Nearly 50 guns are now in the hands of thieves after they were stolen by looters who were part of a group of individuals who broke into and took items from several Atlanta businesses and homes amid protests over the deaths of black individuals at the hands of former or current police officers.

A total of 43 handguns were stolen from Chuck’s Firearms, located on Miami Circle in Buckhead, at about 2:30 a.m. May 29, said Jack Lesher, its previous owner who still works there as a consultant.

The looting, riots, vandalism and acts of violence occurred as others peacefully protested in Atlanta and other cities nationwide in response to the May 25 death of George Floyd in a Minneapolis and the recent deaths of Arhmad Arbery in Brunswick and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

Lesher said the 43 handguns stolen at Chuck’s Firearms were worth between $500 and $4,500 each.

“There’s a feeling they were opportunists,” he said. “They were looking for opportunities to break in and take stuff. That’s the thought pattern.

“It’s very discouraging, but I don’t know much more than that because it’s still an open investigation. They took advantage of a situation where the police were grossly overwhelmed that night. It appears to me that the people who did it, based on the evidence so far, they were not part of the righteous protesters but up to thievery.”

Lesher said he has no problem with peaceful protests but does take issue with the violence, vandalism, looting and/or riots happening along with them.

“It’s pretty much straightforward,” he said. “I think everyone has a right to protest, but there’s a certain group making it hard on those to make their voice heard clearly. It’s going nuts.”

After the Atlanta Police Department referred the Neighbor to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) regarding a police report and other information on the incident, an email sent to the ATF was not immediately returned.

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