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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Following three concurrent gun shop burglaries, state representative renews calls for mandating stricter security

Many store owners advocate for harsher measures, ensuring their product “only goes to people who are authorized to have it”

Following the three-day span in late January when suspects burglarized Armageddon Supplies, Max Creek Outdoors and CTR Firearms in southern Wisconsin, Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, renewed her call for a hearing on a bill that would require stricter retail gun shop security.

The Legislative Reference Bureau first analyzed the bill in October, shortly after burglars drove a car through the front of PT Firearms in Cross Plains, Wisconsin and stole 14 guns. In December, Subeck and other representatives officially introduced Assembly Bill 728, which requires retail shops to secure guns when the store is unattended.

Feb. 12, the legislature amended the proposed bill to detail the required materials and thickness of the vaults, cabinets or safes, as well as other semantics.


“I was shocked by the ease with which these criminals were able to steal multiple unsecured firearms,” Subeck said in a press release. “As a result, these guns are now out on the streets posing a danger to the community.”

Current federal rules only require firearm store owners to lock the doors to their shops after closing. Because of this, suspects in the recent burglaries were able to slip away with guns in tow before authorities arrived on the scene.

The sole store where only cash was stolen was CTR Firearms, where owner Chris Endres had already chosen to establish extensive security measures for community safety reasons.

We made that decision from day one,” Endres said. “I would be absolutely devastated if I found out a little kid was shot with a gun that was stolen from my store.”

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Endres’ store security has already surpassed what Subeck’s bill would require — securing all guns sold at stores in Wisconsin using a safe, locked steel cabinet or a rod or cable running through the trigger guards.

Endres supports Subeck’s bill because he believes no alarm system or amount of cameras will stop burglars if they can still physically reach the guns. For this reason, CTR Firearms contains a secured vault Endres said cannot be breached even if a car drove into it, as was the case for PT Firearms.

PT Firearms assistant manager Daniel Riley declined to comment specifically on the store’s support for the bill but said he is never opposed to procedures aimed at protecting the public. After last October’s robbery, the store made “serious” changes — the specifics of which Riley could not disclose for security reasons — in order to ensure the prevention of another burglary.

“We’re in the business of selling a product that we want to make sure only goes to people who are authorized to have it,” Riley said. “Something like this only hurts the community.”

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According to a report released in 2016 by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an average of 50 guns were lost or stolen from federally licensed dealers every day, amounting to 18,394 for the year nationwide.

Captain Todd Christiansen of the Rock County Sheriff’s Department believes it is important to make it harder for firearms to be robbed from gun shops. As for the store owners, Christiansen said he at least hoped they would want to improve security in order to protect their investment if nothing else.

Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney voiced his support for Subeck’s push to pass the bill, citing its ability to benefit the community.

Any protections that can keep guns out of the hands of those who cannot legally possess firearms is good public safety,” Mahoney said in an email to The Badger Herald.

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Unlike Mahoney, Gov. Scott Walker recently said he was unsure if the bill is necessary, according to reporting done by WKOW. Walker believes store owners would want to establish security measures autonomously, before any piece of legislation, should this “epidemic” of burglaries continue.

Endres countered Walker’s view, comparing the assumption that owners will establish security improvements to the assumption that people will not burn themselves on hot coffee – if cups have to be labeled “hot” so individuals know to be careful, gun shop owners have to be required to establish the proposed security measures.

“This common-sense security measure will help keep our communities safe,” Subeck said.“With gun violence on the rise and mass shootings becoming all too commonplace, this is a simple measure to keep firearms off our streets and out of the hands of those intent to do harm.”

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