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Pennsylvania Leads Nation in "Missing" Guns

WASHINGTON -- Newly released data show that Pennsylvania ranks #1 in the nation for the most guns “missing” from licensed gun shops with no record of sale, with more than 6,000 guns missing from Pennsylvania gun shops over three years.  Pennsylvania gun dealers alone accounted for 10% of all guns reported “missing” from the nation’s gun shops from 2008 to 2010.

Firearms that leave gun shops without records of sale are frequently trafficked by gun traffickers and prized by criminals because the guns have no record of sale and are virtually untraceable.  Corrupt gun dealers also attempt to disguise illegal off-the-book sales by claiming that the firearms were lost or stolen.

“It is outrageous that the gun lobby would protect gun traffickers by imposing ruinous fines on cities and towns that require the common sense step of notifying law enforcement when a gun is stolen or missing,” said Dennis Henigan, Acting President of the Brady Campaign.  “The Pennsylvania legislature should reject the gun lobby’s efforts to repeal sensible laws requiring that gun owners tell police when guns are stolen by criminals.”

In response to an epidemic of “missing” guns that are frequently used in crime, cities and municipalities across Pennsylvania passed ordinances requiring the reporting to law enforcement of lost or stolen guns.  
Lawsuits by the National Rifle Association to strike down Philadelphia’s and Pittsburgh’s lost or stolen gun reporting ordinances have been rejected by every level of the Pennsylvania courts.  Most recently, in December 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court refused to allow the NRA to re-open its dismissed lawsuit against Pittsburgh’s ordinance.

In an attempted end-run around the courts by the NRA, the gun lobby is supporting Pennsylvania House Bill 1523, which would fine cities and towns that attack gun trafficking through common sense gun laws that regulate gun ownership or possession.  Cities and towns with laws prohibited by House Bill 1523 would be forced to pay taxpayer dollars to NRA lawyers or others who challenge those laws.

Data on states with the most “missing” guns from gun shops were released by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives last month.  The data show that Pennsylvania gun shops had 6,024 guns reported “missing” from 2008 to 2010, out of a total of 62,134 guns “missing” from gun dealers’ inventories nationwide.  This number is likely a vast undercount of the number of guns that disappeared from gun shops in the last three years.  The missing guns are noted at ATF compliance inspections of licensed gun dealers, but ATF has conducted compliance inspections each year at only about one-fifth of the nation’s gun shops. 

Other states with the most guns reported “missing” from gun shops, rounding out the top ten, are:  2) Georgia – 5,155 missing guns, 3) Texas – 4,599 missing guns, 4) New York – 3,666 missing guns, 5) Michigan – 3,295 missing guns, 6) Washington – 3,106 missing guns, 7) Massachusetts – 2,877 missing guns, 8) Florida – 2,745 missing guns, 9) Arizona – 2,593 missing guns, and 10) Illinois – 2,250 missing guns.


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