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There are at least 180 firearms and ammunition makers in Idaho, and the state is looking for more.After all: Idaho is a gun-friendly state. Why not encourage gun manufacturers to come in and set up shop?

Seminar Aims To Keep Guns From Criminals

Heath Druzin
Boise State Public Radio

There are a lot of guns in America – roughly one per person. And in Idaho, on top of high rates of ownership, gun stores, gun makers and ammunition manufacturers make up a sizeable part of the Idaho economy – two recent studies put the state as one of the top two as far as economic impact per capita from the firearms industry.

On Thursday, federal agents came to town to help those businesses stay on the right side of the law. One of the jobs of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is to keep legal weapons from falling into the wrong hands.

At the seminar, ATF officials showed local gun dealers and manufacturers strategies to keep their wares safe from burglars during a seminar at Boise City Hall.

"Federal firearms burglaries, they've been on the rise for the past number of years. Thankfully here in Idaho we've seen a drop in the number of burglaries from 2017 to 2018." - Jason Chudy, ATF spokesman.

The number of firearms reported stolen from licensed gun dealers in Idaho dropped from 30 to 1 from 2017 to 2018, according to ATF statistics. Another 142 weapons were reported lost in 2018. Those numbers might not tell the whole story, though, as not all lost weapons are reported and the ATF statistics don’t take into account guns stolen from private owners.

More than 1,400 people hold Federal Firearms Licenses in Idaho, according to the ATF. That makes it especially important to convince manufacturers to do all they can to make sure firearms are sold only to people legally allowed to purchase them, Chudy said.

“Our goal is not to impede the second amendment right for people to have firearms,” he said. “When it comes to the firearms industry, we want to make sure that they’re doing this lawfully.”

With a small staff to inspect all of those gun businesses spread across the country, the ATF hopes seminars like the one in Boise convince the gun industry to voluntarily do their part to keep guns away from criminals.

Follow Heath Druzin on Twitter @HDruzin for more local news.

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