GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky is hoping to get lawmakers on board with passing legislation that would make gun dealers secure their weapons.
Rahinsky’s concerns come after a rash of break-ins at gun shops in the Grand Rapids area last year in which more than 100 weapons were stolen. Most of the break-ins weren’t in the city of Grand Rapids, but they’re still a concern.
“Regardless of where these burglaries are occurring, Grand Rapids being the large municipality, we tend to be a magnet for these firearms,” Rahinsky said.
Officials say the chief is hoping to gather supporters during the annual conference put on by the Michigan Association of the Chiefs of Police, which started Wednesday in downtown Grand Rapids.
Kent County Undersheriff Michelle Young said the sheriff would support a move to mandate tighter security at gun dealers. She said she would like to see reasonable legislation that wouldn’t put undue pressure on small businesses.
The chair of the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee is Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. He said he has concerns the move would be a government overreach.
“I just don’t see where it’s going to prevent a loss,” Jones said. “In this country, there will always be illegal guns on the street.”
Rahinsky said he has never seen a series of theft in which so many guns were taken. He says he was surprised at the lack of security at some of the gun dealers that were hit.
“The guns were just- just there for the taking,” he said, referring to the incidents where stolen guns were left in glass cases. “These guns, it’s our fear, are going to find their way in to crimes.”
Nine states have laws that mandate some type of extra security measures for gun dealers. Rahinsky said Michigan should join them soon.
“There’s 100-plus extra handguns out on the streets here in Grand Rapids,” Rahinsky said. “Before we wait for anymore tragedies to occur, we want to make sure that that doesn’t occur again.”