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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, May 6, 2016
Contact: Public Affairs Division

ATF Releases International Firearms Trace Data Report

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today released several international firearms trace data reports for the top five reporting Caribbean nations, Canada, Mexico and several Central American countries. This trace data is gathered from ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC), which is the nation’s only crime gun tracing facility.

The reports relate to firearms recovered in these countries by law enforcement who requested ATF traces. Firearm trace data provides valuable investigative leads and specific trend data for our international partners.

Firearms tracing provides information on the movement of a firearm from the manufacturer or importer through the distribution chain in an attempt to identify its first retail purchaser. A firearm’s trace is typically conducted when a firearm is recovered at a crime scene by law enforcement and needs to know the origin of that firearm in order to develop investigative leads. Trace information can link a suspect to a firearm in a criminal investigation, identify potential traffickers, and detect international patterns in the sources and types of crime guns.

For calendar year 2015, ATF’s NTC traced more than 364,000 firearms. In Caribbean countries such as the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago there was a total of 1,362 firearms traced. In the Central American countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama a total of 8,282 guns were traced. Pistols again topped the list as the most recovered type of firearm. During that same period of time, ATF’s NTC traced 17,704 firearms recovered in Mexico, and 1,431 firearms recovered in Canada. The data is organized by the calendar year in which the respective authorities report the firearm was recovered, not the year in which the trace was initiated.

ATF is dedicated to reducing firearms trafficking and firearms-related violent crime. For more information or to view the 2015 firearms trace data, please see our web site at