Society

ATF Claims Gun Dealers "Lost" 11,000 Guns in 2012

| by Dabney Bailey
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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported that gun dealers across the United States lost nearly 11,000 firearms in 2012. That’s almost double the amount of firearms that were stolen during the same period, which was 5,700.

What is so troubling about these figures is that there is no way to tell why these guns are missing — whether they were stolen, misplaced, lost in bookkeeping errors or if gun dealers sold guns under the table.

To make matters worse, those 11,000 lost guns are only a drop in the bucket. Last year, the ATF inspected a mere 13,000 out of nearly 70,000 gun dealers in 2012. Extending the 11,000 lost guns per 13,000 dealers ratio, it is reasonable to estimate that about 60,000 guns were lost in 2013.

Jim Zammillo, a former ATF deputy assistant director of field operations, argues part of the problem is Congress has been hampering the ATF’s ability to do its job. For example, one law prohibits the ATF from having gun dealers perform an annual inventory.

"From my perspective, it completely defies logic that that regulation is not allowed to pass," Zammillo said. "That is a public safety issue. You are not counting articles of clothing or shoes, you are counting guns which can impact public safety."

Andrew Molchan, director of the Professional Gun Retailers Association, unsurprisingly brushes off the concerns.

"Are [licensees] selling guns on the back streets to gun-buying drug dealers?" Molchan said. "The answer is no because it would be crazy."

If Molchan is correct, then that leaves a glaring question: where did 11,000 guns — and possibly as much as 60,000 guns — end up in 2012? The number of guns that were lost greatly exceed the number of guns that were stolen, and retail store owners jealously guard their merchandise against thieves. How could watchful store owners simply lose so many guns?

The system obviously has a glaring hole. How would you fix it? Would you empower the ATF? Would you cut government regulation out of the equation entirely?

Source: JS Online