WJTV-TV Jackson

Mississippi senator cosponsors bill to decrease gun thefts

By Garret Grove

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) cosponsored a bill to enhance penalties for stealing firearms. 

The Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) Protection Act of 2023 amends the United States Code to strengthen penalties for stealing guns from federally-licensed gun dealers. 

These thefts, known as “smash-and-grab” thefts, targeted at federally licensed gun dealers, have occurred frequently, according to reports from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Hyde-Smith believes that harsher punishments serve as a multi-faceted solution. 

“Stiffening penalties for these crimes should help increase public safety, curb these thefts, and take violent criminals off our streets,” Hyde-Smith said in a press release. 

The bill, introduced by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), does the following: 
•    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 three years for burglary from an FFL and five years for robbery from an FFL.
•    Criminalize attempted firearm theft from a licensed collector, dealer, manufacturer, or importer.

The ATF reported that from 2017 to 2021, 34,339 firearms were stolen from FFLs. Mississippi saw 1,023 firearms stolen in 157 thefts from FFLs from 2017 to 2021, which translates to about 0.83 guns stolen per FFL. 

Thefts from FFLs account for three percent of all firearms stolen in the United States. Over 1,000,000 guns were stolen from private citizens between 2017-2021.

Hyde-Smith is among the original cosponsors of the bill. All cosponsors of this bill are Republicans.