Colorado House Passes Vehicle Lock Box Bill; Stolen Guns Big National Problem

Colorado lawmakers are pushing a bill regarding gun thefts from vehicles. iStock-1174295368

The Colorado State House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that prohibits leaving a firearm in a motor vehicle unless stored in a lock box or the vehicle’s trunk, according to a report at Colorado Politics, and as it turns out, gun thefts from parked cars and trucks is a significant national problem.

House Bill 1348 was approved by the Judiciary Committee on a 7-3 party-line vote, the report noted. Embarrassingly, a report in the Colorado Sun from January 2023 noted that two guns were stolen on the Capitol campus in Denver from a car belonging to then-incoming state Representative-elect Ron Weinberg (R-Loveland).

How big a problem is this? According to the Colorado Politics report, over a two-year period (2022-early 2024), “more than 1,000 guns were stolen from vehicles,” according to Denver District Attorney Beth McCann. During a Wednesday hearing, the committee heard from a representative from the National Shooting Sports Foundation who noted the $500 civil penalty included in HB 1348 might discourage people from reporting stolen firearms, which is already law in the Centennial State.

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While HB 1348 is definitely a gun control bill, it does point to what is a serious problem around the country and a potential public relations disaster for the firearms community. Ammoland News looked around the Internet for reports relating to gun thefts from cars and found the following reports dating back over the past year.

Back on Feb. 6, WCMH News in Columbus, Ohio, reported, “Hundreds of guns were stolen from vehicles in Columbus in 2023 and dozens were taken from vehicles in the first month of 2024.” The report quoted Commander Dave Hughes with the Columbus Division of Police, who said criminals break into parked vehicles in hopes of finding a gun. Last year, 770 guns were taken from vehicles in Columbus.

A month earlier, on Jan. 4, WKRN News in Nashville said police in that city had investigated more than 100 homicides last year and that “guns stolen from cars are a standard tool used in these types of crimes.”

In San Antonio, Texas, a Dec. 27 report on KSAT News revealed “more than 2,400 guns” were stolen from vehicles in the city in 2023. This report noted, “Statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives show that from 2017-2021 there were 1,074,022 firearms reported stolen across the U.S. and almost 96% of them (1,026,538) were stolen in thefts from private citizens.”

A Dec. 12 report in the Cincinnati Enquirer quoted Police Chief Teresa Theetge explaining how, between Jan. 1 and early November 2023, “about 390 guns were stolen from vehicles.” It amounted to more than one gun a day and “about 60 percent of all guns stolen” in the city. By the time the Enquirer report was published, the newspaper said 646 guns had been stolen in 314 separate incidents in 2023. Theetge told the newspaper she had even installed a gun safe in her vehicle.

On May 17, 2023, KDVR News in Denver reported one incident in which 16 guns had been stolen out of a pickup truck parked in front of a hotel. The guns were reportedly “wrapped with graphics advertising ‘We Buy Guns,’” which was notably ironic. Between Jan. 1 and May 11 last year, the Denver police reported 261 firearm thefts from cars.

A report at revealed a problem in Tacoma, Washington, last year where police were asking gun owners to reduce gun thefts by “practicing responsible gun ownership.”

“This year,” the May 2, 2023 story noted, “a gun has been stolen out of a vehicle in Tacoma every 57 hours, adding up to 51 guns stolen this year alone.”

Last month, WCAU News in Philadelphia—the local NBC affiliate—reported one arrest incident in which two stolen cars and four stolen guns were recovered, and six people were arrested by police in Montgomery County. Each of the guns was “fully loaded,” the report said.

A few days ago in Seattle, according to the Seattle Police Blotter, officers arrested a 48-year-old man “who tried to rob at least six people with a stolen gun and then led police on a car chase in broad daylight on Jan. 9.”

One solution to gun theft from vehicles is the Console Vault, like this one. (Dave Workman)

Such reports only serve to create the impression that gun owners are habitually careless, which leads to legislation like HB 1348 in Colorado.

But is there another side to the story? One argument would be that many businesses and so-called “sensitive areas” restrictions do not allow the lawful carry of legally owned firearms on their premises. It’s a valid claim in many circumstances, the consequences of creating “gun-free zones” where none should exist in an attempt to discourage concealed carry altogether. What the gun prohibitionists never care to acknowledge is that armed citizens have a right to carry legally, especially in the 29 states that have now adopted so-called “Constitutional Carry” laws. Louisiana’s statute takes effect on July 4.

One solution an increasing number of gun owners are utilizing is the vehicle gun safe, such as Chief Theetge in Cincinnati had done.

Companies such as Truck Vault and Console Vault produce sturdy vehicle safes, and Hornady also produces a lockbox that is portable and may be carried into a hotel room, for example, and also might double as a lockbox for airline travel.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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