THE PROBLEM OF LOST AND STOLEN GUNS
- Guns stolen from dealers: In 2007, after inspecting just
9.3% of federal firearms licensees nationwide, ATF reported that more than
30,000 guns in the dealers' inventories had been lost or stolen.
- Guns stolen from homes: Almost 600,000 guns are stolen
each year from private homes, according to poll data on gun-owning
- Trafficking of stolen guns: ATF reports that over a
quarter of its criminal gun trafficking investigations involve stolen
LIMITED FEDERAL RESPONSE
- Federal law requires federally licensed dealers to report guns that they
know have been lost or stolen to law enforcement.
- Federal law does not, however, require individual gun owners to report
lost or stolen guns.
EXAMPLES OF STATE AND LOCAL RESPONSES
Seven states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York,
Ohio and Rhode Island) and the District of Columbia currently require the
reporting of lost and stolen guns to law enforcement. A growing number of other
states and local governments are working to pass similar laws.
Here are some key examples:
- Individuals must report the loss or theft of a gun within 72 hours of
- The punishment for violators depends on intent and
whether it is a first offense:
- A first unintentional violation is punishable by a
$90 fine but no jail time.
- Intentional violation is a felony punishable by up
to ten years in prison.
- Negligent failure to notice a lost or stolen gun can also be considered
- Local law enforcement are then required to report the loss or theft of
firearms to the state police.
- Gun owners are required to report the loss, theft or destruction of their
gun or registration certificate immediately upon discovery.
- An owner must return the registration certificate for any lost or stolen
- A first violation is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Violators will also have their firearm registration revoked.
- Gun owners must report the loss or theft of a gun to local law enforcement
within 24 hours of discovery. Violators are subject to a fine of $50 to