The ATF has published a proposed rule that if a firearm is lost in transit, the FFL who shipped a firearm must report its loss within 48 hours of discovery.
The NSSF is opposed to the rule, declaring it to be a burden to FFLs.
Out of the millions of guns shipped each year, the number lost in transit is minimal, said Larry Keane, a senior vice president for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry. What this proposed rule will do is add increased burden and cost on the dealers who ship the guns, leading to fewer jobs and higher prices on the consumers who want to purchase the firearms, he said.
“There’s already in place voluntary reporting when guns are lost or stolen in transit, and ATF has never said members aren’t cooperating or this is even a problem,” Mr. Keane said. “Manufactures work very closely with ATF when situations arise to help in the investigation — which usually ends up to be someone in the common carrier — but these cases are exceedingly rare.
The ATF disagrees:
The 1,500 figure is likely a conservative estimate as it only represents guns used in crimes that were recovered and traced by local authorities — the total number of guns lost and stolen in transit but not reported is likely much higher, said ATF spokeswoman Dannette Seward.
The proposed rule is not designed to place more regulatory burden dealers, but rather to clarify that shippers are the responsible party when a firearm is lost in transit, Ms. Seward said.
“The proposed regulation makes clear who must report, but does not add any additional reporting requirements,” Ms. Seward said. “The proposed regulation does not require universal tracking by shippers. The requirement to report kicks in only when the shipper becomes aware that the receiver did not receive the firearm, which could occur in a number of ways, including when the receiver notifies the shipper that the firearm never arrived, the common carrier advises its clients of a theft or loss, or through other means.”
The rule is open for public commentary. You can find it and comment here: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=201210&RIN=1140-AA41
Personally as a FFL, I have no issue with the rule. Its good practice to report the theft or loss of a weapon when it was already on my books. It avoids issues in the future when it is later traced and gives the ATF or investigating agency the chance to catch a criminal or two before the weapon is used in a crime.