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Wisconsin Needs Tougher Laws Concerning Gun Stores

April 9, 2017

News reports over the past several days in Wisconsin have started with updates on a most unsettling story regarding a manhunt for an “extremely dangerous” would-be terrorist.    It has made all of us more aware of our surroundings, and more mindful of what is taking place in our neighborhoods.  After all it is not, thankfully. an everyday occurrence to hear that Wisconsin authorities are working with the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Secret Service to search for someone.

The news about Joseph Jakubowski started last week when he reportedly broke into the Armageddon Supplies gun shop in Janesville and stole about 16 high-end firearms.  Early news reports stated this was not the first burglary of this gun store.  The ease with which anyone with a disturbed mind or deadly intentions can make entrance to such stores and steal deadly armaments is very concerning.

Make no mistake about the danger to society from such easy access to guns via this route.  In the case of this Janesville store they simply served as an armory for the mentally troubled Jakubowski.

According to the ATF, in 2012, there were 377 burglaries of licensed gun stores nationwide. (My first thought was how in the world do these gun stores get or keep their insurance?) In 2016, that figure rose to 558 – a 48% increase. In 2012, there were 12 robberies of licensed gun stores nationwide. In 2016, that figure rose to 33 – a staggering 175% increase.  For the average citizen those numbers are simply unacceptable.

All combined, 7,858 firearms were stolen from licensed gun dealers in 2016, that amounts to a 76% over 2012.   We know that happens to those weapons in too many cases.  They are sold—without a background check for fast cash–which when contributes to increased crime and violence.

In the case of Jakubowsaki the real concern, given his crazed manifesto mailed to the White House, is the use of those weapons in some deadly rampage.   Which brings us back to the Janesville gun store where he easily stole the weapons.

The U.S. government does not require the nearly 65,000 nationwide licensed gun shops to meet any particular security measures.  But be mindful, there is a tag on my new sofa pillow  alerting me to not eat the contents.  Meanwhile gun stores selling deadly arsenals of weapons have too few mandates for public safety.

Wisconsin needs to implement stricter standards for such stores.  The reason why is most obvious.  As are the ways to bring some order to this chaos.

At the present time ATF does recommend that all commercial dealers install an alarm system, high-definition security cameras with audio, place bars on all windows, plus sturdy doors with multiple locks at each entrance.

But that is not enough.  Advising such common-sense actions is far different from demanding under law the stores act responsibly.  So let us be clear as to what should be required.

Simply put, all gun stores need to place all firearms in a safe or vault during after hours to prevent theft.  I also have long felt that these stores would be best served with burglar alarms connected directly to the local police department.  These ideas would in no way impede on those who seek to buy and own guns but would make those who sell weapons more responsible members of society.    If stores do not abide we then need to hold gun store owners accountable for shoddy security practices.

As we watch the events unfold–and things are certain to change in regards to the movement and hopefully the capture of Jakubowski–let us keep in mind how different this story would be if not for the ease of stealing a deadly arsenal from a local gun store. 

And then after pondering that for the 30 seconds it takes to connect the dots pick up the phone and demand changes from your state representative.

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