Or for that matter at least 16,485 firearms? That's the number the Brady Organisation is saying went missing from 2009 to the middle of 2011 without a record of being legally sold. And the Brady's say this is likely to be a vast undercount of the total number of guns that disappeared from gun manufacturers in the two and a half year period.
The missing guns were noted at ATF compliance inspections of gun manufacturers. Nationwide there are 4,487 licensed gun manufacturers, but due to funding restrictions ATF conducts compliance inspections each year at only about one-fifth of the nation’s licensed gun dealers and manufacturers.
Weak federal gun laws allow gun manufacturers and dealers to operate without security or inventory controls. Under federal law, a gun manufacturer or dealer is not required to secure its inventory from loss or theft or take an inventory of its firearms to account for any that are lost or stolen.
This lack of any security or inventory requirement for gun manufacturers and dealers makes it easy for gun sellers to claim falsely that firearms they have sold illegally and “off-the-books,” were lost or stolen. Federal law requires that gun manufacturers and dealers report guns that are lost or stolen,18 but does not require them to undertake any effort to determine whether guns are missing from their inventory.
The notorious manufacturer was Kahr Arms. One of Kahr's employees, Mark Cronin, was alleged to have taken guns from the factory to sell on the street. It is alleged that Kahr Arms hired Cronin despite a public record of drug addiction, theft to support that addiction, alcohol abuse, and violence, including several assault charges. Cronin stated that he was able to take guns from the Kahr Arms factory at will, before the guns had serial numbers stamped on them. At the time, Worcester Police Captain Paul F. Campbell called Kahr Arm’s recordkeeping so “shoddy” that it was possible to remove weapons without detection.
In July 2011, Kahr Arms agreed to pay nearly $600,000 to end the case, and the settlement is the largest damages payment ever by a gun manufacturer charged with negligence leading to the criminal use of a gun. The settlement is also significant because it was made after enactment of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”), a federal gun law that the gun industry contends shields it from most liability cases. By agreeing to the settlement, Kahr Arms averted a pending motion challenging the applicability and constitutionality of the PLCAA.
Kahr Arms had moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the PLCAA bars such cases. In response to Kahr Arm’s dismissal motion, Brady Center attorneys argued that the statute does not immunize gun companies, and is unconstitutional. Prior to enactment of the gun industry liability protection law, the court had ruled that the Guzman family’s claims were meritorious and should proceed to trial.
The gun lobby should be ashamed as hell at the amount of guns that have fallen through the cracks. Will it make a difference to anyone that the gun industry has "lost" 8 times as many guns in 2 years time as the ATF lost in their failed Fast and Furious program? But will that be pointed out on Fox News?
Hey, nothing like weak gun laws to get guns to criminals! And a tame press to stop the outrage.
The Brady Report can be found here.