LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – FOX16 Anchor Kevin Kelly sat down with Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey to discuss a growing trend of guns being stolen, where they are being stolen from and what his force is doing to get these weapons off our streets.
The number of guns being stolen across the nation is alarming. According to the FBI, between 2012 and 2017, an estimated 1.8 million guns were reported stolen. During that same time period, roughly 40,000 were reported stolen here in Arkansas.
Every two minutes, a gun is stolen from an individual. Most of them end up on the black market and in the hands of criminals.
Gun theft is a growing problem, not just nationally, but also in Little Rock.
“We’re seeing more and more guns,” Humphrey said. “The access to more and more weapons is just… it is amazing.”
The chief explained that most firearms are being stolen from cars. Last year, 679 guns were reported stolen in the City of Little Rock, and of those, 43 percent were taken during a car burglary.
So far this year, 295 guns have been stolen, and 40 percent of them, 115 guns, have been taken from cars.
“We are a society of weapons,” Humphrey said. “We are a society that lacks conflict resolution. We are a society that we don’t respect, some of us, some people just don’t respect life.”
It’s a dangerous combination that the police chief is seeing played out on the streets of Little Rock.
“You make those weapons accessible to someone who does not know how to handle conflict, the first thing that they do is that they utilize that weapon… they discharge that weapon,” Humphrey said.
Another concern the chief has is the age of those behind the trigger.
“Why do you take a weapon to a fight?” Humphrey asked. “Why does a 16-year-old have a weapon? That should be the biggest concern. How are 16, 17-year-olds and younger… how are they obtaining weapons? And how does a parent not know?”
While deeply concerned about the number of gun thefts, Chief Humphrey is also quick to point out that so far this year, more guns have been recovered than stolen.
While the data looks promising, the recent violence still has some people worried.
The chief is confident about one specific thing.
“We haven’t lost this city,” Humphrey said. “This isn’t a violent city at all. I’m a person that if I thought it was a violent city, I would say it. But it’s not a violent city. It’s a vibrant city.”
It is worth noting that only 11 states require gun owners to report stolen weapons to the police. Arkansas is not one of them.
Currently, there is no law on the books in which someone can be charged with a crime for carelessly storing a firearm in a car.
Tune in for more of Kevin Kelly’s one-on-one interview with Chief Humphrey later this week, including his response to recent crimes at city parks and whether they are safe.