Idea of the Day: Congressional Budget Restrictions Hinder Efforts to Stop the Disappearance of Guns from Gun-Dealer Inventories
Every year tens of thousands of guns are discovered to be missing from the inventories of federally licensed gun dealers. Guns that go missing from dealer inventories, whether they are stolen, illegally sold without proper documentation, or misplaced due to negligent recordkeeping, pose two main risks to public safety:
- Guns stolen from dealers often end up in criminal hands. Following a two-year study of gun-trafficking investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, reported that 14 percent of gun-trafficking investigations involved guns stolen from gun dealers.
- Guns lost or stolen from dealers are more difficult to trace because there is no record of who initially purchased the gun from the dealer. When these guns are used in crimes, any investigative lead offered by finding the gun at the crime scene goes cold when it is discovered that the gun dealer has no record of who purchased it.
Since 2004 Congress has imposed restrictions on ATF in its annual budget that make it especially difficult for the agency to police lost and stolen guns. One such restriction prevents ATF from requiring gun dealers to conduct an annual inventory, a process that would allow dealers to promptly identify and report missing guns. In the administration’s fiscal year 2014 budget request to Congress, however, President Barack Obama requested for the first time that Congress remove this harmful budget rider.
For more on this topic, please see:
- Lost and Stolen Guns from Gun Dealers by Arkadi Gerney and Chelsea Parsons
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.741.6285 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or email@example.com
Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.741.6277 or email@example.com
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or email@example.com
Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or firstname.lastname@example.org