FOX13 Investigates: Where violent criminals are getting guns

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A Tennessee State Law is being blamed for causing an increase in the crime and murder rate in Memphis. Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings tells FOX 13 investigates the "guns in car law" passed two years ago has resulted in nearly a thousand guns stolen from cars.

Those weapons now believed to be in the hands of criminals. 

One of those weapons belonged to Dedrick Hampton.  His car broken into in 2013.  The thief tossed his CD's on the ground, took his loss change and stole his gun that cost a thousand dollars new.

"A crook has my gun, probably some illegal stuff" Hampton told FOX 13 Investigates.

Hampton had every legal right to keep his guns in his car because of a state which allows those with carry permits and those without to store their weapons in their vehicle


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Guns stolen from vehicles is becoming a problem according to figures supplied to FOX 13 Investigates from the Nashville, Chattanooga and Memphis Police Departments.

For example when the law was passed in 2014 MPD recorded 473 stolen guns from cars.   In November 2015, the number of firearms taken from cars jumped to 623.

As of November 20, 2016, Memphis Police reported more than 720 guns snatched from automobiles during a robbery.

Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings told FOX 13 the guns in car law is helping to drive up crime, contributing to the murder rate and jeopardizing his officers.

"If it hampers our ability to keep the community safe. If it puts more guns in the criminal element, then it is a problem and we need to recognize it as such" said Director Rallings.

"Laws have unintended consequences and this is one of them" said Rallings.    

FOX 13 Investigates requested nearly a hundred police reports of guns stolen from cars in the last two years. We called dozens of gun owners who told me they never got their weapon back.  "I worked hard for that money to buy whatever I want weather it is a gun or not.  And it is a big issue that the gun is on the streets" said Hampton who is a big supporter of the second amendment after finishing a tour in the US Navy.

Rallings told me he wants state lawmakers to repeal the law but Shelby County St. Senator Mark Norris told me the problem is not the law but the restrictions on it.

"It is one of the unintended consequences of the law that allows people to post no guns allowed" said one of the top republican in the state.   Norris believes the restrictions forces many people to keep their weapons in their car.

With no compromise mentioned, Rallings said he'd like gun owners to an extra step to secure their weapons with a gun vault.  It is a portable gun secure box owners can take with them.

A reasonable option if more gun owners purchase one ...although Dedrick Hampton told me he probably won't.

"If I need it, wait let me unlock this box right quick because I need to defend myself.  At that point I don't see any point" said Hampton.