Senator Thom Tillis Cosponsoring A Bill Aimed To Increase Penalties For Robbing A Gun Store

CHARLOTTE, NC.– U.S. Senator Thom Tillis co-sponsored the Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act of 2021. Lawmakers said the measure would strengthen the maximum penalties for firearm thefts from licensed gun dealers.

The bill:
-Increases the statutory maximum penalty for knowingly stealing any firearm in an FFL’s business inventory from 10 to 20 years.
-Imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years for burglary from an FFL and 5 years for robbery from an FFL.
-Criminalizes the attempted theft of a firearm from a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer, or collector.

Larry Hyatt is the owner of Hyatt Gun Shop Wilkinson Blvd.

“Well, it will protect the public. If the criminals break into gun shops and they steal the guns, background checks, permits, age requirements, all that’s out the window. They’re sold directly into the criminal elements and misuse them,” Hyatt says.

Hyatt says although they have attempted burglaries about four or five times a year, security measures like barriers and steel plates have helped. Just last year, on June 3rd, more than 25  firearms were stolen from Carolina Sporting Arms on South Boulevard after a suspect broke in around 1:30 am, according to a police report. WCCB called Carolina Sporting Arms, but they did not have any comment.

“A lot of smaller stores, big box stores where they don’t have as good as protection as we have, they’ll hit them, go and steal 40-50 guns out the door, and within just a few days, those guns are on the street.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives reported a 43 percent increase in the number of federal firearms licensee burglaries and a 15 percent decrease in the number of FFL robberies from 2019 to 2020. While the number of robberies decreased, the number of firearms taken during robberies increased by 53 percent.

In 2020, 6,269 firearms were taken nationwide from gun store burglaries and robberies.
Of those, 165 firearms were stolen from FFL in South Carolina.

“Securing firearms is a huge responsibility. We have to do it.”