South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has introduced a bill that would increase penalties for thefts from FFL holders. Yes, stealing gats from the local gun store has always been illegal, but Sen. Graham’s bill would make it even illegal-er. And if that means keeping a thief in jail longer if convicted, so much the better.
The NSSF’s press release lauding Graham’s bill lists 12 co-sponsors. Notice anything missing from the list of legislators who have gotten behind this effort?
WASHINGTON — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) today is commending U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) introduction of S. 1788, the Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act of 2019, which will strengthen the criminal penalties for thefts of firearms from federally licensed retailers.
“Thefts from federally licensed firearms retailers represent particularly brazen offenses that hold potential for additional crime when stolen guns are sold on the street,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “The Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act is a significant reinforcement of our federal laws to help deter both first-time and repeat violators and to ensure those convicted of these crimes serve serious time. We thank Senator Graham for his leadership to deliver real solutions to make our communities safer across America.”
Sen. Graham’s proposed legislation would strengthen criminal penalties for theft of firearms from FFLs to help prevent criminals from becoming repeat offenders. It sends a strong message to criminals engaged in this nefarious activity that law enforcement partners and the firearms industry consider these crimes as a significant threat to community safety and will use all tools of prevention and law enforcement to protect the American public.
The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), James Risch (R-Idaho), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and David Perdue (R-Ga.). Similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2179, with the same name.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reported a 71 percent increase in the number of thefts from FFLs from 2013 through 2017, which peaked at 577 such crimes. In 2018, that number fell to 427, a 26 percent drop but still well above the 338 in 2013. About 6,000 firearms were stolen from FFLs in burglaries and robberies in 2018.
The firearms industry through NSSF is an active partner in helping to reduce thefts and aiding ATF in identifying those involved in these crimes. As part of Operation Secure Store®, NSSF helps educate FFLs on steps they can take to reduce instances of theft. NSSF, in cooperation with ATF, also conducts retailer store security seminars, assists retailers with store security audits, and encourages the use of methods and technologies to reduce the likelihood firearms will be stolen. NSSF also continues to match ATF reward offers for information that leads to the arrest of criminals responsible for thefts from FFLs.