WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has introduced the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) Protection Act, which is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), John Cornyn (R-Texas), James Risch (R-Idaho), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Luther Strange (R-Alabama), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia).
The bipartisan legislation will help address the rapid increase in the number of ‘smash-and-grab’ thefts targeted at federally licensed gun dealers.
- Increases the statutory maximum penalty for knowingly stealing any firearm in an FFL’s business inventory from 10 to 20 years.
- Imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years for burglary from an FFL and 5 years for robbery from an FFL.
- Criminalizes the attempted theft of a firearm from a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer, or collector.
“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan effort to make ‘smash and grabs’ more costly for the criminal. I believe in responsible gun ownership – not criminals stealing firearms,” said Graham.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has reported a 48 percent increase in the number of FFL burglaries and a 175 percent increase in the number of FFL robberies over the past five years. Last year alone, 7,858 firearms were taken in FFL burglaries and robberies. South Carolina examples of thefts targeted at FFLs include:
- In July, 39 handguns were stolen during a break-in at a gun store in Gilbert.
- In June, burglars smashed through the front window and gun counter of a store in Fort Mill, making off with 22 handguns.
- Last October, thieves using Hurricane Matthew as cover smashed through windows and display cases in a gun shop in Horry County and stole 229 firearms worth over $200,000.
- Also last October, three teenagers in Simpsonville used a stolen minivan to ram through the front of a gun shop, where they stole 43 firearms.