CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Over the past two years in South Carolina alone there were 424 cases of burglary from licensed gun dealers.
"These numbers strictly from South Carolina greatly contribute to the fact that there is obviously a significant issue of thefts and burglaries from licensed gun dealers in both Carolinas," said Earl Woodham, the Carolinas spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Woodham said last year North and South Carolina combined were 3rd in the nation for the number of thefts from licensed gun dealers and number 1 in 2011.
"I don't know if the general public even thinks about this type of crime but law enforcement does and certainly people on the receiving end," said Woodham.
Woodham said the high theft rates make the Carolinas a hot spot for illegal gun trafficking. Guns stolen here are taken to other states with stricter gun laws.
Just last November robbers smashed an SUV through the front of the Guns and Gold Trading Post in North Charleston, stealing 10 semi-automatic guns. In a matter of minutes the crooks were able to put the business out of thousands of dollars. The guns may never be found.
"Unless there's a reason for law enforcement down the road after the theft to acquire the firearm and trace it back to the theft, we would never know where the gun came from unless it has been traced," Woodham said," That could be a result of a violent crime or any other reason law enforcement somewhere in the country would trace the gun."
Under the National Firearms Act, federal law only requires weapons like machine guns, sawed off shot guns or any other firearms that are similar to be registered in every state.
Woodham said, "The records of the purchase are maintained at the gun dealer who sold the firearm to begin with."
Copyright 2013 WCSC. All rights reserved.