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Tag: gun dealers

ATF: Gun Store Thefts Surge for Fifth Straight Year, Setting Records in 2017

ATF photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Thieves stole an alarming number of firearms from gun stores and other licensed dealers in 2017, setting a new record for the fifth consecutive year, according to annual statistics compiled by the ATF.

Burglaries and robberies resulted in the theft of 8,129 stolen guns from licensed firearms dealers across the country in 2017, a 3.3% increase over 2016.

Since 2013, the number of stolen guns has surged more than 135%.

Also on the rise for the fifth consecutive year was the number of gun stores that were robbed or burglarized. In 2017, 610 stores were targeted by thieves, compared to 347 in 2013.

Alarmed by the five-year upward trend, the ATF is urging gun dealers to create stronger security measures. Stolen firearms are particularly worrisome because they’re disproportionately used to commit violent crimes, according to numerous studies.

Without federal security requirements, gun store owners in most states are free to operate with no safeguards.

The surge in stolen guns has prompted federal lawmakers to introduce legislation to combat firearm theft. 

In October, many Democrats in the Senate have supported a measure that would require gun dealers to secure their firearms in a locked safe or vault after the store closes. But the proposal is opposed by the National Rifle Association because of potentially detrimental costs, and not one Republican  has offered to cosponsor the legislation.

The proposal with the best chance of passing was introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and it calls for stiffer jail sentences for gun thieves.   Even many Democrats have pledged to support the bill.

Suspected Terrorists Are Permitted to Buy Guns in America

gunsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Suspected terrorists may be banned from flying, but they are permitted to buy guns in the U.S., the Washington Post reports. 

Bills have been introduced to ban terrorists from purchasing firearms, but the legislation has stalled in committees because of pressure from the NRA.

“Membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded in 2010.

The GAO reported found that suspected terrorists tried to buy guns from American dealers at least 2,233 times between 2004 and 2014. Of those, the suspected terrorists successfully made a purchase 91% of the time.

The NRA wouldn’t comment for the story.

Millions of Firearms Purchase Records Languish in ATF Facility, Hampering Investigations

gunsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Firearm purchase records are an important resource for law enforcement because the documents can help trace guns used in crimes.

Trouble is, millions of those records are languishing in cardboard boxes at the government’s National Tracing Center because they have not been processed, the USA Today reports. 

The records – as many as 1.6 million documents a month – come from defunct firearm dealers who must hand over their records to an ATF facility.

The USA Today reports:

The avalanche of records is a little-noticed yet critical component of a newly escalating firearms debate that underscores both the strained operations of the federal government’s chief gun enforcement agency and the strength of a powerful gun rights lobby intent on preventing the creation of a national gun registry, law enforcement analysts say.

The dysfunctional document management system exists even as ATF examiners are faced with a steadily increasing demand for tracing guns used in crimes — 364,441 requests last year — and as the agency seeks to assist local law enforcement authorities in a number of U.S. cities, including Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Baltimore, where there have been dramatic spikes in gun-related violence.

“It’s really sad,” said Ben Hayes, a former ATF official who for more than a decade oversaw parts of the tracing center’s operations. “It’s pathetic.”

Report: ATF Fails to Inspect Majority of Licensed Gun Dealers in Past 5 Years

atf file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF has failed to inspect 58% of licensed gun dealers every five years because of understaffing and other obligations, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The Justice Department’s inspector general examined data from 2007 to 2012.

The report also criticized the ATF’s failure to track its industry operations investigators.

Most of the blame falls on “insufficient investigator resources,” Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said, the Chronicle reported.

ATF Admits Mistakes Were Made During Botched Raid at Milwaukee Store

image from istockphoto.com

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The head of the ATF’s St, Paul Field Division acknowledged mistakes were made during a botched undercover sting operation of gun and drug dealers at a store in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The Journal Sentinel recently exposed serious problems during a 10-month ATF sting. Among them: the theft of nearly $40,000 in merchandise; an agent’s machine gun was stolen; wrong suspects were charged; and sensitive information about undercover help was lost.

Scott Sweetow, special agent in charge of the ATF’s St. Paul Field Division, which oversees the Milwaukee office, said some mistakes were made but he also defended the sting.

“Absolutely there were some administrative mistakes made, some procedural mistakes made, and we are very aggressively looking at all of those issues from top to bottom,” Sweetow said, noting that more than 30 people have been arrested as a result of the sting.

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