By Jessie Wagoner
The McPherson Police Department is investigating the recent theft of guns from vehicles in McPherson. During the month of January, three guns were stolen out of vehicles parked within the city limits. Additionally, law enforcement is encouraging gun owners to be responsible and secure their firearms.
“Gun owners have the responsibility to keep their firearms secure at all time,” Administrative Captain Mark Brinck said. “Leaving a firearm in a vehicle, in plain sight or an unlocked vehicle is negligent.”
While it is not considered a crime to leave a firearm in a vehicle, if the firearm is stolen and used to commit a crime, the person who left the firearm in the vehicle may face civil repercussions, as a result of negligence. If a child were to gain access to a loaded firearm and was killed or killed someone else with the firearm, this could also lead to civil repercussions for the person who left the firearm unsecured in a vehicle or elsewhere.
The state of Kansas and the city of McPherson does not require gun owners to register firearms. However, Brinck says it is important for firearm owners to record or write down the make, model and serial numbers for all of their firearms and store the information in a safe place, where it will not be stolen.
“This information can greatly assist us in locating a firearm that is stolen,” Brinck said. “We have the information entered into the National Crime Information Center database. If someone is in possession of the firearm later and the serial number is checked against the database, we can usually recover the firearm and in most cases, return the firearm to the owner.”
Being in possession of a stolen firearm can lead to significant charges for an individual. After a full investigation, depending on the overall circumstances, a person found in possession of a stolen firearm may face charges related to the initial taking of the firearm, including felony burglary and felony or misdemeanor theft and possession of stolen property. Additionally, a person who has previously been convicted of a felony crime, found in possession of a stolen firearm, may be charged with felony criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
“It is extremely important for firearm owners to properly store their firearm at all times, not only to keep them from getting stolen, but to protect our community and themselves,” Brinck said.
The McPherson Police Department is actively investigating the theft of these firearms, as well as other thefts from vehicles. They encourage residents to follow the 9 p.m. routine, which includes removing all valuables from vehicles, locking cars and doors and turning on exterior lights. These steps can help reduce the likelihood of thefts.
The McPherson Police Department asks anyone with information regarding these or any criminal activity to contact the McPherson Police Department at (620) 245-1266, McPherson County Crime Stoppers at (620) 241-1122 or via the McPherson County Crime Stoppers Facebook Page.