According to a new first-of-its-kind report, 1,353 firearms in Minnesota were reported lost or stolen last year, MPR reports.
The data was logged into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, used by law enforcement officers around the nation. The Obama administration earlier this year ordered that the data be more widely available, so the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms compiled the recent report, MPR reports. The document amounts to the nation’s first state-by-state publicly released account of missing firearms, Governing magazine noted.
For comparison, Minnesota's 1,353 lost/stolen firearms were dwarfed by the figures in Texas, the top state for total firearms reported lost and stolen in 2012, with 18,874.
Nationwide, there were reports of 190,342 lost and stolen firearms in 2012, according to the report. The majority — 183,660 — were stolen guns, USA Today reports.
Those are specific numbers, but not accurate ones, the report notes. Those are likely just a small fraction of the actual number of firearms stolen or lost, due to several factors: "Reporting by law enforcement is voluntary, not mandatory, and thus the statistics in this report likely reveal only a fraction of the problem. Additionally, even where state and local law enforcement are consistently reporting statistics, many states do not require private citizens to report the loss or theft of a firearm to local law enforcement in the first place."
Lost and stolen guns are a "substantial threat to public safety," the report notes. It continues: "Those that steal firearms commit violent crimes with stolen guns, transfer stolen firearms to others who commit crimes, and create an unregulated secondary market for firearms, including a market for those who are prohibited by law from possessing a gun."