LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) — Forty guns were stolen out of a Lakeland gun shop early Monday; guns that could now end up in the wrong hands.
But some local gun stores say they are doing everything they can to keep their guns from falling into the hands of criminals.
West Coast Pawn and Gun has highway advertisement that they have guns, but they’re taking precautions to keep those guns out of the wrong hands.
They have bars on the windows and a promise of 24 hour surveillance. That’s just on the outside. Once inside, there’s another layer of security.
“This is our safe and in reality this is priceless because we still have all of our handguns,” said Katherine Erdly, store manager.
Erdly says her store has more than 200 guns in stock at any time. But at night, you won’t find one left out of the case. “Twenty minutes that is all it takes to put these guns out and put them back up.”
Erdly knows that a gun in the wrong hands can lead to tragedy. Investigators say Monday’s murder of an Orlando police sergeant was committed by a felon who never should have had a gun in the first place.
This manager doesn’t want that blood on her hands. “That happened in Orlando, it could literally be next door it could be right here. It literally did happen. Who knows that those weren’t sold right here in Lakeland.”
And even when Erdly and the store’s owner aren’t here, they’re on the lookout for the bad guys. “We have approximately forty cameras, this just shows our main ones.”
None of these precautions come cheap. But Katherine Erdly calls it her obligation.
“I teach the concealed weapons classes here and every day I’m teaching people the safe way to handle guns. My morals are in the law abiding citizens not the criminals.”
Last month, two teenagers were accused of murdering a woman in front of her five year old daughter. The gun used was stolen from a gun shop in Hillsborough County. Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd calls it the moral obligation of these gun shop owner’s to keep these guns in safe places, no matter what.