SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It's a startling statistic: criminals are getting their hands on an increasing number of stolen guns. In 2016, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives saw a 51 percent jump in gun thefts compared to 2015.
Cherokee Firearms is a gun shop in Springfield that tries to guard against the troubling trend. Owner Debbie Newman says accessories to keep firearms secure are a necessity both in homes and in stores.
"We've got a security system, of course. We've got bars on the windows. All of the guns, handguns, long guns, everything is locked away in the vault behind a nice, thick metal door, every night," Newman said.
Those are all measures to keep thieves from targeting them.
"Recently, there have been several attempted thefts in gun stores," Newman said.
Just a few weeks ago, an attempted burglary was caught on camera at another gun store in Springfield. Nationwide, reports show, 9,200 guns were stolen last year, continuing a four-year uptick.
ATF officials say criminals are getting bolder when it comes to stealing guns and most of the thefts occurred in independent gun stores or pawn shops.
"It's the only way they can get a gun because they can't pass the background check," Newman said.
Newman says, as thieves get bolder, so does their security. Cherokee's new location on Kansas Expressway will have even more protections.
"We will definitely beef up the security cameras, the security system, you're not going to get in. There's no windows to break through," Newman said.
It's all to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
"It will be very secure," Newman said.
In 2017, so far, there have been two gun store burglaries in Springfield. In both of these, the thieves did not get away with anything.
ATF officials suggest all gun shops have security measures in place like barred windows and safes.