Chatham County Police Gun Registry
(Photo by Ruger)

Over the past few months, the Chatham County Police Department has seen a big increase in stolen firearms. Thieves have stolen around 90 guns from both cars and homes in the Georgia county that contains Savannah in recent months.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a big increase in the number of guns that have been stolen from unlocked cars. From burglaries and that type of thing,” said Capt. Daniel Flood, Chatham County Police Department, to WTGS.

So, the Chatham Country has created a registry for gun owners to record serial numbers. Flood claims that gun owners can tell police that the gun is on ReportIt, which can be used to help find the stolen weapons. Additionally, police can use the system even if the gun is found in another jurisdiction.

“They try to pawn it somewhere else, then it’s gonna tell us, ‘Hey, this weapon was pawned in New York City,'” said Flood.

To use the registry, gun owners create a free account before entering the serial numbers and descriptions of firearms. Account holders can also upload receipts and multiple photos to better help identify firearms. WTGS talked to a local gun range about the proposal and seems to favor the idea. In fact, the writer ended the story with the phrase, “To outsmart the thieves, you have to think ahead.”

Chatham County Police Creating Gun Registry

Stolen firearms are a huge problem across the country, not just in Georgia. Just in the past year, two major thefts at packaging facilities resulted in around 1,000 guns being stolen, up until police found both the thieves and most of the guns. In fact, gun rights advocates have been stating for years that banning guns won’t stop criminals from obtaining guns. Registration has also been part of this fight, though on a lessor scale in recent years.

Part of the reason for registration being less pursued is the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986. That law actually bans the creation of a federal gun registry. However, it does not stop state and local governments from enacting their own registries. Six states, along with Washington D.C., require registration of certain classes of firearms, such as handguns or what’s been deemed “assault rifles.” Hawaii and D.C. require the registration of all firearms.

Many states also have preemption laws that prevent cities and counties from passing more stringent gun laws. This includes Georgia. However, the Chatham County Police Department, nor the county, didn’t pass a law requiring registration. So, this is legal. In fact, in some ways it might be considered smart. Americans complain about government intrusion into personal lives and then post intimate details on social media for everyone to see. Of course, guns might be considered different in many ways, so only time will tell if this will be used by the residents of the county.

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