The Brady Campaign is breathlessly (gotta run fast to dodge those falling chunks of sky) reporting that Pennsylvania Leads The Nation In Guns “Missing” From Gun Shops: “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.” Yes, it’s true that . . .
Six thousand guns are missing! Just in Pennsylvania! And that is only 10% of the total for the nation! Further down we find out that over those three years 62,134 guns went “missing”! That sounds like an awful lot of guns, until you actually look at the reality.
According to the NSSF’s data, over the course of those three years there were something in excess of 27.5 million guns sold. So, 0.23% of guns sold were lost or less than one-quarter of one percent. Also keep in mind that the ATF considers a gun “lost” if inventory shows a serial number of 11191 and the actual number is 11911. They don’t remove the phantom gun from the list of missing.
But wait, there’s more! According to the Bradys:
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.
They are trying to imply that the number of missing guns is even higher but completely ignore the fact that the ATF focuses on “problem” gun shops. These “problem” FFLs are those that have had a higher than average number of paperwork problems, which means they are likely to have a higher number of “missing” guns.
But let’s take the Brady claims at face value and assume that inspections and “missing” guns are distributed evenly across gun stores. This means that only 60% of FFLs were checked in that three year period, so our count of missing guns goes up to 103,556 which is a really big number. Unfortunately for the Bradys that brings the percentage of “missing” guns up to a whopping 0.38% or a hair over a third of a percent.
According to the Bradys this is very very bad because:
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.
Except they aren’t because there are records; otherwise how would the ATF know they were missing? The manufacturer records the serial number and what distributor the weapon went to and the distributor records the serial number and what retailer it went to. The Bradys continue:
Corrupt gun dealers also attempt to disguise illegal off-the-book sales by claiming that the firearms were lost or stolen.
Yes, because having a whole bunch of your weapons fall off your books and then show up at a crime scene is so unlikely to bring the ATF, FBI and probably DHS down on your tuchus. Much better for the corrupt dealer (cue evil laughter) to simply arrange with his criminal cohorts to make straw sales.
No, this is just more Brady scare-mongering, providing numbers without context, hoping that no one will check up on them. Pretty much an average day at the nation’s foremost gun-grabbing shop.