No one wants to stop the criminal and tragic misuse of firearms more than gun owners. The firearm industry has led with initiatives to improve security at retail stores and prevent thefts, deter illegal purchases, and promote secure storage to help prevent accidents, thefts, and misuse.
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The National Shooting Sports Foundation has helped on this front with their Real Solutions Safer Communities (NSSFrealSolutions.org) initiatives. This is an umbrella program with a host of efforts that work to create safer communities by promoting firearm safety, responsible firearm use, and safe firearm storage among lawful gun owners. This helps reduce firearm accidents, criminal access to, and misuse of firearms.
Of direct interest to shop owners are Operation Secure Store and Don’t Lie for the Other Guy. Operation Secure Store (OperationSecureStore.org) supports the firearms industry’s efforts in promoting public safety by proactively educating federally-licensed dealers in identifying and quantifying vulnerabilities and risks associated with the business of firearms commerce and industry-related operations as a whole. NSSF’s team of loss prevention and security experts have an average of 25 years of experience and can help shops harden their business in the most economical method possible. They also conduct webinars and has a selection of educational materials on security improvements, such as intrusion detection, physical security, IT security, display/showcase security, counterfeit detection, and employee screening, among others. They offer a free FFL Risk and Security Self-Assessment Tool which can help any shop to identify and quantify vulnerabilities and risks associated with the business of firearms commerce and industry-related operations as a whole. There are also a current list of burglary and robbery statistics to understand crime trends.
A campaign led by the BATFE and NSSF since 2000 and active in cities around the United States, Don’t Lie for the Other Guy (DontLie.org) provides resources to educate firearm retailers on how to detect would-be straw purchasers and to raise public awareness that it is a serious crime to buy a firearm for a prohibited person or for someone who does not otherwise want his or her name associated with the transaction.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 40 percent of criminals obtain their firearms from friends or family and another 40 percent obtain their firearms from illegal sources on the street. According to the ATF, the average “time to recovery” (the time span between the initial purchase of a firearm to the time that it is used in a crime) is more than 11 years. Criminals typically are using older, recycled firearms, not newer firearms recently purchased from licensed retailers. While these government-provided statistics indicate straw purchasing is not a common method for criminals to obtain guns, it’s still wise to avoid illegal sales. NSSF offers free Don’t Lie Retailer Kits that include training videos, booklets, and display information for your shop demonstrating to the community a commitment to lawful firearm transactions.
Read more in the March 2023 issue.
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Perhaps the program we need most is one that counters the misinformation circulated by the anti gun politicians and the media. Their goal is not safer handling and storage but total elimination of private held firearms. The programs mentioned are great from our point of view but don’t counter the misinformation fed to the public every day.