YOU will, of course, keep me advised as to our firearms bill. I should like to make some progress with this matter if possible. It also becomes especially important in view of certain recent developments with reference to high-powered pistols and revolvers. The problem is becoming more rather than less important, it seems to me.
I can put the situation in graphic form when I state that this afternoon I obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics on cases reported since January 1, 1933, to date, showing robberies and thefts from National Guard armories and other public institutions of government-owned firearms and ammunition, as follows: Number of firearms stolen, 2,047 (this includes pistols, rifles, automatic rifles, and machine guns); number of rounds of ammunition stolen, 273,326.
These figures seem to me to be appalling. While hundreds of these weapons have been recovered and while prison terms have been meted out to many of those who stole them, the fact remains that our great American underworld is armed to the teeth. It steals its heavier weapons and purchases its pistols. There is no legitimate reason on earth for an individual to have possession of a machine gun; nor do I believe that any honest citizen should object to having all classes of lethal weapons placed under registration. To permit the present situation to continue indefinitely amounts to a disclaimer of national intelligence.