SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Stolen guns play a significant role in the number of violent crimes committed in Sioux Falls.

As we told you yesterday, police say the gun used to shoot and kill Paul Billion back in August was stolen.

KELOLAND News asked police what role do the gun owners, themselves, play in protecting the public.

The three suspects arrested in connection with the shooting death of Paul Billion remain in custody charged with first degree murder.

Court records indicate Billion was shot with one of four stolen guns from the McKennan Park neighborhood. They were all taken from the same truck.

Don Jorgensen: So if you’re the gun owner that’s a lot to live with knowing that your gun was used in a violent crime,

Sam Clemens: It’s something people have to live with and I’d say that’s one of the unintended consequences if you happen to leave your gun in an unlocked garage, car, house whatever it may be and it ends up stolen,” Sioux Falls Police Information Officer Sam Clemens said.

Once a gun falls into the wrong hands, Sam Clemens says there’s no telling how, when or where it’ll be used.

“We had one years ago where a gun was stolen from an unlocked car in Sioux Falls and was used in a homicide in Chicago, so it’s not the first time it’s happened,” Clemens said.

At yesterday’s police briefing, detectives repeated the same message we’ve heard from police over and over.

“We do have a responsibility, everyone who is a gun owner, to make sure we’re keeping those firearms in a safe place and not leaving them in unlocked cars or an opportunistic criminal might have a mind to grab that,” Lt. Nick Butler said.

Police don’t have a concrete number for the percentage of violent crimes committed with stolen guns, but they know it happens and they know it can sometimes turn deadly.

“You have to realize there are consequences, you may not think about that, it may be the one time out of a thousand you forget to lock your car that one time may be just enough and then the gun is stolen and you don’t know what it’s used for,” Clemens said.

Clemens says sometimes the gun owners aren’t even notified if their firearm was used to commit another crime.