ATF Release Firearms Report, Gun Trafficking Actions
Lawrence H. Summers released a report on Friday announcing that a small
number of firearms dealers account for a majority of crime guns traced
to active dealers and a series of actions in response to the report’s
findings. Secretary Summers was joined by Under Secretary for Enforcement
James E. Johnson and Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
(ATF) Bradley A. Buckles.
provides new analysis leading us to new measures in our continuing efforts
to decrease firearms violence and to keep guns out of the hands of criminals
and youth," said Secretary Summers. "Most important, ATF will
conduct intensive inspections of the one-percent of dealers that account
for well over half of all crime guns traced last year. If violations of
law are found, we will take action against these dealers."
The findings are a
part of Commerce in Firearms in the United States, which is ATF’s
first comprehensive report that presents data on the firearms industry
and describes ATF’s regulatory enforcement programs for combating firearms
trafficking. The report documents that:
- 1.2 percent of
current dealers (1,020 dealers) account for 57 percent of crime gun
traces to active dealers. Each of these dealers had 10 or more crime
guns traced to them. Just 0.2% of dealers (132 dealers) had 50 or
more crime guns traced to them, accounting for 27% of crime gun traces.
reforms enacted in 1993 and 1994 to ensure that only legitimate dealers,
manufacturers and importers obtain federal firearms licenses have
resulted in a substantial drop in the number of firearms licensees,
from approximately 284,000 in 1992 to 104,000 today.
- A small number
of retail gun dealers fail to cooperate with ATF requests to trace
crime guns, obstructing criminal investigations in these cases. In
1999, approximately 50 retail gun dealers either failed entirely to
respond to a trace request, did not respond within the required 24
hours three or more times, or wrongly denied having information that
they in fact had.
- In 1998 and 1999,
firearms dealers voluntarily reported about 1,900 interstate thefts,
involving over 3,700 firearms. Actions to achieve more comprehensive,
mandatory reporting is expected to reveal even greater numbers of
ATF also announced
a series of measures it will take in response to the Commerce in Firearms
Report. These include:
- Conducting intensive
inspections of over 1,000 retail dealers and pawnbrokers who have 10
or more crime guns traced to them in 1999. These dealers account for
well over half of all crime guns traced to active dealers last year.
- Requiring approximately
450 dealers to provide ATF with certain information (serial number,
manufacturer, importer, model) about secondhand firearms they acquire.
These dealers sold a significant number of new crime guns that were
recovered by police and traced within three years of leaving the gun
shop. An estimated two million secondhand guns are sold in the U.S.
each year and they are largely untraceable. This initiative will enable
ATF to trace used guns sold by dealers associated with high numbers
of crime guns.
- Requiring dealers
who fail to cooperate with trace requests to send all of their firearms
records to ATF so that the firearms they sell can be traced if they
are used in crime. ATF will also take regulatory enforcement actions
with respect to these dealers, as appropriate.
- Providing the firearms
manufacturers and importers, upon request, a list by serial number of
the firearms they sold that were traced as crime guns during the previous
year. This will enable the manufacturers and importers to police the
distribution of the firearms they sell.
- Publishing a Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking requiring all Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs)
to conduct regular inventories and report discrepancies to ATF. This
will enable FFLs to fulfill their statutory obligations to maintain
accurate records of the acquisition and disposition of firearms and
report the loss or theft of firearms to ATF.
- Amending the ATF
Federal firearms license application to require dealers renewing their
licenses to certify how many firearms they acquired and disposed of
during the preceding three years. This will provide evidence to enable
ATF to deny renewal applications of dealers who are not actively engaged
in the business.
of violent crime in America is among ATF’s primary goals. These measures
are another step toward strengthening ATF’s ability to effectively prevent
and solve violent crime," said ATF Director Bradley Buckles.
Commerce in Firearms
in the United States is the first in an annual series of reports that
will present data collected by ATF and other federal agencies relating
to regulation as well as major developments in the firearms industry.