Washington (May 19, 2022) – As the United States faces a gun violence epidemic, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) led his Senate colleagues in a letter to 28 shipping companies expressing their concern that lax shipping security measures could contribute to firearm theft and make it easier for criminals to get their hands on lethal firearms. Though government statistics on stolen firearms are incomplete, reports indicate that criminals appear to be exploiting loopholes and weak points in the firearm supply chain to steal weapons and use them to commit crimes. As a result of the Trump administration’s decision to exempt firearm manufacturers and dealers from pandemic restrictions, gun sales and shipments have skyrocketed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing new opportunities for criminals to exploit weak regulations and security. According to new data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – released this week just days after two deadly mass shootings – gun production in the United States has tripled since 2000. The Senators are requesting these companies provide them with information regarding the number of firearms shipped and the security policies in place to prevent loss or theft of firearms.
“Over the past two years, gun sales have skyrocketed, in part because the Trump administration declared that FFLs were essential businesses and therefore exempt from many pandemic restrictions,” wrote the lawmakers. “This decision allowed dealers to sell more guns than ever before. To meet this demand, firearm manufacturers and dealers shipped guns across state lines in huge numbers, providing new opportunities for criminals to exploit the weak regulation and lax security measures in the shipment process. For these reasons, we are concerned that shippers are not taking the necessary steps to protect firearm shipments and do their part in addressing the gun violence crisis facing this country.”
A copy of the letters can be found HERE.
Joining Senator Markey in signing the letters are Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).
The Senators request the shipping companies provide answers to the following questions:
This letter was sent to the following shipping companies: ABF Freight System, BNSF, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, Crete Carrier, CRST International, CSX, Daseke, Estes Express Lines, FedEx, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Knight-Swift Transportation, Landstar System, Norfolk Southern, Old Dominion, Prime, R+L Carriers, Saia, Schneider National, Southeastern Freight Lines, TFI International, Union Pacific, United States Postal Service, UPS, U.S. Xpress Enterprises, Werner Enterprises, XPO Logistics, and Yellow Corp.