Gun robber inspires new legislation to lock all firearms

A recent area gun robbery has prodded a representative to propose new anti-theft legislation for gun stores.

Rep. Lisa Suebeck (D-Madison) has introduced a bill to require businesses that sell firearms to lock all firearms in a secured safe or steel gun cabinet when the business is closed.

She said she was surprised to see how easy it was for thieves to steal multiple firearms from the PT Firearms in Cross Plains last week.

“They can simply drive a vehicle into a front window or smash a front window, enter the store, often a few people enter the store and just scoop up as many weapons as they can grab,” said Suebeck.

“Gun shops are sitting targets for criminals who want to do harm, who want to get a massive number of guns all at once. A simple solution is to lock up the guns,” she said.

The Deerfield Pistol and Archery Center said they already follow the policy.

Manager Brett Fankhauser said their guns are always locked behind a steel door at the end of the night and they “wouldn’t do it any other way.”

Deerfield Pistol and Archery is unique in that the store creates a vault of it’s own, but other stores aren’t as secure.

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported 18,394 firearms were reported lost or stolen from federally licensed dealers in 2016. That averages 50 guns per day.

Suebeck hopes the legislation makes it harder for criminals to get their hands on dangerous weapons.

The bill is circulating for co-sponsors and Suebeck is hopeful she will see bipartisan support.