Police urge owners to increase security at gun stores - WSMV Channel 4

Police urge owners to increase security at gun stores

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Law enforcement is calling on gun store owners to make security changes.

Wednesday, police said a group of people rammed a car through a Mt. Juliet gun store and got away with 19 guns.

In many cases, police said the stores are easy targets with too many vulnerabilities, despite the fact that they house dozens of expensive and deadly weapons.

“We’ve got a trend going on here where they’re breaking into the front of stores,” said Det. Sgt. Jim Vaughn with the Hendersonville Police Department.

At gun stores, police said crooks often use the smash-and-grab technique. In many cases, the only thing standing in their way is a sheet of glass.

“People who break into stores to steal guns are going to use them to create other crimes. They’re criminals,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn and other law enforcement officials called on gun store owners to make changes.

“Some of the things gun businesses could do would be to put something in the front, like a barricade or some sort of poles in the front door,” he said.

While the upgrades may be expensive, it may help save money in lost merchandise.

“You could actually do things like reinforce the cabinets that the guns are maintained in,” Vaughn said.

The owners of Royal Range in Bellevue put more than $250,000 into security measures. Some are clearly visible, like concrete pillars reinforced with rebar, but others are not.

“I believe it’s a social duty for us to control, protect not only ourselves but society, and we’ve done everything we think we can do,” said John Russell, owner of Royal Range.

There are no laws requiring Tennessee gun store owners to have specific safety measures in place. The ATF doesn’t regulate them, and Vaughn said that’s the way it should be.

But Vaughn said he hopes owners will take it upon themselves to add security going forward.

“Some of the things that help us out is stuff like cameras,” he said. “The more cameras folks have, the better high-definition cameras they have, the better we can do putting that out to the media so we can help identify these folks.”

Police said cameras with license plate recognition capabilities also help after a robbery has occurred. Those cameras would go outside in the parking lot and record every license plate number that enters the lot. Some can even capture images of the driver.

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