Durbin Introduces Bill To Curb Gun Violence From Stolen Firearms

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today introduced legislation to reduce gun violence by cracking down on thefts from federally-licensed firearms dealers. A companion measure was introduced in the House by Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL) in July. It is cosponsored in the Senate by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The 96% of Americans who support background checks for gun sales know that too many guns are getting into the hands of dangerous people,” said Durbin. “Criminals are increasingly getting guns by breaking into gun dealers and stealing them after business hours. Those guns are often used to commit violent crimes. But these thefts can be deterred by reasonable security measures, including requiring gun dealers to properly secure their firearms inventory, as well as the paper records used to trace guns recovered in crime, after hours. Congress must summon the courage to pass common sense gun reform if we’re going to have any chance of reducing the death toll from guns, and this bill should be part of that conversation.”

The Safety Enhancements for Communities Using Reasonable and Effective (SECURE) Firearm Storage Act addresses the growing prevalence of gun thefts from federally-licensed firearms dealers.  In 2016, these gun dealers reported 558 burglaries, an increase of 48% since 2012. A total of 7,488 guns were reported stolen during these burglaries, an increase of 73% since 2012.  These stolen guns frequently end up being used in crime; one study found that between 2010 and 2015 over 9,700 guns recovered in crimes had been reported as lost or stolen from gun dealers. 

The bill will:

· Require federally-licensed firearms dealers (FFLs), when their premises are closed, to secure all firearms in their inventory either by fastening them to an anchored steel rod or storing them in a locked safe or gun cabinet;

· Require FFLs to store all paper records of firearms transactions in a secure location so the records can be preserved in case they are needed for crime gun tracing investigations;

· Authorize the Attorney General to prescribe regulations with additional security requirements relating to alarm and security cameras and site hardening on FFL premises;

· Provide that an FFL that fails to follow these security requirements would face a civil penalty for the first violation; possible FFL license suspension for the second violation; and possible license revocation upon a third violation; and

· Add a new section to the FFL application for applicants to describe how they will comply with these security requirements, and direct the Attorney General to ensure that an applicant’s plan will be complaint before approving a license application.