This week, U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., showcased the “Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act.”
Rutherford introduced the bill earlier this month with U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, as the only co-sponsor.
“This bipartisan legislation will enhance penalties for individuals stealing firearms from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) dealer, a firearms and ammunition seller. Penalties would include minimum sentences of three years in prison for burglary and five years in prison for robbery,” Rutherford’s office noted. “According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), between 2017 and 2021, there were over 2,254 burglaries and robberies of FFL dealers. During this period, over 28,000 firearms were stolen, many showing up at crime scenes.”
Former U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Penn., who was defeated in a Democratic U.S. Senate primary last year, had been the main backer of the bill.
“As crime rises across the nation, additional steps must be taken to prevent criminals from stealing and trafficking firearms for violent crimes,” said Rutherford. “During my career in law enforcement, I saw firsthand how FFL dealers were targeted by criminals. This legislation will ensure that those who rob and burglarize federally licensed gun dealers receive adequate punishment for their crimes.”
“The United States has witnessed an uptick in violent crime, often with stolen firearms. It is time for change to stem this disturbing trend,” said Cuellar. “The bipartisan Federal Firearm Licensee Protection Act cracks down on criminals who attempt to steal or burglarize federal firearms licensees. I commend my colleague, Congressman Rutherford, for working with me across the aisle to crack down on criminals and curb gun violence across the country.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – The Firearm Industry Trade Association is backing the proposal.
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
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