A prominent Atlanta gun store was robbed over the weekend, local media reports.
Chuck’s Firearms in Buckhead was the target. Store owner Jim Hinsdale said the security alarm notified local police almost right away about the break-in but due to the intense rioting and looting going on at other locations around the city law enforcement couldn’t respond in time to apprehend the suspects.
“They were here to take advantage of the opportunity of police not being able to be dispatched and address the normal crime,” explained Hinsdale.
The masked burglars took their time, too. Around 20 minutes from start to finish, they carefully selected which firearms they were going to take with them. No long guns — such as AR-15s — were lifted.
“All semi-automatic handguns, a couple of revolvers. One was $4,200 dollars, some were in the $5 or $600 range,” said Hinsdale, noting that 42 guns in total were stolen.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is now investigating the matter. ATF has released photos of the four men, though due to the face coverings (medical masks and Halloween-style masks) identifying the suspects may be difficult.
ATF is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the individuals involved. That offer is being matched by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade association, for a total of $10,000.
“The theft of these guns is extremely disturbing,” said Mark Oliva, NSSF Director of Public Affairs in an email to GunsAmerica. “The criminals stealing these firearms aren’t trying to feed their families. They’re using these guns to commit violent crimes and prey upon the most vulnerable in their communities.”
Oliva said that the NSSF has partnered with the ATF to match reward offers to bring gun thieves to justice since the violence erupted in cities around the country. Additionally, NSSF has worked with the ATF to help FFLs prepare their storefronts for the current crisis.
“The ATF and NSSF both issued alerts to firearm retailers over the weekend to take all prudent precautions to secure inventory and records in the face of a threat of civil unrest that might leave them vulnerable to looting,” explained Oliva. “NSSF, in partnership with the ATF, offers all firearm retailers resources to boost security to deter these crimes. We are committed to working with the ATF and local law enforcement to bring these criminals to justice.”
As for Mr. Hinsdale, while he is upset about the burglary to his store and the loss of inventory, his real worry is where these guns might end up if they’re not recovered soon.
“The biggest disappointment is that the guns are on the street. Hopefully, no one will get hurt,” he said.