More than 62,000 firearms have disappeared from licensed U.S. gun dealers in the past three years, says a Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence study reported by the Washington Post. The study says that the dealers did not have records of legal sales for the guns – an average of about 56 missing firearms per day. “It is unacceptable that weak federal gun laws and irresponsible gun dealers allow tens of thousands of firearms to leave gun shops without background checks or a record of sale,” said Paul Helmke, the center's president.
More than 21,000 firearms were missing in 2010, up from 18,323 in 2009 but down from 22,770 in 2008, said the study, compiled using data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The federal agency could not account for the guns during its compliance inspections of dealers. “We would like to see it where zero firearms are missing from inventory,” said ATF spokesman Scot Thomasson. “We take any missing firearms from inventory seriously and we do work with industry members to try and reduce the number.” The Brady Center believes the actual number of unaccounted-for guns is far higher because ATF inspects fewer than 20 percent of the nation's dealers annually.