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Flagler’s Irresponsible Gun Owners: 37 Firearms Stolen Since 2014, Mostly From Unlocked Cars

| August 6, 2015

Wrong place.

Wrong place.

People want their guns, especially in Florida, a state that doubled its proportion of concealed-carry gun permits in five years, and that passed the 1 million mark in such permits three years ago.


But people don’t want to be responsible enough with the guns to keep them safe, or to keep them away from criminals.

Since Jan.1, 2014, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office stated in a release issued today, 34 firearms were stolen from vehicles in the county. Of those, only seven have been recovered. The value of the guns stolen has been estimated to be more than $16,500. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the time span as starting in 2015 rather than 2014.)

“More guns in the hands of criminals means more innocent people may be victimized,” Sheriff Jim Manfre said in the release. “It also places our law enforcement officers at a greater risk.”

The majority of car break-ins in Flagler County are crimes of opportunity: car owners leave their vehicles unlocked. Only a minority of break-ins involve the shattering of door windows or other violent means of gaining access. Most of the break-ins take place in residents’ driveways or in commonly used parking lots.

The sheriff’s office again reminded residents today to take the extra time to lock their vehicles, place valuables out of sight and remove weapons when the vehicle is left unattended for an extended period of time. Florida law, however, is weak regarding the safe storage of weapons.  The law requires that a loaded firearm be kept in a lockbox or secured with a trigger lock, but only if the gun owner “reasonably” knows that a minor could gain access to the weapon. The law makes exceptions if the gun owner is carrying the weapon, and is vague about vehicles, as it provides that the gun owner may keep the gun “within such close proximity” that he or she “can retrieve and use it as easily and quickly as if he or she carried it on his or her body.”

The penalty for violating the law is also weak: it’s a second-degree misdemeanor, but only if a minor not only gets hold of the weapon, but goes on to exhibit it in a public place or to use it in a threatening way. (Today, a usually staunch gun-rights advocate, Neil Combee, the Polk County Republican lawmaker, filed that could lead to misdemeanor charges for people who shoot guns recreationally, as in target shooting or celebratory shooting, in certain residential areas, according to the News Service of Florida. The bill, HB 41, could lead to first-degree misdemeanor charges for recreational shooting “in an area that the person knows or reasonably should know is primarily residential in nature and that has a residential density of one or more dwelling units per acre.” But as with the gun-storage law, the proposed law comes with generous caveats: there is no punishment if, “under the circumstances, the discharge does not pose a reasonably foreseeable risk to life, safety, or property.” It also includes an exception for people defending lives or property or performing official duties.)

The Flagler sheriff’s office issued the following safety tips:

Remove all valuables from the interior of your vehicle. Cameras, computers, purses, wallets and other electronics should be locked in the trunk or secured out of sight. This includes the safe storage of firearms.

  • Always lock your vehicle and activate the alarm, if installed.
  • Park in well-lit areas when possible.
  • Join a neighborhood crime watch group.
  • Report suspicious activity immediately by calling 911.

For more crime prevention tips, call the sheriff’s office’s Community Outreach Unit at 386/586-2623. Residents with information about any crime in Flagler County may contact the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Services Division at 386/586-4801, or remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-8477 (TIPS).

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24 Responses for “Flagler’s Irresponsible Gun Owners: 37 Firearms Stolen Since 2014, Mostly From Unlocked Cars”

  1. Justin Case says:

    WTF is wrong with people? Lock your stuff up!!! Then there will not be articles like this!

    • William Jackson says:

      WTF is wrong with people? Stop stealing stuff!!! Then there will not be articles like this!

      • Geezer says:

        Justin Case (a friend of Jim Nasium) makes perfect sense.

        Too many people fail to assign any importance regarding proper
        gun storage. Yeah, thieves suck, and they aren’t amending their
        antisocial behaviors anytime soon. So it’s up to responsible
        gun owners to make it as hard as possible to get a free gun.

        Many people want to see you lose your right to owning a gun.
        Comments like yours only cement those opinions.

    • Brian says:

      37 gun owners should be in court.

  2. Anonymous says:

    But there are articles like this.

  3. Just saying says:

    Last I saw “to enter or remain” has nothing to do with actually breaking into a vehicle. Those victims are victims of crimes. Unlawfully entering a vehicle with the intent to steal is a felony. Maybe we should blame the criminals?

  4. I/M/O says:

    A criminal burglarizes a car and it’s the owner’s fault.

    That is not logical thinking.

  5. Banjomatic says:

    Florida needs an open carry law so guns don’t have to be left in vehicles. Also making stealing a gun punishable by death is a good idea. What is a criminal going to do with a stolen gun except shoot somebody?

    • Knightwatch says:

      What is a gun owner going to do with a concealed gun except shoot somebody?

      • Anonymous says:

        legal gun owners are not the ones we need to worry about for the most part. It is criminals who are the cause of the vast majority of all gun deaths and crimes.

  6. Footballen says:

    Is 10,20,LIFE still in effect? Technically if you go into someones unlocked car and take a firearm while in there then you have committed armed burglary because you armed yourself, that is a bare minimum of ten years in prison. I can tell you this, me and my wife both carry guns and neither of us EVER leave one in the car over night. We each have one strategically placed for that 2 am dog walk but in a hidden place within the home. OK yeah that’s me in the robe at 2 am, and the bulge in the pocket is actually steel. Freaking dog can’t hold it.

    • Five-O says:

      10, 20, Life has nothing to do with stealing a firearm. If a person brandishes a firearm during a crime then it’s 10 years mandatory minimum. If they fire a weapon during a crime then it’s 20 years and if they shoot someone it’s supposed to be Life.

  7. David B says:

    We need an open carry law, so I don’t have to lock my car. Problem solved.

  8. Dave says:

    A person that leaves a gun unlocked in a car should never be allowed to own a gun. Open carry, now that’s the ticket. And if someone steals a gun, put their butt in jail. But to come right down to it, people need to lock their cars, their homes, use some common sense and take some responsibility.

  9. Sherry E says:

    OK. . . what hasn’t been mentioned . . . is that it is obviously irresponsible to leave firearm in an “unlocked” car! Why? Because of the possibility that a young child or idiot kid could climb into that car and seriously injure or kill themselves or others with that weapon.

    Be the “responsible” gun owners that you always claim to be . . . Unload and Lock Up your arsenal in your car, as well as your home! Geez!

  10. THE VOICE OF REASON says:

    I can’t say I agree with leaving a gun in an unattended vehicle under any circumstances. If somebody wants to see if there’s something worth stealing, locking the vehicle does nothing. They’ll just break a window and rummage through the vehicle anyway.

  11. Sherry E says:

    If I had it my way. . . every single gun or weapon of any kind, in the universe, would be melted down/completely destroyed! War and violence towards any human beings is horrific and a great travesty for our planet and our species!

    • Anonymous says:

      how would you get rid of “every single gun or weapon of any kind” every gun even those used by police and our military forces for our protection ,every knife even my butter and steak knife? every base ball bat what would happen to our national pastime of baseball? every hammer? how would construction be done and how would those workers feed their family’s? I know its just a emotional position you put forth but bats knives and hammers are used in crimes and murders. go after criminals and the culture they are being brought up in not law abiding people. just my opinion.

    • Outsider says:

      That would make a lot of molten lava we’d have to contend with.

  12. m&m says:

    How many of those cars were police cars??????

  13. Commom Sense says:

    You have to worry when you see the old men that have been applying for concealed carry permits.

    This is why people should not be allowed to have guns in the first place.

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