At least 32,000 guns have been stolen from Houston-area homes, cars, pawn shops, and even gun dealers since 2005, with only 7 percent of them ever recovered, a Houston Chronicle analysis shows. In a state where guns are as plentiful and popular as pickups, the stolen weapons help fuel violent crime across the region. The Chronicle tracked stolen weapons to at least 19 local murder cases by linking serial numbers found on burglary reports to a database of guns that have been found at crime scenes or confiscated.
There likely are many more, but records are incomplete. Among the most favored of stolen weapons are semi-automatic pistols, revolvers, shotguns and semi-automatic assault rifles. “They could be still out on the street. They could be in criminals’ hands. They just haven’t been recovered. In other words, not all criminals will throw a gun down after they committed a crime and run off,” said Franceska Perot of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.