Recreational Firearms Shooting. It's one of the SAFEST sports.



"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."


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Are governments this stupiod?

Walmart got it right when it announced in early September, following the mass murder of 22 people at one of its El Paso stores, that it would cease selling ammunition for all handguns and military-style weapons. It was the corporation’s way of saying getting the guns is not the answer.

The truth is, the guns can’t be gotten. I’ve seen that in Connecticut, a state known for its stringent gun laws. Several months before the 2012 tragedy in Newtown, I happened to be in Stamford police headquarters. Taped to a wall was a flyer announcing the city’s latest anti-gun campaign, requesting that citizens voluntarily turn in their firearms.

“How many guns have you collected?” I asked the officer on duty.

“About 75.” It was more than he’d expected, he said.

For an informal effort in a small city where no mass shooting deaths have occurred, it seemed a worthwhile beginning, until I spoke with U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, my congressman.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “I went to one of those in Bridgeport not long ago. You should have seen the guns people turned in. Some of them were rusty. They looked about a hundred years old.”

According to Himes and the officer with whom I spoke, none of the near-useless weapons turned in was illegal. And that’s the fundamental problem. It’s difficult to convince legal gun owners to part with a viable weapon. What hope is there that a criminal, or a person who is mentally unfit, will voluntarily surrender one?

The illicit firearms currently on the streets are staying there, and their number is staggering. In 2018, in Chicago alone, police confiscated more than 9,600, an average of more than one an hour. And still, the Chicago Tribune reported, through Oct. 27 there have been 2,313 city shootings in this calendar year.

The most expedient method of removing firearms from those who shouldn’t have them would be to pass federal legislation making confiscation mandatory — as Australia did, following a spate of mass killings that culminated in a 1996 night club massacre that took 35 lives. Twelve days later, the nation enacted strict gun reform legislation that limited the types of firearms available to civilians. The government has since collected and destroyed more than a million weapons through buyback and amnesty programs. Over the next 18 years, Australia suffered not a single fatal mass shooting of five or more deaths.

A better solution here, where the National Rifle Association is so influential, would be to render illicit firearms useless.

It is not as insurmountable as it might appear.

Today, one can walk into a gun shop and purchase, for instance, a .22, .38 or .44-caliber handgun. Most firearms are built to accommodate one size round only. Here’s what would happen if the manufacture of today’s standard-size rounds were outlawed, and .21, .37, or .43-caliber rounds took their place: Eventually, gun owners would run out of the old ammo, and their weapons would become paperweights.

We’d have the opportunity for a national gun policy do-over. New, tougher gun registration and ownership policies, some already favored by NRA membership, would be enacted in conjunction with the changeover in rounds calibration. Fresh attention could be paid to newer, research-vetted strategies, such as the universal adoption of smart-gun technology and limiting the size of rounds available to civilians. Police and military would keep their current firearms and ammuntion, manufactured and distributed under strictest control.

To use the recalibrated rounds, people would have to purchase new weapons to fire them. Many would object. Why should a law-abiding citizen spend hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars to replace one’s gun collection?

Gun manufacturers could offer a six-month window for any person eligible to turn in their old weapons and receive a partial rebate toward the purchase of new ones. For manufacturers and retailers, these sales would amount to a windfall of epic proportions.

Jesse Jannetta, a senior policy fellow for the Urban Institute, said such a plan “might have a substantial impact on mass shootings.” As for street violence, he added, “A lot of that is about the circulation of illegal guns, so maybe it would have a lot of impact there, also.”

A democracy sometimes requires that we sacrifice convenience for the public good. Passing through airport security is a hassle, but we accept it. It helps keep us safe. So would this proposal, even if it’s not an overnight solution. Law-abiding citizens could still own guns. And that is all the second amendment promises. It does not prohibit federal or state governments from regulating the type of weapon one may own.

This is crazy..

U.S.A.-( The Attorney General of New York, recently elected and rabidly anti-Second Amendment, Letitia James, is attempting to intimidate online sellers of the materials and tools used to make firearms into not selling them to New York residents.  She claims the companies are promoting law breaking. From the

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that she has directed the operators of 16 websites that manufacture and/or sell firearms or firearms components to “cease and desist” selling nearly complete assault weapons into New York State. The possession, manufacture, and sale of assault weapons is illegal in New York, but these companies have been providing the means to violate the state’s assault weapons ban, and often specifically advertise their products as a way to evade law enforcement with phrases like, “If they don’t know you have it, they can’t take it.”

“There is only one purpose for the products that these companies are selling — to manufacture illegal and deadly assault weapons,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “The proliferation of these types of weapons has not only caused indescribable suffering across the country, but gravely endanger every New Yorker. We must make sure that these illegal and untraceable guns are not built in New York.”

There are serious problems with AG Letitia's claims. She is the one who is breaking the law, not the sellers of metal and tools.  The law banning the possession of semi-automatic rifles in New York is flagrantly unconstitutional. Such rifles are in common use, are used in self-defense and defense of the home, and are shown to be far less commonly used in crime than semi-automatic pistols. She has a duty to uphold the Constitution and the Second Amendment. A court case challenging the law worked its way to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Unfortunately, the Courts have supported this flagrant infringement on the Second Amendment. Because of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the NYR&P club decided not to pursue the case to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has yet to hear the issue.

AG Letitia James is wrong in her assertion that these products only have one purpose, and that purpose is an illegal one, based on the flagrantly unconstitutional New York law.

New York banned the sale of many semi-automatic firearms, including the ubiquitous and popular AR-15 type of rifles, based on a number of cosmetic features. Here are the cosmetic features:  N.Y. Penal Law 265.00(22) 

22. “Assault weapon” means

(a) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following characteristics:

(i)a  folding or telescoping stock;

(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

(iii) a thumbhole stock;

(iv)a second hand grip or a protruding grip that can beheld by then on-trigger hand;

(v)a bayonet mount;

(vi)a flash suppressor,muzzle break, muzzle compensator, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor, muzzle break, or muzzle compensator;

(vii) a grenade launcher;

Anyone who is making a rifle from the partly machined aluminum paper weights can make legal rifles by making sure they do not have the features forbidden by the law.  Such paper weights can be used to make rifles that are not semi-automatic.

Rifles that meet these requirements are not required to be registered in New York. People who move to New York can bring their rifles, which meet these requirements, into New York, without problems.

Any person can “make” an existing semi-automatic rifle into an “assault weapon” under New York law, simply by changing the grip, or stock or threading the muzzle. Such actions are much easier than doing the machining necessary to turn the paperweight into a functioning firearm.

There are several other ways the lower receiver of an AR-15 type rifle can be made by people in their homes.

The ability to make firearms is clearly part of the Second Amendment. Individuals have been legally making their own firearms for at least 500 years, which includes the entire existence of the United States.

There were no laws infringing on the making of firearms when the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791.

A new infringement on the Second Amendment, such as a ban on making your own firearm, is clearly unconstitutional.

Once you try to ban the making of firearms, it becomes apparent, to have much effect, you need to make the knowledge to make firearms illegal. New York is in the process of attempting to do that. To do so, you must violate the First Amendment.  From

“This has turned into a classic First Amendment case,” Gottlieb said. “Only because this case involves technical information on production of firearm components on a 3-D printer have these anti-rights officials acted to squelch it. We cannot allow this to happen.”

Then, people trying to ban the making of firearms ban the sale of firearm parts.

Then they ban the sale of tools useful in making firearms, without special licenses.

These are things the New York State government is in the process of doing.

They are blatant violations of the First Amendment and the Second Amendment.

New York has always been an incubator for infringements on the Second Amendment.

They are one of only six states without a protection for the right to keep and bear arms in their state constitution.

They were the source of the infamous Sullivan law, where organized crime boss “Big Tim” Sullivan lobbied and had passed the handgun licensing law to protect his organized crime enforcers.

In 2016, New York was the scene of another scandal where gun permits were obtained through bribes.

The New York violations of the First and Second Amendments are wending their slow, arduous way through the courts. The Supreme Court has decided to hear one New York City case. There will be a hearing on 1 October.

Elections have consequences. President Trump's appointments to the Supreme Court could make the difference in the Court deciding to do their job, and enforce the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

This individual never stops

Although he’s out of office, former President Barack Obama has not stopped voicing his political opinions.

With gun control constantly being one of the most polarizing issues in America, it makes sense that Obama would offer his two cents on the matter, even while out of office.

Recently, Obama did just that, taking advantage of a trip to Brazil to lament to his audience about the horrors of American gun control laws. 

At the VTEX Day digital conference hosted in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the former president recounted the emotional distress he felt after the Sandy Hook massacre. Obama expressed his sorrow:

“The most difficult day that I’ve had, was the day where there was a shooting at a school. Uh, where, 20 small children were shot, as well as some teachers.”

He added, “I had to go and comfort the parents.” However, this speech was not just filled with sorrow.

Obama went on to score anti-gun talking points. The 44th president claimed that anyone can purchase a gun without having to go through much regulation. Plus, he stated that machine guns can be purchased online. 

Obama told his Brazilian audience: 

“Some of you may be aware our gun laws in the United States don’t make much sense. Anybody can buy any weapon any time — without much if any regulation, they can buy it over the Internet, they can buy machine guns.”

Obama’s assertions throughout this speech are not only misleading, but some are flat out wrong.

For starters, every gun owner in America must go through a federal background check in order to acquire a firearm. Further, machine guns have been subject to stringent federal regulations since the National Firearms Act was enacted in 1934, as the federal government didn’t stop regulating machine guns from there.

From 1986 and onward, civilians could only acquire machine guns that were “lawfully registered and possessed before May 19, 1986,” according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Hughes Amendment of the Firearm Owners Protection Act included this provision and has made the possession of machine guns overwhelmingly cost prohibitive for the average gun owner. 

Obama’s talk in Brazil is rather ironic given the South American country’s high crime rates and draconian gun control laws. Brazil had a homicide rate of 30.8 homicides per 100,000 people in 2017 and ranks among the most violent countries in the world. Gun ownership is not a right in Brazil and the average resident must jump through a complex maze of regulatory hoops such as registration and extensive background checks. As a result of such restrictions, only 3.5 percent of Brazilians owned firearms before 2004. 

If anything, Brazilians should be lectured on the benefits having looser gun control policies.

The good news is that the recent election of President Jair Bolsonaro has seen Brazil’s gun policy shift towards a more pro-gun direction with Bolsonaro signing an executive order that would loosen restrictions on gun ownership.

Gun policy might be a touchy subject, but policymakers and commentators would be wise to discard loaded soundbites and instead do more thorough research on the matter. A proper firearms policy of freedom would be a life-saver for many individuals.

American Civilians Estimated To Own 400 Million Firearms

400 million

Gun Store Wall (Photo by Michael Saechang)

In a new study published by the Small Arms Survey estimates that American civilians own owning just under 400 million guns. Worldwide it’s estimated that civilians own nearly 1 billion firearms, with India a very, very distant second to the US.

American Civilians Estimated To Own 400 Million Firearms

The report published by the Swiss-based research centre in June estimates that the number of firearms owned globally by civilians, military and law enforcement totals around 1.1 billion. With American civilians owning 393 million of those or 40% of the world’s firearms. That’s more than those held by civilians in the other top 20 countries combined.

It is difficult to quantify exactly how many firearms are privately owned in the US. There many numbers suggested by numerous sources with estimates ranging between 250 million to as high as 600 million. The Small Arms Survey’s estimations are based upon official firearms registration databases, expert estimates, surveys and comparisons to similar countries on page 8 of their report the Small Arms Survey go into detail on how they computed their estimates.

The report makes use of a number of tables and diagrams to break down the data and perhaps the most interesting is he first pie chart, seen below. It shows how over 1 billion firearms around the world are distributed with civilian ownership, at an estimated 857 million, by far the largest group.

Small Arms Survey global firearms ownership estimates

Small Arms Survey global firearms ownership estimates for 2017 (Small Arms Survey)


Here’s Small Arms Survey’s table showing the estimated total civilian-held legal and illicit firearms in the 25 top ranked countries and territories, 2017:

United States 393,300,000
India 71,100,000
China 49,700,000
Pakistan 43,900,000
Russian Federation 17,600,000
Brazil 17,500,000
Mexico 16,800,000
Germany 15,800,000
Yemen 14,900,000
Turkey 13,200,000
France 12,700,000
Canada 12,700,000
Thailand 10,300,000
Italy 8,600,000
Iraq 7,600,000
Nigeria 6,200,000
Venezuela 5,900,000
Iran 5,900,000
Saudi Arabia 5,500,000
South Africa 5,400,000
Colombia 5,000,000
Ukraine 4,400,000
Afghanistan 4,300,000
Egypt 3,900,000
Philippines 3,800,000

Just over 10 years ago, in 2007, the Small Arms Survey published a similar report that estimated that 650 million guns were owned world wide. The report also believed that 270 million of these were owned by US civilians. This clear increase shows that the US civilian market is the foremost driver behind the increase in firearms ownership in the world. The latest report suggests that 120 firearms are owned per 100 people in the US. By this metric the next country to hold a substantial number of guns per 100 people is Yemen, with 53 guns per 100 people. Japan and Indonesia have the lowest number of guns per 100 people, both with an average of just just 0.3 guns per 100 people.

The report’s author, Aaron Karp, said that “with acquisition averaging around 14 million guns annually during the last five years, growth of civilian holdings in the United States contributes disproportionately to the increase of the global firearms stockpile.”

Small Arms Survey have also created a dedicated interactive map that shows the distribution of firearms globally and by civilian, military and law enforcement ownership. Check it out here.

Sources: 1 2


"I'll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands." The slogan popularized by National Rifle Association (NRA) bumper stickers has been a rallying cry for gun owners over the last several decades. It reflects the sentiment that too many politicians don't respect the individual right to gun ownership ensconced in the Constitution. The challenge for most of gun owners is that amending gun policies isn't usually a give-and-take issue. It's often a take-and-take scenario facing even those of us willing to discuss policy reforms in good faith.

Most gun owners aren't really Second Amendment absolutists. We don't want violent felons carrying firearms. We're comfortable restricting gun ownership for people who have adjudicated mental incapacities. We also support reasonable age restrictions for purchase. Even as some politicians suggest we allow teachers to arm themselves in the classroom, I haven't heard anyone call for minor students to carry guns in school.

But even those reasonable restraints are concessions of individual gun rights. As best I can tell, gun control advocates aren't credibly offering to liberalize any gun laws in exchange for reforms in other areas. Otherwise, we could have already addressed glaring problems with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) through the FIX NICS Act that passed the House in December of 2017. Democrats balked at the idea of requiring reciprocity for concealed-carry permits across state lines.

As such, it's truly amazing that ideas like raising the age for certain firearm purchases, Texas's mental crisis gun seizure law, and playing hardball with states who shirk NICS reporting are viable. Even in an environment with no additional policy consideration put on the table for gun owners, modest reforms aren't definitively out of reach. 

If all this back and forth were really about improving gun laws, we'd have Republicans and Democrats seizing that common ground on politically achievable ideas and making progress. I haven't been shy about my personal willingness to engage, but my phone hasn't been ringing with calls from Democratic policy makers.

Modest achievable compromises won't be praised by the NRA or sufficient for anti-gun activists in the headlines. More specifically, reasonable policy consensus isn't the way to raise political dollars.

Take the recently formed NoRA Initiative for example. According to reporting by Time, Parkland shooting survivor and political activist David Hogg, Alyssa Milano, Jimmy Kimmel, Alec Baldwin and others have joined forces to "expose public servants who have been stymying gun control legislation after taking money from the NRA."

I'm not sure how they plan to "expose" information that is extremely well documented, public and campaigned upon. In most heavily Republican districts, NRA support is a critical advantage for candidates. They're not hiding from it; they prize it. In toss-up districts, candidates are generally smart enough to know whether the NRA affiliation is an advantage or disadvantage, and they act accordingly.

Progressives will love and applaud NoRA's "coalition" of liberals and liberals. Conservatives will largely ignore it. The NRA will point to the entity as an attack on gun rights by the leftist elite, raise more money, and increase membership. NoRA literally stands for "NoRifle Association." Gun owners like me don't see that as simply an anti-NRA stance; it's an attack on people who share similar views about the government's further encroachment on Second Amendment rights. It isn't a call for reasoned discussion.

On a similar note, the NRA's bellicose recent ads "coming for" the New York Times and warlike rhetoric toward political opponents are equally unhelpful. A "clenched fist of truth" sounds downright authoritarian. As much as I'm a fan of the Second Amendment, the first one is equally important. In fact, protecting the First Amendment is a primary reason I support the Second.

I don't want another civil war, but I am adamant about defending the Constitution that's served our nation well. At times, I'm going to agree with the ACLU on issues like free speech. On other occasions, it's the NRA on gun rights. Sometimes it's even stranger. I recently discovered that I agree with Kanye West on the importance of individual political expression.

We're spending too much time conflating gun policy reforms with political objectives. If NoRA wants to be the anti-NRA and a political fundraising machine for progressives, so be it. We're free to do that in America. But such efforts aren't about making policy headway any more than the NRA's fight ads.

Either we trade equal opposing political blows or genuinely seek common ground. It's incredibly difficult to do both. The latter is far less emotionally gratifying, but it's also more prudent. Gun owners give some ground, and the gun control crowd doesn't get everything it wants. Votes aren't there for a federal ban on AR-15 style guns. Aggressive federal licensure requirements are probably dead on arrival as well. Such compromise might make everyone a little unhappy, but good public policies usually do that.

I won't be joining the likes of Hogg and Milano at the NoRA Initiative, but I'm happy to discuss achievable policy reforms. While many gun owners are similarly open to improving gun policies, we're not interested in political surrender. The take and take tenor needs to find a little more give to law-abiding gun owners. That's understandably a tall order for gun control advocates, but it's much easier than trying to pry the guns out of our cold dead hands. 

By Cameron Smith Take on Take


New York Gun Bill


The passage of New York’s so-called SAFE Act (“Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013”) drastically changed the landscape for lawful gun owners in the Empire State. Besides new restrictions on commonly owned semi-automatic rifles the state calls “assault weapons,” bans on magazines, and limits on the number of rounds that could be loaded into a gun, the Act imposed a requirement that handgun license holders be “recertified” every five years, with all licensees completing the initial recertification by January 31, 2018. The recertification form requires that the licensee disclose his or her “name, date of birth, gender, race, residential address, social security number, [and] firearms possessed by such license holder,” along with the listed identifying details (make, model, caliber, and serial number). (“Firearm” under the applicable New York law means a handgun or other gun of a size which may be concealed upon the person.) 

A failure to recertify operates as an automatic revocation of the license. Possession of a “firearm” without a valid license is a criminal offense, and the revocation makes the person ineligible to apply for or renew a license. Once a license is revoked, state law mandates that every gun owned or possessed by the licensee be “surrendered” to a law enforcement agency. A New York State Police field guide on the SAFE Act, prepared by attorneys for the Division of State Police, unequivocally instructs officers that when “a licensee becomes ineligible to hold a pistol permit, the Safe Act requires the person to surrender all firearms to police, including all rifles and shotguns for which no license or registration is required.” (Emphasis in the original.) 

Should the person fail to comply by turning in every gun, the SAFE Act (codified as NY Penal Law 400.00(11)(c)) not only authorizes but requires that police officers confiscate such property: the guns “shall be removed and declared a nuisance and any police officer or peace officer acting pursuant to his or her special duties is authorized to remove any and all such weapons.”

Once the gun is deemed a “nuisance,” the owner loses the ability to reclaim or legally transfer it. State law directs that nuisance guns be destroyed without the need for a court order or other judicial proceedings, and courts have confirmed that a person has no “legitimate possessory interest” in firearms for which he or she has no license.   

The policy of recertification is clear: licensees who fail to comply – by inadvertently missing the deadline, for example – face having all guns, and not just the firearms covered by the license, permanently confiscated by law enforcement officers. Far from being overblown hyperbole, describing the recertification law as “the camel’s nose in the tent of gun confiscation” is not only accurate but arguably, an unduly benign portrayal of a grossly disproportionate regime to enforce recertification through mandatory surrender, police seizure, and destruction of otherwise legal property.       

Even assuming that license recertification is “a step for safety,” as the NYAGV member claims, it’s not clear how much less secure or safe residents would be if the recertification process included, instead, a grace period for late compliance or imposed a penalty fee for licensees who miss the deadlines but are eligible to recertify. Felons and other criminals are notoriously unlikely to obey gun licensing rules, and state law already makes any weapon that is used in the commission of a crime or that is unlawfully possessed a “nuisance” weapon. Judging from statistics from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (Nov. 2017) on “firearm activity” (based on reports from police agencies across the state), New York residents aren’t significantly more safe since the 2013 gun control legislation was imposed. The total figures for 2016 for “shooting incidents involving injury” and “shooting victims (persons hit)” exceed the totals listed in each of the previous seven years; the 2016 figure for “individuals killed by gun violence” shows a just under ten percent increase as compared to the five-year average prior to 2016.  

In the same way that anti-gun advocates consistently seek to disguise restrictive gun control measures under the veneer of “common sense,” “gun safety,” or “gun law reform,” they aim to influence public opinion towards “strengthening” gun laws by dismissing opposition to such laws by ordinary, informed Americans as the “mindless” nattering of a handful of extremists.   

As for New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the group’s own website proclaims that “NYAGV was instrumental in the passage of the NY SAFE Act in 2013.” That being the case, we may be excused for dismissing the article as no more than a stakeholder’s spin, aimed at securing public buy-in for a gun control law that extinguishes rights in the name of “public safety.”   

Source; NRA/ILA

In August, Seattle’s city council unanimously passed the “gun violence tax” that would charge an extra $25 for every gun purchase, and five cents for every bullet.

Reuters reports that several pro-Second Amendment groups filed an injunction, alleging the tax violated Washington state’s “law that bars municipalities from creating their own gun regulations.”

But Judge Palmer Robinson ruled against the injunction on Tuesday, saying the “gun violence tax” was a “lawful exercise of Seattle’s taxing authority.”

According to The Blaze, Tim Burgess, Seattle city council president, said:

“Judge Robinson saw through the NRA’s distorted efforts to put gun industry profits ahead of public safety.”

Aaron Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation countered:

“We are going to fight this vigorously in defense of a state preemption law that has served Washington citizens well for more than three decades.”

Speaking about the tax on Fox News, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson, made a salient comparison:

“Even from an epidemiological standpoint, it doesn’t make sense. Consider car accidents, which kill about three times more people than gun murders do. Would it make sense to increase the tax on car sales?… of course not. You look at the populations that are most likely to cause car accidents.”

Carlson then pointedly said what he believes this is all about:

“This is not actually an answer to gun violence. It’s a way of disarming law-abiding citizens.”

In April 2012, Cook County, Illinois, which contains the city of Chicago, enacted a similar tax on firearms.

According to City-Data, between 2009 – 2012, homicides in Chicago averaged 455 annually. In 2013, when the tax went into effect, there were 414 homicides in Chicago, a relatively significant decrease.

In 2014 and 2015, however, there were 435 and 465 murders respectively, averaging 450, according to The Chicago Tribune.

As of the end of 2015, Cook County’s gun violence tax seems to have had little effect on violence prevention.

Let’s put aside that the “gun violence tax” may be unconstitutional, since, as famously argued by Justice Marshall, “the power to tax is the power to destroy.”

An NRO chart makes one thing clear: While the gun homicide rate is down 49% since 1993, the number of guns in private hands has increased by 62%.

Perhaps if a citizen gets shot in a “gun-free zone,” the city of Seattle should be sued for false advertising

Private security company G4S arms approximately 5,700 guards throughout the United States. The company is licensed as a federal firearms dealer, even though it's not in the business of selling guns.

A USA TODAY/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found that G4S employees lose their company guns more than once a week, on average. Some of those guns are turning up in violent crimes, a problem G4S has been aware of for years but has been unable to rectify.

In  a November  interview, G4S Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel Michael Hogsten said the company in 2012 improved its ability to track company guns by overhauling its weapons policies and  digitizing its paper records. The company often finds or retrieves many of the guns it reports missing before they wind up on the street, he said.  

“Not one loss of a firearm is acceptable to us,” Hogsten said.

Here are five quick takeaways from the latest installment of our investigation into G4S:

G4S has reported at least 640 weapons lost or stolen since 2009 

On average, G4S has reported 59 guns missing per year. Those losses have continued at a steady pace, even after the company changed its policies in 2012.  For perspective, the Drug Enforcement Agency — which has twice as many guns as G4S — loses an average of five annually, according to federal audits. 

One of the missing G4S guns  was held to a woman’s head as a man threatened to rape her. Another was used to pistol-whip a pizza delivery driver. A third ended the lives of two men playing video games. 
Security giant G4S has lost hundreds of guns. Here’s where we found them.
Before they were used to hurt or kill people, each of these guns was assigned to a security guard at G4S.

In several cases, weeks, months or  years went by before G4S managers realized guns were missing  

In 2011, a G4S manager in Florida told police he couldn’t account for 18 guns, according to police reports. A year later, a newly hired supervisor in New Mexico reported six guns missing, telling police “prior management not keeping track of the firearms” was to blame. 

In 2013, a Florida police department dropped an investigation into a G4S employee suspected of stealing a company gun after discovering “there was no consistency to their policies or guidelines that were in place,” according to the police report. 

The next year, a G4S manager in St. Louis realized a gun was missing four months after the guard to whom it was assigned had left the company.

MORE: A year of violence at G4S, in charts

Hogsten blamed G4S employees who don’t follow company policy for  most of  the missing guns. G4S mandates that guards use company-issued cable locks to secure their weapons at home and in their cars so they can’t be moved or fired. Managers are also required by law to report missing guns to ATF within 48 hours.

G4S is now developing a software system that will flag headquarters when a guard leaves the company so executives can track if guns are returned, he said.

Reporters tracked the missing G4S guns 

Under federal law, almost all of the information about guns used in crimes is kept secret from the public. Reporters reviewed thousands of  pages of local  law enforcement records from around the country to create the most comprehensive public accounting of how so many G4S guns had disappeared and where they ended up. 

The effort revealed details about 154 of the lost guns, uncovering shoddy record-keeping and a pattern of negligence. Some guards quit or were fired and never gave back the guns. Others pawned them for money. Three dozen guards broke company policy and left weapons unsecured in their cars, where they were stolen. One lost his in a drug deal.

MORE: G4S guards in Florida: lost guns, sex sting arrests and fired cops

The records also show where 60  of the missing weapons  resurfaced: Inside a teen’s school locker. With a gun trafficker. In a string of armed robberies. 

Many of the lost guns have never been located – either by reporters, law enforcement or G4S. Those guns could be anywhere.

G4S gets the benefits of a firearms license without all the regulation

A federal license saves G4S time by allowing it to buy guns in bulk directly from manufacturers and ship them across state lines.  

Most firearms licensees are gun stores or collectors, which are  heavily regulated. Anyone who buys a gun from a licensed dealer must fill out a form that addresses criminal history, mental health and other issues that could bar them from owning a weapon. The shop must then contact the FBI, which verifies the information by checking its database.  When sending guns across state lines,  a licensee may only ship  them  to licensed dealers, not to other businesses or individuals. 

The system is meant to ensure that guns don’t fall into the wrong hands, and if they do, that officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can hold the gun dealer responsible.

But company executives said federal firearms laws didn’t apply to them because they were lending guns to employees, not selling them. ATF attorneys have concurred with the distinction, allowing G4S to have the benefit of a license without following all of the same regulations as gun dealers.

G4S said it screens potential employees thoroughly and that state licensing checks are often more rigorous than the laws placed on gun shops.

Some security companies make employees turn in company guns at field offices after their shifts. Others operate more like police departments, providing a list of approved sidearms for employees to buy on their own with the hope personal ownership will lead to more accountability.

From 2004 to 2017, ATF issued eight violations against G4S for problems with its firearms paperwork

During its most recent federal inspection of G4S, in 2016, an ATF  official cited the company for failing to properly document its guns.

That year, 65 guns went missing.     

“Some of the crimes that these firearms have been recovered in range from homicides, robberies, domestic violence,” the ATF report states. Other G4S guns  were found at suicides or in the possession of convicted felons, who aren’t legally allowed to have them, according to the report.    

Hogsten, who said he had not seen the full inspection report until reporters showed it to him, said no one at ATF brought concerns about missing G4S guns to his attention during the most recent inspection.  

“Their view is we've done everything they’ve asked of us and more,” Hogsten said. “And they believe our compliance is in line with what we should be doing.”

A law in Georgia is allowing for hundreds of people who were barred from buying firearms to slip around background checks, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. According to Georgia law, people who are involuntarily committed for mental health treatment are required to have their records of commitment erased from the National Instant Background Check System after five years. This includes patients who were committed for inpatient treatment, found incompetent to handle their own affairs, or found guilty of a crime but mentally ill; under federal law, however, such people are technically not supposed to possess firearms.

"We're pulling them back after five years," said GBI Director Vernon Keenan, whose agency provides the commitment records to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System. "That's a legal dilemma [because] that person is still prohibited from possession or buying firearms."

The names come off the national list without any review by a doctor or a court. Although these are federal records, participation in the program by each state is voluntary and subject to conditions the state may impose. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Georgia is the only state that automatically deletes involuntary commitment records.

However, others see the five-year expiration date as appropriate. “It's a tenuous position for someone to have had a mental illness. Your mental health when you're 25 years old is different from when you're 55 years old," State Sen. Renee Unterman said. "Why should you carry the baggage and stigma of mental illness?" Jeva Lange

For the fifth time since 2010, California took the top spot of all 50 U.S. states for enacting the strongest gun laws in a year, according to the most recent annual scorecard released by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The center, which tracks every state’s gun legislation, published its scorecard Wednesday, near the end of a violent year that has seen more mass shootings than the number of days on its calendar. Among the more high-profile mass shootings this year were the massacres at a social services center in San Bernardino, California; a community college in Roseburg, Oregon; a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana; and a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina.

On the digital scorecard, the organization ranks all 50 states based on 30 policy approaches regulating guns and ammunition, including strengthening background checks, limiting the purchase of multiple firearms per month and reporting lost or stolen firearms. States receive points for executing effective laws in each policy area. Universal background checks, for example, take priority because laws that prohibit who can possess and purchase firearms can’t be enforced without them, says Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney at the center.

Each year, the center’s scorecard continues to show a strong correlation between gun laws and fewer gun deaths. States with the weakest laws, such as 48th-ranking Wyoming and 49th-ranking Mississippi, have the fifth and third highest gun death rates nationwide, respectively. States with strong laws, such as California and fifth-ranking Massachusetts, have the 42nd and 49th lowest gun death rates.

California has previously enacted some unique laws, including the Gun Violence Restraining Order law, which allows authorities to suspend temporarily individuals’ access to guns if they are viewed as posing a significant threat to public safety. This year, the state passed a measure requiring residents with concealed carry licenses to obtain written permission from school officials before carrying firearms or ammunition onto the grounds of K-12 schools or university campuses.

Kansas, which has fallen nine points since 2014 and now ranks dead last, this year repealed its requirement for residents to have a license to carry a concealed firearm in public.

The center named the biggest legislative success this year as the new universal background check law in Oregon, enacted in May. Federal law requires background checks only on purchases at licensed firearms dealers, not at gun shows and on the Internet. But seven other states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island and Washington—also have laws requiring universal background checks.

RELATED: Oregon Becomes Eighth State to Expand Background Checks on All Gun Sales

In 2015, nine states passed laws preventing domestic abusers from accessing firearms.

The worst trends of 2015, according to the center, were the law passed in Kansas to allow people to carry a loaded, hidden gun in public without a permit—which also was enacted in Maine—and Mississippi’s measure allowing concealed firearms in a purse, bag or case without a permit.

“Our hope is that legislators and activists will look at their grades in their states and look at the data we’ve provided about what they can do to raise their grade,” Cutilletta tells Newsweek. “Every state has more that it can do.”

On Monday, Americans marked the three-year anniversary of the fatal shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 people died in December 2012. Since the massacre, 41 states and Washington, D.C., have passed 125 stronger gun laws, according to the center.

California has taken the No. 1 slot every year since the center first published its rankings in 2010. The group skipped 2011 because it didn’t anticipate publishing a scorecard each year. However, since the center’s legal experts analyze and collect information about gun measures throughout the year, they have proceeded to publish a scorecard each year since 2012.

The center was established in 1993 in the wake of a fatal shooting at a San Francisco law firm in July of that year. It aims to provide ideas and different approaches to activists dealing with the issue of gun violence in each state.

“We want people to understand the correlation between gun deaths in their state and the strengths of their gun laws to take action and improve their grade,” Cutilletta says.

A small Texas school district voted Wednesday night to allow some teachers to carry guns in the classroom.

School board members in the Keene Independent School District approved the policy, according to KDFW. The Keene district, located in Johnson County south of Fort Worth, has four campuses.

The station reported that the teachers who carry guns would be selected by the district and would only carry a firearm if they wanted to. The weapons would be provided by the district. Other Texas school districts have approved similar measures.

Keene ISD Superintendent Ricky Stephens initially opposed teachers carrying firearms in the classroom when he was hired three years ago. Stephens now said the world has changed, and so has his mind.

Stephens told KDFW that the fear a student might overpower a teacher and get a gun will not be an issue. Teachers who are involved with kids in higher level grades will not be selected to carry a gun.

“It could still turn into a gun fight no matter who has the gun, or children could get the gun,” Tanya Manuel, a parent of a child in the Keene ISD, told KDFW. “I mean, it doesn’t matter. It just scares me still.”

The policy will go into effect at some point next year, possibly as early as February or March.

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