More than half of the firearms traced in crimes come from just 1 percent of the nation's licensed gun stores, but federal agents rarely check to make sure these stores are complying with gun laws, a new study finds.
According to data from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, approximately 1 percent of the nation's gun stores are the source of 57 percent of the firearms traced to crimes. It took the Washington-based lobbyist group Americans for Gun Safety six years and three lawsuits to get the names of the gun stores that sell a disproportionate number of the guns traced to crimes.
The group's study found that just 120 dealers in 22 states sold nearly 55,000 guns linked to crime in five years.
How Tiahrt Harms Law Enforcement
While some components of the Tiahrt Amendments were improved in 2007 and 2009, several damaging provisions continue to tie the hands of law enforcement.
NICS background check records are still destroyed within 24 hours:
The Tiahrt Amendments require the Justice Department to destroy the record of a buyer whose NICS background check was approved within 24 hours. This makes it harder to catch law-breaking gun dealers who falsify their records, and it makes it more difficult to identify and track straw purchasers who buy guns on behalf of criminals who wouldn't be able to pass a background check.
ATF still does not have the power to require dealer inventory checks to detect lost and stolen guns:
While dealers must notify ATF if they discover that guns from their inventories have been lost or stolen, the Tiahrt Amendments prevent ATF from requiring gun dealers to conduct annual physical inventory checks to detect losses and thefts. ATF reported that in 2007 it found 30,000 guns missing from dealer inventories based on its inspection of just 9.3% of gun dealers.
State and local authorities are still restricted from using trace data to fully investigate corrupt gun dealers and traffickers:
While the FY 2010 appropriations language restores full access to crime gun trace data for state and local law enforcement, the Tiahrt Amendments continue to restrict what state and local law enforcement can do with trace data they have gathered. For example, state and local law enforcement are still prohibited from using trace data in civil proceedings to suspend or revoke the license of a gun dealer who was caught breaking the law.