Part of the core mission of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is protecting the public from violent crime involving the use of firearms. It includes weapons that are stolen or lost and used by violent offenders when committing a crime and/or posing a threat to the public and law enforcement. There are 137,464 active FFL's registered with the ATF. Each year, the ATF releases a federal firearms licensees (FFL) Thefts/Loss Report showing the number of firearms lost and stolen from FFLs during that calendar year. Yesterday they released the Calendar Year 2016 FFL, Theft/Loss Report that showed that 9,113 firearms were reported lost and 9,281 were reported as stolen.

Highest number since 2012

The report includes a statistical state-by-state breakdown, the top five states with the highest totals of stolen/lost weapons include:

  • Georgia, 1,593
  • Florida, 1,260
  • Texas, 1,247
  • Alabama, 1,182
  • California, 1,163

The total number of lost and stolen firearms nationwide came to 18,394. These figures show that there has been a significant increase in the number of robberies and burglaries in which firearms were stolen from federal firearm licensee's since 2012. The number stolen during a FFL burglary rose by 72.53%; 7,488 in 2016 compared to 4,340 in 2012. The number stolen during a FFL robbery rose by 213.56%; 370 in 2016 compared to 118 in 2012. The report also showed that 1,423 weapons were stolen by person/persons committing larceny.

Pistols top the chart

The Calendar Year 2016 FFL, Theft/Loss Report also shows the totals on the types of weapons reported stolen from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016. The top six include:

  • Pistols, 8,647
  • Rifles, 4,246
  • Revolvers, 2,000
  • Shotguns, 1,640
  • Receiver/Frames, 1,421
  • Silencers, 265

FFLs must report each lost or stolen firearm within 48 hours of discovery of the loss or theft, they must also report the firearm loss or theft to the appropriate local law enforcement agency.

When an FFL discovers his firearm has been lost or stolen, ATF Industry Operations Investigators (IOI) will assist the FFL in determining exactly which firearms are missing from the FFL inventory. In fiscal year 2016, the ATF initiated criminal investigations into 31,853 firearms cases and conducted 9,790 compliance inspections. The ATF is the lead federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction involving firearms and violent crimes, and it regulates the firearm industry.