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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

Contact: ATF Public Information Division

(202) 927-8500

November 30, 2000

Treasury Releases Report On 1999 Crime Gun Traces

The Treasury Department today announced the third annual results of the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' (ATF) Youth Crime Gun Interdiction
Initiative (YCGII), which last year traced more than 64,000 crime guns
recovered in 38 cities, advanced investigations leading to the arrests
of firearms violators and traffickers, and provided law enforcement officials
the best picture to date of the crime gun problem.

In 1996, President Clinton issued a directive establishing the YCGII,
a collaborative program between ATF, state and local law enforcement and
prosecutors, to identify and reduce the illegal supply of firearms to
youth and juveniles. YCGII was developed in response to the tripling of
the juvenile firearms homicide rate from 1985-1994. This year's findings
are published in one national report (covering 32 cities with populations
greater than 250,000) and individual reports specific to each city involved
in the program.

"Investments in crime gun tracing by law enforcement are clearly
paying off," said Secretary Lawrence H. Summers. "Firearms tracing
has proven itself to be a powerful enforcement tool that leads ATF agents,
inspectors and police nationwide directly to criminals, gun traffickers,
and violent felons."

The reports are a tool for law enforcement and prosecutors to identify
local, regional, and national crime gun trends, and develop enforcement
strategies tailored to the needs of specific areas. They are also useful
to federally licensed firearms dealers who can use the information in
the reports to develop sounder and safer business practices. The reports'
findings also inform the public about the crime gun problem and the enforcement
activities addressing it.

ATF Director Bradley A. Buckles said, "Technology has opened a new
era in attacking the criminal misuse of firearms. Crime gun and ballistics
information gives ATF and our partners powerful new tools to solve and
prevent violent crime."

Findings of this year's reports include:

bullet Approximately
43 percent of crime guns traced were recovered from individuals under
25 years old. Of those traced guns, approximately 9 percent were recovered
from juveniles (ages 17 and under), and 34 percent from youth (ages 18-24).

bullet Approximately
11 percent of traced guns were recovered from possessors who had purchased
those firearms from Federal firearms licensees. About 89 percent of traced
crime guns changed hands at least once before recovery by law enforcement.
Such transactions may be lawful or unlawful.

bullet Handguns
sold by licensed gun dealers during transactions involving the transfer
of more than one firearm accounted for 22 percent of guns traced in 1999.

bullet Newer guns,
those manufactured in the U.S. from 1993-1999, account for more than half
of all crime guns traced in YCGII.

bullet Semiautomatic
pistols are used more frequently in crime than other types of firearms,
and account for 50 percent of all traced guns.

bullet Law enforcement
recovered approximately 62 percent of all traced guns in the state where
the firearms were originally purchased from a licensed firearms dealer.

bullet Nationally,
there are two major "south to north" trafficking patterns. The
first is on the East Coast, and flows from the South to Washington (DC),
Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. The second pattern flows from South
to Memphis, St. Louis, and Chicago.

bullet Ten firearms,
by manufacturer, caliber, and type, accounted for 24 percent of all trace
requests, while over 1,500 firearms and 87 calibers accounted for the
remaining crime guns.

The 38 cities included in the 2000 ATF Crime Gun Reports are Atlanta,
Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Bridgeport (CT), Charlotte-Mecklenburg,
Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver-Aurora, Detroit, Gary,
Houston, Jersey City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Miami,
Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oakland (CA), Omaha, Philadelphia,
Phoenix, Portland, Richmond, Salinas, San Antonio, San Jose, St. Louis,
Seattle, Tampa, Tucson and Washington, D.C.

Next year, the YCGII will include trace data from 50 localities. It is
anticipated that the program will include the following new cities: Albuquerque;
Austin (TX); Baton Rouge; a triad of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High
Point (NC); Indianapolis; Jacksonville (FL); a triad of Long Beach, Anaheim
and Santa Ana (CA); Nashville; Newark; Oklahoma City; Pittsburgh; and
Stockton (CA).

The crime gun trace reports are available through ATF's Public Information
Division, (202) 927-8500, or on the Internet at