• Wed. Mar 22nd, 2023


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6 Gun Shops, 11,000 ‘Crime Guns’: A Rare Peek at the Pipeline

Larry Keane, a top official with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms industry trade association, went even further, accusing gun control activists of trying to “name and shame” honest small-business owners and singling out Brady for compiling misleading lists of “bad-apple” dealers. He cited a 1998 report by the A.T.F., which described gun tracing as a “starting point” for investigators to unravel a defendant’s illegal behavior that “in no way suggests” the dealer’s culpability.

But gun control activists say the Pennsylvania data, however incomplete, points to an inescapable policy conclusion: The A.T.F., an embattled and chronically understaffed agency responsible for overseeing 75,000 licensed dealers, needs to intensify its monitoring and oversight of the most troubled gun sellers.

To that end, the Biden administration has proposed a 13 percent increase to the bureau’s budget, to pay for 140 new agents and 160 new investigators to inspect gun dealers.

The House oversight committee asked the A.T.F. in 2019 for data on gun shops that had received warnings or recommendations that their licenses be pulled, including the name and location of the dealer, the violations identified, the recommendations by the inspector and what steps the bureau took after the inspection.

The A.T.F. has not yet provided that information, which the committee says it needs to complete its investigation, now two and a half years old, into the role that gun dealers play in the epidemic of gun crime.

Ms. Maloney’s committee released its initial analysis of the data that the A.T.F. has provided, which included anonymized dealers, their gun sales and the number of those guns that had been traced back to crimes. It also shared how many of the documented gun crimes occurred within five years after the gun was sold.

The A.T.F. last released a large amount of similar data in 2000.

The bureau gave the committee six years’ worth of anonymized gun trace data for the top five dealers in each state. It also provided anonymized data on gun sales for 12 selected dealers in a handful of states.