LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — One month and two days after 20 children and 6 adults were shot and killed in a Connecticut elementary school, President Barack Obama announced a plan to reduce gun violence in the U.S.
On January 16, 2013, Obama laid out 23 executive actions, one of which called on the Department of Justice to prepare a report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns. The end result, released earlier this week, shows that Maryland had one of the greatest number of firearms reported lost or stolen from Federal Firearms Licensees in 2012.
It came in third, after two much larger states — Pennsylvania and Texas. In Maryland, the report says, 984 guns were reported lost or stolen from FFLs, who are required to report missing guns within 48 hours. In comparison, there were no reports in D.C. in the same time period and just 272 in Virginia.
FFLs can include collectors, pawnbrokers, gun and ammunition manufacturers and importers.
“Lost and stolen firearms pose a substantial threat to public safety and to law enforcement,” the report says. “Those that steal firearms commit violent crimes with stolen guns, transfer stolen firearms to others who commit crimes, and create an unregulated secondary market for firearms, including a market for those who are prohibited by law from possessing a gun.”
Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a gun-control measure in May to give Maryland some of the nation’s tightest gun laws. It takes effect Oct. 1. One of the legislation’s provisions will allow the state police to supplement enforcement efforts of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Vincent DeMarco, President of the Board for Marylanders To Prevent Gun Violence, says that will be key in preventing gun loss and theft, particularly with FFLs, in the state.
“Most gun dealers are honorable people trying to do the right thing but there are a few who try to make a quick buck and let these guns go where they shouldn’t go,” he said. “The feds just don’t have the capacity to really enforce these laws around the country.”
Another of the law’s provisions will require mandatory reporting to law enforcement of lost or stolen firearms.
The Department of Justice report also lists the number of firearms owned by private individuals that are reported lost or stolen to law enforcement, but it says the statistical value of the database is limited because not all firearm thefts and losses are reported.
In Maryland, 1,964 lost or stolen firearms were reported to police in 2012. Texas topped that list, with 18,874 guns reported stolen or lost to law enforcement. Both D.C. and Virginia topped Maryland, with 7,324 and 4,062 reports, respectively.
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