ATF Moves to Fill Loophole on Lost Guns

Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 07:53 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is moving to fill a loophole that allowed weapons lost in transit to go unreported, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The proposed regulation would have gun dealers report firearms lost or stolen during shipping within two days. Federal law requires such notification when guns go missing from inventories, but the law didn't cover guns and rifles lost in transit. It fills a gap in the regulations that could result in no one reporting a firearm stolen or lost in transit, according to the bureau.

Some 1,500 firearms went missing between 2008 and 2012 in transit — a small fraction of the 190,342 that were lost or stolen in 2012, according to the ATF.

"The omissions in the regulations regarding reporting the theft or loss of a firearm in transit adversely affect ATF's and local law enforcement's investigative and tracing capabilities," the agency said.

Larry Keane, a senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told the Journal so few guns go missing in transit that the proposed ATF rule is "a solution in search of a problem."

He said there is no reason to think people are not already reporting firearms lost in transit. Keane said the proposal would place "a tremendous burden" on shippers and added costs in tracking every shipment to ensure it is received, the Journal reported.

The National Rifle Association has opposed local ordinances requiring that lost or stolen firearms be reported, according to the Journal.

ATF spokeswoman Dannette Seward said that the change was intended to clarify that the sender is responsible for reporting a lost in transit weapon, the Journal reported.

The public has 30 days to comment before the rule can take effect.

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