SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Guns being stolen from cars. It’s happening frequently in Springfield, too frequently for Springfield Police’s liking so they want gun owners to do their part.

“You want to be a responsible gun owner because guns can often be involved in criminal activity,” Lieutenant Heather Anderson said. “We don’t want that to be the case. So we want to make sure that we keep them in the hands of the people who are responsible.”

In 2022, Springfield PD said there were 180 guns stolen from cars because a gun owner left their weapon unattended.

“Most people are usually carrying a gun on them and then maybe go to someplace where a gun isn’t allowed and then they decide to leave the gun inside the vehicle,” Anderson said. “A lot of times people can’t legally buy guns. So stealing a gun is one way to circumvent that.”

From January to April of 2023, Springfield PD said there have been 32 guns stolen from cars.

“We want people to file police reports so that we can have the serial number on file and then we can recover it in the future,” Anderson said. “It’s very important that we have those things because we often run into the gun later on in another incident.”

There are times when thieves try to re-sell the stolen gun, something Cherokee Firearms has seen.

“It’s not every day, but it seems to be more common all the time,” Cherokee Firearms owner Nick Newman said. “We can almost always tell if somebody is up to no good and they don’t have a good story.”

Two-thirds of Cherokee Firearms’ sales are handguns, which Newman attributes to the size of the weapon.

“If you’re going to have a gun in the car with you, it’s probably going to be a handgun because that’s what fits,” Newman said.

Springfield Police and Cherokee Firearms encourage gun owners to store their weapons safely no matter the size.

“At our house, we don’t discuss a lot about what we have and where we have it,” Newman said. “We don’t make that an issue with friends and neighbors or the kids or anything like that. We try to downplay that.”

Springfield PD believes responsible gun ownership will help prevent theft and other crimes from happening.