As hurricane Irma approaches, the ATF is asking gun shops to take extra precautions in securing their inventory.
"Our concern is that individuals will take advantage of this storm to go out and break into gun shops," Daryl McCrary, Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa Field Division, said.
Smash and grab burglaries at gun shops have been on the rise, outside of national disasters as well.
"There has been an uptick in the past couple of years that we've seen nationally. We've seen an uptick in Florida." McCrary said.
But, McCrary says they've been seeing burglaries during hurricanes as recent as hurricane Harvey. Agents are investigating at least one burglary in the Houston area right now. After hurricane Matthew last year, two gun shops on the Florida east coast were burglarized. About 100 guns were taken in those two burglaries.
"So they'll take advantage of that and they have," McCrary said.
The ATF is also asking local law enforcement agencies to notify them in the case of a gun shop burglary.
McCrary says gun shop owners need to make sure they have up to date records with them. If they leave their stores, he suggests locking the weapons in a vault or moving them to a more secure location.
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