ATF Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) Burglary and Robbery Statistics for Calendar Years 2013 – 2017

ATF Burglary and Robbery

Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) ATF Burglary and Robbery Statistics for Calendar Years 2013 – 2017

With the close of 2017, ATF has been working diligently to collate data from firearm Theft / Loss incidents. The FFL Burglary and Robbery Statistics for Calendar Years 2013 – 2017 report was released by the ATF on January 19, 2018.

In order to assist FFLs, we have assembled FAQs and a self-assessment of security practices, so you can assure your team and your business are taking all feasible business and asset protection steps.

How are FFL Firearms Losses Classified by ATF?

As discussed by ATF, Orchid Advisors and NSSF during the 2016 Firearms Industry Compliance Conference, firearm losses are classified by the incident which led to the loss: 

FFL Firearm Losses with an Event:

  1. Burglary – Firearm loss event occurs when building is illegally entered; no persons are present (i.e. AFTER business hours).
  2. Robbery – Firearm loss event occurs when building is occupied (i.e. DURING business hours; staff present)
  3. Larceny – Firearm loss event occurs when person(s) takes possession of property without intent to return (i.e. successful or unsuccessful shoplifting attempt). Larcenies are often discovered after the fact. 

FFL Firearm Loss without an Event:

  1. Interstate Theft/Loss – Firearm loss event occurs when firearm(s) are do not successfully arrive at the intended recipient when a third-party shipper is utilized.
  2. Missing from Inventory – Firearm loss event occurs but there is no defined cause/event for the loss (i.e. firearm cannot be located during inventory reconciliation; no apparent theft). 

What are the trends in FFL losses for 2017?

During calendar year 2017, there were approximately 1,270 incidents at FFLs nationwide, with more than 9,000 firearms were reported as theft / loss. There was an increasing trend in “smash & grab” type FFL robberies; there were no increases in FFL safe/vault breaches.  Further, stolen vehicles were occasionally used to attempt to destroy physical security barriers including ramming buildings and/or removing burglar bars.  Therefore, FFLs experienced significant financial losses not only in inventory, but losses due to building damage.

Where are stolen firearms usually recovered?

Most stolen firearms are recovered locally, meaning firearms taken from your business are usually recovered in the community you and your customers reside.

What types of firearms are typically stolen?

Handguns are stolen at a much higher rate than long guns at a ratio of 3 handguns stolen for every 1 long gun stolen.

How are thieves accessing businesses?

The most common means of entry was breach of front / rear doors and breaking windows.  It is recommended additional security measures be taken to assure all doors and windows are secured during and after business hours, and that all security devices are routinely inspected to assure proper functionality.

Is there any way to know if other FFLs in my area are experiencing losses?

Yes. ATF will notify FFLs via telephone when a licensee in their area has experienced a theft or burglary that resulted in the loss of firearms. A short, automated message will be sent out to Type 01 and Type 02 FFLs’ business telephone number, on record, alerting them to a robbery or burglary that has occurred within their county. These calls will be made between 9am-5pm (all time zones), 7 days per week. It is important to note that no information will be collected from FFLs during these calls, the victimized FFL will not be identified, and there is no requirement to call back or follow-up. Please visit for more information on fflAlert.

What are some recommended “best practices” for FFLs?

  1. Get to know your business neighbors, and share information regarding suspicious activity, including alarms being activated, whether or not a loss occurs. Occasionally criminals will “test” law enforcement response times by activating a nearby store’s alarm.
  2. Routinely evaluate your security program for potential gaps, including taking the FFL Security Self-Assessment.
  3. Be vigilant with your security practices, including noting suspicious activity.
  4. Keep employees aware and trained in your security program, with necessary disciplinary actions for security program failures.

What types of incidents/circumstances besides Theft/Loss should I be aware and/or report to ATF?

Keep your local ATF field office informed:

  1. Any burglary, robbery, or attempted burglary or robbery of your FFL location, even if firearms are not lost/stolen
  2. Suspicious activity and/or persons
  3. Any failures of your security system and anticipated date of repair

What Can I Expect After Theft/Loss Event?

Unlike firearm theft/loss from individuals, ATF is the law enforcement agency on point to investigate all FFL firearm theft/loss.  This means, once a loss is discovered, local ATF Agents and local ATF Industry Operations Investigators (IOIs), will be working – often on the FFL premises – to assist with determine lost/stolen firearms as well as collect evidence and conduct interviews.

What is the difference between an ATF Agent and an ATF Industry Operations Investigator (IOI)?

The ATF is a large, complex organization with many different types of employees.  An Industry Operations Investigator or IOI works to assure FFLs are fulfilling all federal, state, and local requirements to maintain their license. IOIs conduct inspections of FFLs’ records including ATF Form 4473s, A&D Book, etc. during their routine visits.  IOIs are not law enforcement agents, so they do not carry badges but do have ATF credentials.  On the other hand, ATF Agents are law enforcement officials.  In this capacity, ATF Agents work to investigate all crimes and potential crimes subject to ATF purview, complete with badge and gun.

Who can I contact with additional questions/concerns?

ATF Field Offices

Additional Information On FFL Security and Security Related Events