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Hyde-Smith cosponsors bill to combat “Smash-and-Grab” gun thefts

Photo courtesy of TeleSouth Communications Inc.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith is supporting the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) Protection Act of 2021, a bill to combat the increase of “smash-and-grab” thefts targeted at federally licensed gun dealers.

Introduced Thursday by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, the measure would strengthen the maximum penalties for firearm thefts from licensed gun dealers.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reported 6,269 firearms taken nationwide FFL in burglaries and robberies in 2020, including 223 firearms stolen from FFLs in Mississippi.

“Criminals who burglarize, rob, and steal from federally licensed firearm retailers must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to help prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands.  Enhancing criminal penalties should help take these violent criminals off our streets and increase public safety,” Hyde-Smith said.

The FFL Protection Act of 2021 would:

  • Increase the statutory maximum penalty for knowingly stealing any firearm in an FFL’s business inventory from 10 to 20 years.
  • Impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years for burglary from an FFL and 5 years for robbery from an FFL.
  • Criminalize the attempted theft of a firearm from a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer, or collector.

Overall, the ATF reported a 43 percent increase in the number of FFL burglaries and a 15 percent decrease in the number of FFL robberies from 2019 to 2020.  While the number of robberies decreased, the number of firearms taken during robberies increased by 53 percent.

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