Crimetracker: Tracking and locating stolen firearms - WRBL

Crimetracker: Tracking and locating stolen firearms

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that more than 11,000 firearms were recovered in Georgia in 2011, 557 of those in Columbus; but the ATF doesn't get them off the streets alone.

Wild Bills Jewelry and Pawn on Buena Vista Road has a large selection of both new and used firearms. Assistant Manager Teresa Pipkins said when it comes to selling the guns the store follows the same protocol as any other retailer, every customer must pass a background check. But because a large part of their firearm inventory is pre-owned, the guns must pass a check of their own.

"The guns are actually run through the police department to make sure there aren't any hits on them. and when I say hits I mean the guns are used in the commission of a crime or stolen," said Pipkins.

She explained that the Columbus Police Department requires all used guns to be held for 60 days to be checked, before they hit the sales floor.

"That gun has to be run through the system, because it goes through a national database to make sure that gun is not stolen," said Pipkins.

If the check does reveal any problems the gun is confiscated by local law enforcement and turned over to the appropriate agency.

Pipkins added that the process not only protects the pawn shop, but also ensures that stolen guns are tracked down, and returned to their rightful owner.

"It's pretty regular that we get calls from the ATF tracking center and want us to look up, because we have to keep those forms on file for 20 years," said Pipkins.

On average the ATF said in Georgia it often takes more than 3 years to get a recovered firearm back to it's original owner. The CPD said to ensure the turn around time is as short as possible, theft victims should report their guns stolen immediately.

The Burglary and Theft division of the Columbus Police Department said they see the most guns stolen from homes in North Columbus.

Liz Buckthorpe

Liz joins the WRBL news team from all the way from New England. More>>

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