CMPD reminds gun owners to lock cars with firearm thefts on the rise

With a rise in guns stolen from cars and used to commit crimes, CMPD is urging gun owners to be more responsible and lock up their weapons.

FOX 46 is told one of the biggest mistakes people make, particularly gun owners, is thinking that their car is a secured place.

"Stealing a gun out of a car it's big business for the criminals. There's no permit, no background check, no age requirement, no wait. They're sold immediately to other criminals and it's really a serious problem here in Charlotte,” said Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt’s Gun Shop. 

CMPD says there's been a 20 percent increase in gun thefts during car break-ins. So far this year 516 guns stolen compared to 435 at the same time last year, 232 of those guns were taken from cars left unlocked. In Uptown the number of guns stolen during break-ins has nearly doubled. 

Right now there is no penalty for gun owners whose guns were stolen from unlocked cars.

"I want people to understand that this is not about taking away the right for a legal gun owner to have their gun but it's about a conversation of community responsibility. You're responsible for yourself as well as your neighbors,” City Councilwoman Lawana Mayfield said. 

Mayfield, a licensed gun owner herself, says City Council needs to create language regarding gun ownership accountability to support CMPD.

"So unfortunately in the seven and a half years I’ve been in office we have not collectively as a council had a conversation regarding gun accountability, gun ownership accountability,” she said. 

Make sure you have a concealed carry permit if you're going to take it out of the house, purchase a lock box and use it, and lock your car doors.

"I think personally you ought to blame the gun owner but we know they're out there and we have to take more precaution,” said Hyatt. 

Gun owners are advised to write down the make, model and serial number, so you can quickly report that information to police. Without it, the gun is extremely hard to track.