U.S. Reps. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas.) introduced the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) Protection Act of 2023 (H.R. 2620) — a bipartisan bill aimed at strengthening and enhancing criminal penalties for thefts of firearms from federally licensed firearm retailers. Penalties would include minimum sentences of three years in prison for burglary and five years in prison for robbery.
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. Over 28,000 firearms were stolen during this period, many showing up at crime scenes.
The legislation is designed to send a strong message to the violent criminals engaging in these illicit activities, as well as provide for safer communities, assist law enforcement and protect the livelihoods of firearm retailers.
“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,” said Congressman Rutherford.
The Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act of 2023 has received support from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“This bipartisan legislation is what true gun safety looks like. Congress is sending a clear message that the safety of our communities is nonnegotiable and targeting firearm retailers to steal guns in order to commit further crimes is intolerable,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for NSSF. “The firearm industry is grateful to Congressmen Rutherford and Cuellar for reaching across the aisle to provide those firearm retailers who follow the law the protection they deserve. This legislation assigns the responsibility for crime where it belongs — with the criminal. These are real solutions that make our communities safer.”
The Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) Protection Act has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.