SECURE Firearm Storage Act Introduced

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Senator Dick Durbin recently introduced the SECURE Act. The legislation, also known as Safety Enhancements for Communities Using Reasonable and Effective Firearm Storage Act is a measure that “would address the problem of ‘smash and grab’ gun store burglaries”. More from the press release:

…by requiring all firearms to be securely stored when a federally-licensed gun dealer is not open for business. Additionally, the bill would authorize the Attorney General to review and put forth additional security measures to reduce the risk of theft, and requires a new section on the FFL Application for an applicant to describe security plans before a license can be approved.

Gun thefts from FFLs are a significant problem across the country. In 2020, FFLs reported 492 burglaries to the ATF, and a total of 5,961 firearms were reported stolen during the burglaries. Many stolen guns are later used to commit violent crimes. The Chicago Tribune recently reported on a gun stolen from a Wisconsin gun store in 2016 – that gun has since been linked to 27 shootings in Chicago.

S.2908: SECURE Firearm Storage Act and the companion bill H.R. 5465: SECURE Firearm Storage Act, introduced by Congressman Bradley “Brad” Schneider seems to have the right intentions. However, if you look into the details, no, this is an onerous bill that is being proposed, which will be a major inconvenience to FFLs. Everything in this bill would act as an extreme hindrance to gun shops and dealers, while ignoring the fact that there are bad actors that are breaking into these locations and stealing firearms. From the bill text:

When the premises covered by the license are not open for business, the licensee shall, with respect to each firearm in the business inventory of the licensee—

“(i) secure the firearm with a hardened steel rod 1⁄4 inch thick through the space between the trigger guard, and the frame or receiver, of the firearm, with—

“(I) the steel rod secured by a hardened steel lock that has a shackle;

“(II) the lock and shackle protected or shielded from the use of a bolt cutter; and

“(III) the rod anchored to prevent the removal of the firearm from the premises; or

“(ii) store the firearm in—

“(I) a locked fireproof safe;

“(II) a locked gun cabinet (and if the locked gun cabinet is not steel, each firearm within the cabinet shall be secured with a hardened steel rod 1⁄4 inch thick, protected or shielded from the use of a bolt cutter and anchored to prevent the removal of the firearm from the premises); or

“(III) a locked vault.

I think Dick knows exactly what he’s doing by proposing this. Picture a large FFL, perhaps one of the outfitters we all like to go to. Now picture their gun cases and racks that go on for what seems miles. Hundreds and hundreds of firearms, each one required to be locked to a steel plate with a special lock. Yeah, Dick knows what he’s doing. How much money would it take to comport to this crazy standard? Nothing in the bill suggests that the government would help fund the ability of FFLs to achieve any of the security standards they have noted. No, not at all. But what the bill dose also do is some sneaky sneaky stuff by granting more powers to the Attorney General:

ADDITIONAL SECURITY REQUIREMENTS.—The Attorney General may, by regulation, prescribe such additional security requirements as the Attorney General determines appropriate with respect to the firearms business conducted by a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer, such as requirements relating to the use of—

“(A) alarm and security camera systems;

“(B) site hardening;

“(C) measures to secure any electronic record of the business inventory and firearm transactions of, and other dispositions of firearms by, the licensee; and

“(D) other measures necessary to reduce the risk of theft at the business premises of a licensee.”.

That last one has me nervous, “other measures necessary…” What the heck kind of blank check does Dick want to give to the AG? I can imagine all kinds of ways to be an obstructionist in the way of what I think could be necessary. That open ended power would go unchecked and unregulated, while FFLs suffer at the whims of an appointed, not elected, member of government bureaucracy. No thank you.

Now, I’m not an expert on FFLs, but I do know they already have some very strict standards to follow. Many FFLs are vested in protecting their inventories, as these are their assets. Further, no FFL want’s to have hanging over their head and or good name a pile of stolen firearms that the main stream media would have a field day with. Never mind the guilt of the moral implications. The ATF offers a lot of guidance on this subject to gun dealers in their “Safety and Security Information for Federal Firearms Licensees” booklet. From the booklet:

ATF recommends that FFLs take every precaution available to protect their firearms from theft or loss. This includes conducting periodic and thorough, physical inventories. At a minimum, an annual inventory or its equivalent is highly recommended. Physical security, including alarm systems, and safe business practices are also highly recommended and in some cases may be required by state or local law. This publication contains many tips and methods that licensees can utilize to enhance the safety of their inventory.

The ATF actively works with FFLs on making sure their property and affects are secured.

Dick, you’ve exposed your hand a little. This proposal is really nothing but a feel-good, “look I’m doing something” bill to pander to the anti-freedom caucus. This is to gain you some points to show that you’re tough on so-called “gun violence.” Your statement in the release is tell all:

“Illinois is awash in guns that come from other states with weaker gun safety laws. Our bill would help prevent ‘smash and grab’ burglaries which supply criminals with weapons they use to carry out acts of violence in our streets. This common sense measure will help stem the flow of guns into Illinois and prevent bloodshed in our neighborhoods,” Durbin said.

  1. You’re blaming Illinois’s (Chicago’s) problems on other states. Deflect responsibility.
  2. You used the phrase “gun safety laws.” This is code to get the commie mommies all riled up to support you.
  3. Okay, you do address this is to stop “smash and grabs” – Kudos for remaining on topic.
  4. You used the phrase “common sense measure.” Another phrase to elicit tingly feelings in civil rights hating Americans.
  5. And you link guns to “bloodshed” in your neighborhoods, rather than criminals. How about, again, taking responsibility for this?

Durbin’s position demonstrates his insincerity. At a minimum. Further, this shows either his lack of understanding of why there is so much crime in Chicago or his inability to admit it. Just because Chicago is a war zone does not mean the rest of the country is. This bill amounts to victim shaming. That’s what this does in essence. It’s the FFL’s fault they got robbed? Would Durbin say the same to someone that was raped? Instead of going after the victim in this equation, why doesn’t he propose measures that would actually hold our criminals accountable? Better yet, why not pick up the phone and call Lori Lightfoot and ask her to clean up her house? Chicago has been an unregulated crime ridden city since prohibition.

The SECURE Act. probably won’t get anywhere, but none the less it’s another threat designed to hack away at anything Second Amendment related. This is a dance in the blood of Chicago residents that in reality has bad policy and politics to blame, not firearms. The anti-freedom caucus may not be able to outright ban all firearms, even though they sure as heck will still try, but they’re going to regulate it into oblivion. We’ll be watching this bill as it progresses in Congress.