With several high-profile gun robberies in the news recently, many Maryland residents may not be surprised to learn Fox News reports that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) found nearly a 50 percent rise in stolen firearms in 2016. ATF officials noted that many of the burglaries are carried out by the same perpetrators who feel emboldened after completing a theft.
ATF officials stated that Maryland has had the fourth-most burglaries of gun shops in the nation. In 2016 alone the Old Line State saw 38 instances of federally licensed firearm dealers having their shops broken into and guns stolen, and there are no federal regulations concerning how firearms must be protected or secured in a un shop. As these thefts often result in stolen guns getting into the hands of criminals and being used in additional, sometimes violent crimes, Maryland and the ATF have a vested interest in punishing these offenses to the full extent of the law.
Thefts of firearms are often large-scale, with more than 30 being stolen from a Rockville store in under two minutes, or as the Baltimore Sun reported, 60 guns stolen over two days in Baltimore by six defendants. Prosecution in such cases can be fierce, as one of the defendants was charged with 186 separate counts. All of the charges are currently in the state of Maryland and brought by the Attorney General, and the investigation was also in cooperation with agents from the ATF, which can involve the possibility of federal charges as well.