ORLANDO, Fla. — As Hurricane Irma approaches land, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is encouraging gun owners to make sure they don’t become victims of post-storm looting.
“In the storms, we’ll go back to (Hurricane) Harvey, where again, people are taking advantage of the fact that there’s no on in the home,” ATF Special Agent Daryl McCrary said. “They’re going out, sometimes in the midst of the storm, or very soon after the storm, and they’re looting.”
Firearms are a particularly targeted item for looters, McCrary said.
“If you have firearms that are not secure in your residence, those firearms are going to be taken, and there’s a high probability those firearms are going to be used in crimes, in violent crimes, and we’re trying to prevent that,” he said.
Gun stores are also targeted by thieves during major storms, McCrary said.
“We know that in the past, during these storms, we know in Hurricane Harvey, individuals, nefarious criminals, took advantage of the storm and did go out and break into gun stores to steal guns,” he said. “And this also occurred last year during Hurricane Matthew.”
McCrary encouraged gun owners to make plans for securing their firearms now, in case they have to leave their home without much notice.
“We’re going to have people under mandatory evacuation that may have to leave their homes quickly,” he said. “We’re asking, and highly suggesting, that they have a firearms record, that is, that they can use their mobile phones to take a picture of that firearm, so that they would be able to identify it.”
Florida residents evacuating by common carriers (airlines, railroad, bus) should make sure to notify the carrier of the firearm and have it stowed unloaded in checked baggage.
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