NSSF Operation Secure Store

Operation Secure Store helps retailers keep their inventory of firearms out of the wrong hands

Operation Secure Store focuses on five key aspects of business security: education and awareness, assessment and risk analysis, planning and strategy, engagement, and response to crimes. By addressing the threat of robbery and burglary before an event occurs, retailers can deter thieves.
Operation Secure Store focuses on five key aspects of business security: education and awareness, assessment and risk analysis, planning and strategy, engagement, and response to crimes. By addressing the threat of robbery and burglary before an event occurs, retailers can deter thieves.Operation Secure Store

“Operation Secure Store is a joint initiative with the ATF designed to help raise awareness about reviewing and integrating new strategies into a store security plan with the hopes of making your store the least-attractive target to potential criminals,” says John McNamara, Senior Director of Retail and Range Services for NSSF. “The program is focused on working to deter thefts from FFLs, leveraging resources to enhance public safety, and reducing the impact to communities affected by these crimes.”

Operation Secure Store (OSS) focuses on five key aspects of business security: education and awareness, assessment and risk analysis, planning and strategy, engagement, and response to crimes. By addressing the threat of robbery and burglary before an event occurs, retailers can effectively deter thieves from targeting their business. In the event a robbery or burglary does happen, FFL holders will have the resources they need to help law enforcement agencies retrieve stolen firearms and protect the community.

FFL Robbery by the Numbers

According to ATF statistics, the number of FFL burglaries (specifically, a perpetrator illegally enters a property to steal items) and FFL robberies (specifically, a perpetrator steals object/s directly from a person using force or fear) in the United States increased annually each year from 2014 to 2017. There were 406 reported FFL burglaries in 2014, resulting in the loss of almost 4,300 firearms. By 2017, the number of FFL burglaries had risen to 577, which resulted in the loss of 7,841 guns. Over that same period, FFL robberies increased from 22 to 33. This alarming trend prompted the ATF and NSSF to initiate the Operation Secure Store program to increase awareness about business security among FFL holders.

What retailers are learning is that it is much simpler to revise and update their business security plan than to pick up the pieces following a burglary or robbery. In 2018, the first year Operation Secure Store went into effect, FFL burglaries decreased 26 percent from the previous year, to 427. That reduction resulted in a 28 percent decline in the number of firearms stolen from FFLs in 2018 as compared to the previous year.

Managing Risk

Retailers need to take steps to help protect themselves and their businesses from criminals, and by doing so they do their part to help reduce the number of illegal guns on America’s streets. NSSF and ATF are offering free Operation Secure Store seminars across the country where FFL holders can get accurate and up-to-date information from leading security professionals on the most effective methods to protect their store. Topics include inventory management and control, intrusion detection systems, perimeter and property security, visitor entry and verification procedures, and much more. (There’s a full list of seminar dates and locations at operationsecurestore.org.) Even if you can’t attend a seminar, there are plenty of other tools available at the Operation Secure Store website to help you protect your business. For instance, there’s a risk and security self-assessment designed to help any FFL identify and quantify vulnerabilities, and a resource section with a list of companies that provide everything from secure firearms display cases to IT and information security systems.

Operation Secure Store also offers personal security assessments of your business conducted by leading experts in the field. These onsite evaluations help FFL holders develop a custom business protection plan by enlisting the help of security professionals who will help you guard against everything from fire damage and cyber attacks to breaks-ins and robberies. There’s simply no better way to protect your company than to schedule an onsite evaluation of your business security needs. Operation Secure Store has streamlined this onsite assessment process, and it’s much simpler to take preliminary steps to protect your business than to deal with the aftermath of a robbery.

“We understand that not all businesses need the same plan,” McNamara says. “A large, nationwide retailer will have different needs and budgets than a small, family-owned business.” Having a professional assess individual needs allows each business to stretch their security budget and identify opportunities to improve their current security plan.

Stopping Crimes Before They Happen

It’s encouraging to see that FFL burglaries have declined since Operation Secure Store was initiated, but there’s more to be done. The good news is that all the necessary tools and resources to protect your business are already at hand, thanks to the NSSF and ATF. To date, more than 40,000 Operation Secure Store tool-kits have been provided to FFLs across the country, and that increased security means less crime and fewer stolen firearms in our communities. In addition, NSSF matches ATF rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals involved in FFL burglaries and robberies, and the organization encourages insurance companies to offer reduced rates to firearms retailers who complete the Operation Secure Store assessment and take steps to secure their business against theft. Other initiatives, such as NSSF’s “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” program, which also works in partnership with ATF, educate the public that attempting straw purchases is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine. These public-awareness campaigns raise awareness about firearms security while reducing the number of armed criminals.

There’s more. NSSF’s Government Relations team on Capitol Hill is working to get the Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act passed into law. The bills—H.R. 2179 in the U.S. House of Representatives and S. 1788 in the U.S. Senate—would strengthen the penalties for criminals who steal guns from firearms retailers. By supporting important legislation such as this, the firearms industry is providing serious and real solutions for safer communities.

FFL holders have a role to play in this nationwide effort to reduce firearms thefts. By taking advantage of the no-cost services that Operation Secure Store offers retailers, every FFL helps to protect themselves, their employees, their business, and their communities. Stopping FFL theft is an ongoing challenge, but with these resources, it’s a fight we can win—one retailer at a time.

For more information, visit OperationSecureStore.org.

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