Friday, September 2, 2011

Report: Manufacturers lost track of more than 16,000 guns since 2009 -- and that's actually underguessing it

Thousands of firearms have gone missing from manufacturers' inventories since 2009 "without a record of being legally sold," according to a report released Thursday by a gun control advocacy group.

The report by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence put the number of missing weapons at 16,485.

"It is shocking that gun makers are so oblivious to public safety that they lose track of thousands of guns every year," Henigan, acting president of the Brady Center, said in a statement. "Given the lethality of its product, the gun industry has a special duty to act responsibly. Instead, it has a scandalous record of carelessness."

The Brady Center report suggests that some guns may never have had serial numbers stamped into them, making them virtually impossible to trace. The group says that the missing guns are often used by criminals precisely because they are so hard to trace.

The report does not mention which manufacturers are reported to having missing firearms. The Brady Center says the data was collected from a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives report that was presented to the gun industry last month.

But the report also states that ATF conducts their compliance examinations at only about 20% of gun dealers and manufacturers each year, and says as a result, "The 16,485 'missing' guns are likely a vast undercount of the total number of guns that disappeared from gun manufacturers in the last two and a half years." more