying their legally-licensed sidearms into buildings or facilities.

Gottlieb said in a prepared statement that “nobody wants to talk about this.” The reason for that, he intimated, is because it would be tantamount to acknowledging that the anti-gun policies of public officials and private business owners might be directly responsible, or at least strongly related, to the increase in gun thefts. Anti-gunners are literally making it possible for criminals to get their hands on guns illegally.

The Trace listed ten cities where gun thefts from parked vehicles have risen dramatically. They are Tampa, Seattle, Colorado Springs, St. Petersburg, Wichita, Charlotte, Atlanta, Lubbock, Austin and Jacksonville, in that order. Lubbock’s police department actually put a message about gun safety and cars on its Facebook page.

“In some states where discretionary laws allow bureaucrats to deny carry licenses or permits to honest citizens,” Gottlieb suggested, “people who want to travel with firearms are doubly penalized because they must also leave those guns in cars, where they could fall into the wrong hands.”

Instead of showing the public how foolish it is to carry firearms while traveling, Gottlieb contended the story “unintentionally underscores the necessity for serious gun law reform that includes abolition of gun-free zones and adoption of constitution-friendly shall-issue carry laws in all 50 states.”

“This nonsense of forcing people to disarm needs to stop,” he said, “and it’s an easy fix.”


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