Gun theft spike could be tied to proposed restrictions - WSMV Channel 4

Gun theft spike could be tied to proposed restrictions

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ASHLAND CITY, TN (WSMV) -

Guns are apparently in such high demand it has led to a disturbing new crime wave in which thieves are stealing guns by the dozen right out of people's homes.

Some in law enforcement are worried newly proposed gun restrictions may be to blame.

"We have a 12 gauge pump shotgun and of course this is a AR-15," said Cheatham County Detective Shannon Hefflin.  

Hefflin has a table full of guns at the sheriff's office with one thing in common.

"They were all stolen out of burglaries," said Hefflin.  

In the last month, they've seen a steep hike.

"We've probably seen a 20 to 30 percent increase," said Hefflin. 

Now they're concerned newly proposed legislation may be to blame.

"In light of the proposed ban on assault weapons, this weapon here, right now you go and try and purchase one of these, you won't be able to. Most of your gun stores are sold out of these. Right now the price on one of these is going for anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000. This weapon right here was stolen out of a burglary and was stolen out on the streets for $200," said Hefflin as he held up a stolen AR-15.

Jonathan Caldwell knows all too well.

"They actually just kicked the door and left a boot print or a shoe print on the door. Immediately I worried about a lot of guns that I had upstairs," said Caldwell.

Someone recently broke into his home and stole 12 guns.

"All of my guns were special and had some sort of story or meaning, and they're all gone," said Caldwell.

Investigators are asking gun owners to stow their weapons and keep serial numbers.

"Out of all of these guns right here, only two of these I have a home for," said Hefflin. 

They also asked buyers to resist the temptation of the black market.

"Basically what you're doing is you're aiding the criminals. You're the driving force for going out and committing more burglaries," said Hefflin. 

Hefflin said it's a growing trend they hope to end before more people get seriously hurt.

"A weapon like this right here, if it gets in the hands of the wrong person, who knows what the consequences could be," said Hefflin. 

Cheatham County investigators are still working hard to solve Caldwell's case. 

"It just seems like they want to help out. They take it personal like we do, and that means a lot," said Caldwell.

Caldwell is missing pistols, shotguns, rifles and specifically three 50 caliber muzzle loaders without breach plugs.  If you know where they are right now, investigators ask you to give them a call. 

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