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: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or email@example.com
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or email@example.com
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or email@example.com
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Rafael Medina
202.478.5313 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or email@example.com
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or firstname.lastname@example.org