Jones Becomes ATF's First Permanent Director in Seven Years; Recommendations Outline Best Practices to Crack Down on Gun Crime and Reduce Illegal Trafficking
NEW YORK, Aug. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following the swearing-in of B. Todd Jones as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the bipartisan coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns issued its top-line recommendations for steps Jones can take to help reduce gun violence during his first 100 days in this new role. The recommendations – which can be found in full here – include:
- (1) Directing inspectors to target "high-risk" gun dealers: By targeting high-risk dealers – which includes those who sell a high ratio of guns that are later recovered from crime scenes and those running a high ratio of background checks that are denied – ATF would be better positioned to detect traffickers and deter violent crime. The agency would also be better able to use its scarce resources effectively.
- (2) Targeting dealers with high numbers of lost or stolen guns: Between 2004 and 2011, ATF inspections found that 174,679 guns were missing from dealer inventories. Guns missing from dealer inventories are a red flag for illegal firearms trafficking. ATF should target such dealers, and the agency should accelerate its revocation actions for them – an area where the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) says ATF has fallen behind.
- (3) Tracking bulk sales of assault rifles and expand the program nationwide: Since August 2011, pursuant to its "demand letter" authority, ATF has required that all dealers in the four southwestern border-states (California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico) submit reports to ATF of all multiple sales of assault rifles. During its first eight months, the highly successful program generated more than 3,000 reports that accounted for the purchase of more than 7,300 assault rifles. ATF should reauthorize the program, which is set to expire in 2014.
- (4) Aiding local law enforcement by reinstating the annual publication of Crime Gun Trace Reports and by producing annual reports on the agency's investigative and inspection activities: The Crime Gun Trace Reports contained extensive analysis of crime gun trace data before they were shelved in 2000. The Reports provided law enforcement, policy makers, and the public with critical data on guns recovered at crime scenes, including the profiles and sources of guns, and the types of crimes in which they were used. Separately, ATF should produce annual reports on its investigative and inspection activities. These reports could be modeled after the Following the Gun report, which analyzed trafficking investigations from commencement through to sentencing.
- (5) Providing annual reports to dealers informing them of the number of guns they sold or lost that were later used in crimes or recovered at crime scenes: Roughly 1 percent of dealers account for nearly 60 percent of guns recovered in crime. Gun tracing reports would encourage dealers who are intentionally or inadvertently feeding the criminal market to comply with the law and to take steps to ensure they are not selling to straw purchasers or gun traffickers.
On July 31st, the Senate voted to confirm Jones as ATF Director, making him the agency's first permanent director in seven years. In turn, Jones will have an unprecedented opportunity to take real action to reduce gun violence in this country. His confirmation was among the top legislative priorities for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which endorsed Jones in a June 10th letter sent to Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.
About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 1,000 mayors from across the country. The coalition has more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making it the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country. Co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has united the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns. Learn more at www.MayorsAgainstIllegalGuns.org.
Alex Katz: firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-721-3779
SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns