The Problem: Every gun in the United States starts off as a legal firearm but can quickly become illegal in a number of ways. Each year thousands of guns purchased legally make their way into the hands of criminals and end up killing innocent people. In 2010 there were more than 5,000 guns trafficked into New York State and used in crimes that were from sales in other states.
Corrupt Dealers: Criminals may also buy guns from corrupt Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) knowing there is a good chance they will never be caught or brought to justice because the NRA has successfully limited the ATF’s funding and ability to investigate and prosecute corrupt dealers.
Although most gun dealers are sensible and law abiding business owners, a few corrupt gun dealers continue to sell guns to prohibited people. According to the ATF, licensed gun dealers who are a source of trafficked firearms account for less than 10% of all ATF’s trafficking investigations. Yet, licensed gun dealers are by far the largest source of trafficked firearms in volume with more than 40,000 guns diverted from the legal to the illegal market in only two and one half years. Additionally, 57% of guns recovered in crimes are sold by less than 1% of the nation’s gun dealers.
The Solution: Fully the fund the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to remove current barriers to prosecution of corrupt gun dealers. Enact stronger gun dealer regulations in New York and at the federal level including requirements to secure inventory from theft, stringent record keeping and inventory documentation, employee background checks and employee training on straw purchasing.