WASHINGTON – Today, 23 U.S. Senators reintroduced the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) Protection Act of 2023 to address the unacceptably high number of “smash-and-grab” thefts targeted at federally licensed gun dealers by enhancing penalties for criminals who steal firearms from federally licensed firearms and ammunition dealers.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reported that from 2017 to 2021, 5,395 FFL theft incidents were reported. During these incidents, a total of 34,339 firearms were stolen from FFLs. Theft from FFLs account for three percent of all firearms stolen in the United States, and many of these firearms end up being used in other crimes. South Carolina saw 919 firearms stolen from FFLs from 2017 to 2021.
The legislation was led by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Dr. Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Pete Ricketts (R-Nebraska), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ted Budd (R-North Carolina).
“I am proud to reintroduce this important legislation to make ‘smash-and-grabs’ more costly for criminals, especially when crime is rising under the Biden Administration. I believe in responsible gun ownership – not criminals stealing firearms,” said Senator Graham.
“Not only is firearms theft a crime, but it’s also a threat to public safety and an affront to the Second Amendment. Our bill backs the licensed businesses and gun owners who follow the law by stiffening penalties for people who steal or attempt to steal firearms,” Senator Grassley said.
“We need to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals. This commonsense legislation will help better protect federally licensed gun dealers from robberies and crack down on the criminals who break our laws and make our communities less safe,” said Senator Tillis.
“Tens of thousands of firearms stolen from federally-licensed firearm retailers are certainly contributing to rising violent crime rates in recent years. Stiffening penalties for these crimes should help increase public safety, curb these thefts, and take violent criminals off our streets,” Senator Hyde-Smith said.
“Protecting the Second Amendment means upholding the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms. This legislation protects those citizens and holds criminals who commit firearm theft accountable,” said Senator Crapo.
“No one wants a firearm to end up in the hands of a criminal. Stiffening the penalties for those who steal firearms from federally licensed retailers will ensure accountability and make our communities safer,” said Senator Blackburn.
“Democrats are determined to restrict Second Amendment rights for law-abiding gun owners but haven’t taken action to hold criminals accountable. Violent crime is rising and criminals, especially those who steal firearms, must face serious consequences,” said Senator Cotton.
“Serious crimes require serious punishments. Theft of a firearm certainly warrants substantial punishments for the criminal, which is why I’m proud to join Senators Graham and Crapo in introducing the Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act. Our bill will protect our licensed firearms dealers and hold criminals accountable,” said Senator Risch.
“The crime wave across Democrat-controlled cities is made worse by criminals stealing and circulating firearms, not law-abiding Americans exercising their constitutional right to bear arms. Criminals who steal guns need more than a slap on the wrist, this bill increases penalties for those endangering our communities,” said Dr. Cassidy.
“Recent increases of smash-and-grab robberies and burglaries at federally licensed gun dealers resulted in firearms ending up in the hands of criminals. Our legislation discourages bad actors from stealing firearms and increases penalties for their lawlessness,” said Senator Cramer.
“The Second Amendment protects the rights of law-abiding gun owners, not criminals who steal firearms and hurt their neighbors. This legislation makes our communities safer by strengthening the penalties for those who commit ‘smash and grab’ thefts at federally licensed gun dealers. We must hold violent criminals accountable,” said Senator Ricketts.
“The FFL Protection Act will enhance penalties for offenders committing ‘smash-and-grab’ thefts targeting federally licensed gun dealers. I’m pleased to join my colleagues in ensuring that these criminals are punished to the fullest extent of the law—especially given rising crime nationwide,” said Senator Hagerty.
“Criminals who steal firearms from gun stores should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. This legislation would prevent gun thefts by strengthening the consequences for those who break the law, and I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to support it,” said Senator Cornyn.
“Criminals who target licensed firearms dealers need to be held accountable and face strong penalties. I’m proud to support this legislation so we can safeguard our communities and prevent the possession of illegal firearms,” said Senator Boozman.
“Burglaries of gun manufacturers and dealerships continue to rise, which is why we must put solutions forward that deter these would-be criminals and seek to reduce violent crime. I’m proud to support this legislation that implements swift and strong penalties for firearm robberies, and further protects our communities,” Senator Capito said.
“Anyone who steals a firearm from a federally licensed firearm seller should face serious criminal penalties. This legislation would increase the penalties for thefts targeted at federally licensed gun dealers, sending a clear message that this type of crime will not be tolerated,” said Senator Rubio.
“Protecting Americans from criminal violence should not mean going after law-abiding firearms owners. This bill targets actual criminals who steal guns from licensed dealers and increases penalties for those who would do harm to the innocent,” said Senator Hawley.
“As we continue our efforts to bolster public safety and combat violent crimes across America, I’m pleased to join my colleagues to enhance penalties on firearm theft from law-abiding business owners,” Senator Murkowski said. “By increasing prison sentences, this legislation sends a strong signal to criminals, that they will be held accountable for their actions. This is an important step toward helping address gun violence and keeping our communities safe.”
“Criminals who target FFLs should face severe consequences. That’s why I’m proud to support Senator Graham’s bill to stiffen the penalties on those who steal firearms and bring more mayhem to our streets,” said Senator Budd.
The FFL Protection Act of 2023:
- 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.
The legislation is supported by the National Sports Shooting Foundation (NSSF).
“This is what true gun safety legislation looks like. Senator Graham’s FFL Protection Act sends an unequivocal message to criminals intent on burglarizing and robbing firearm retailers that the safety of America’s communities is nonnegotiable,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel, The Firearm Industry Trade Association. “This legislation sends a strong message to violent criminals engaging in these illicit activities that there will be accountability and consequences for their crimes. This legislation assigns the responsibility for the crime where it belongs – with the criminal. Senator Graham has been a staunch advocate of holding criminals accountable and protecting firearm retailers. This legislation does both. This legislation is real solution that will make our communities safer.”