A review done after the Sandy Hook massacre showed that Pennsylvania has more lost or stolen firearms in the last year than any other state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Pennsylvania’s “nearly 6,000 federal licensees couldn’t account for 1,502 guns – with most considered lost rather than stolen.” These lost guns are suspected of being sold illegally fueling the illegal gun sales market and making it difficult for law enforcement to trace the weapons used in crimes.
“The dogged campaign by anti-gun violence advocates like those at CeaseFirePA, and the national group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, for tighter controls on tracking weapons – with corresponding penalties for gun owners who fail to report missing weapons – is aimed at stopping straw buyers from funneling legally purchased weapons to felons and others barred by law from owning a gun. (That would include the mentally unstable, a safeguard seen as ever more critical in light of recent mass shootings at the Connecticut school, a Colorado theater, and elsewhere.)”
Currently, Philadelphia and 30 municipalities have passed local ordinances that require citizens to report lost and stolen weapons. Another 19 have called on the state to pass a statewide lost or stolen reporting requirement. Statewide action is required to make Pennsylvania safer.