Rumors have been circulating recently about gun thefts from vehicles around the country and at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio in particular. Because we take very seriously the security of our members and patrons, as well as their property, we would like to address these rumors and offer some suggestions regarding better securing your firearms, whether you’re shooting at our club or elsewhere.
As has always been the case, gun thefts from vehicles and homes are a problem around the country, and San Antonio is no different – neither better nor worse. Some rumors suggest that San Antonio is experiencing an “epidemic” of gun thefts from vehicles at gun clubs or from vehicles of traveling shooters at restaurants or other businesses. We have no reason to believe this problem is greater than in the past or than in other cities. As the largest gun club in the San Antonio area, and one of the largest in the country, we believe we at the National Shooting Complex are in a position to be aware of such an alarming trend, and it is simply not the case.
Many reports indicate that gangs are targeting the NSC parking lot, marking tires or placing stickers on license plates so they can later be identified by thieves. At a shoot last June, we and a commissioned officer investigated reports of marked vehicles and found no validity. There was no pattern or consistency among the marks that were identified to us, and we found that all the questionable marks reported to us were left there by manufacturers, tire services, or rental car companies. In fact, most marks were so worn or well covered that they could not have occurred in the parking lot.
We have read that because gun thefts from vehicles are so “rampant” in San Antonio that a police chief met with the 400 shooters at that event to warn them about the problem. That did not happen.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) also dismisses the claims as a rumour, noting in a January 2012 report:
Long before Al Gore “created” the Internet, gun owners were busy perfecting grassroots networking. Today, gun owners have an almost unlimited number of ways to spread information crucial to our community. And, while the Internet is certainly an indispensible tool for protecting our rights, an unfortunate side effect has been the fast and easy spread of rumors.
The latest of these, appearing on Internet message boards and in emails, warns of a growing trend of gangsters marking the license plates or wheels of vehicles parked at shooting clubs, gun stores, ranges and gun shows. According to the rumor, the thieves later spot or follow the marked vehicles and break into them to steal guns while their owners are elsewhere.
The reports go on to claim that the tactic has reached “epidemic” proportions in San Antonio, Texas, and specifically, at the National Skeet Shooting Association and National Sporting Clays Association’s National Shooting Complex. Naturally, the NSC investigated the matter thoroughly. They concluded that the rumor is false on several counts.
Furthermore, columnist David Sikes of Corpus Christi news outlet Caller.com explains:
The bogus warning reports these colorful marks or stickers have been found on rear bumpers and license plates, along with wheels and tires.
I contacted the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, the San Antonio Police Department, the Corpus Christi Police Department and Royce Graff, director of the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio.
By all accounts, nothing in the email is accurate. No truth whatsoever, according to Matthew Porter at the San Antonio P.D. and Martin Meachum at the sheriff's office.
Of course, gun owners who see this hoax warning and subsequently examine their vehicles may sometimes find previously unnoticed dots, stickers or unexplained markings. But, as the NSSA report notes, these marks are likely to be left by vehicle manufacturers, tyre fitters or rental car companies and have no hidden or sinister meaning whatsoever. For example, coloured marks may be placed on tires to assist in match mounting tyres and wheels during servicing.
Thus, the message has no validity as a warning and it should not be forwarded. Sending on such misinformation will do nothing whatsoever to help gun owners protect their property.
Last updated: March 26, 2013