Laws passed under the Clinton administration, such as the Brady Law and the Violent Crime Control Act of 1994, changed the licensing procedures for federal firearms licensees by increasing fees and requiring gun dealers to submit photographs and fingerprints as part of their applications.One new proposal that CNN reported Sunday would also change the regulations related to how lost and stolen guns are investigated:
Primarily because of the increased regulation, the number of federal firearms licensees dropped from about 282,000 in 1993 to fewer than 104,000 by 1999.
“The complaints from the gun-control groups [in the 1990s] were that there were way, way too many FFLs, and the government needed to crack down on and reduce the number of licensees,” said Lawrence Keane, general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry’s trade association. “Now all of a sudden, we’re hearing the gun control groups say there aren’t enough licenses, and everybody needs to have a license.”
Gun control advocates are also anticipating that the administration will bolster regulations on the reporting of lost and stolen guns. Currently, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is only required to investigate a gun theft if 10 or more guns are stolen and one of them is used in a crime. The administration is expected to tighten those requirements by reducing the minimum number of guns stolen that would prompt an investigation, and potentially eliminating the requirement that one of the guns is used in a crime.
While all of this was either foreshadowed by the President in his weekly radio address on New Years Day or leaked from sources in the administration, neither source has been asked or volunteered to show how either of these actions would reduce crime committed with firearms. In fact, as Bearing Arms.com reported earlier this morning, per-capita homicides are their lowest levels since the Federal Bureau of Investigation began tracking that data in 1960.