DAYTON, Ohio - Nearly 6,900 firearms were reported stolen or lost in Ohio last year, ranking it sixth among states with the most missing guns, federal data shows.
The lion's share of those were listed as stolen; seventy-eight were reported lost, The Dayton Daily News ( http://bit.ly/12iEDvL ) reported.
That's concerning for both residents and law enforcement because some of those weapons are used in homicides, robberies and other crimes.
At least 190,000 firearms were reported lost or stolen in the U.S. last year. Nearly 16,700 of those were reported stolen or lost by dealers.
The numbers are incomplete because not all owners must report missing guns to police -- though Ohio owners are required to do so by law-- and police aren't required to report gun thefts to the National Crime Information Center's database.
The data are part of a federal report ordered by President Barack Obama's administration after a gunman killed 20 students and six staff members at a Connecticut elementary school in December, the newspaper said.
Texas had nearly 19,000 guns reported missing last year, the most of any state. Georgia, Florida, California and North Carolina also had more missing guns than Ohio.
Sometimes those guns end up on the black market, where people can find weapons if they can't pass background checks required for licensed gun dealers to sell them a firearm, said Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.
In some cases, stolen weapons are traded for drugs on the street.
"It's rare to see stolen guns without seeing drugs," said Fred Alverson, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
Authorities say owners can help avoid gun thefts by keeping weapons locked in gun safes or other secure places and documenting their serial numbers, which help officers determine whether guns they come across are stolen.
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