Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

May 11, 2010

Contact: Michael Hoffman, Special Agent – PIO

Office: (818) 265-2507

Cell: (951) 538-4803

ATF Posts 2009 Los Angeles Crime Gun Data

Crime Gun Statistics Available On-Line

LOS ANGELES — John Torres, Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announces the release of aggregate trace data for crime guns recovered in Los Angeles and submitted to ATF for tracing for calendar year 2009.

A review of the trace data compiled from January 1 to December 31, 2009 (from a data set run between March 29, 2010 and May 3, 2010) of several regions within Southern California revealed the following:

  • 32,964 crime guns were recovered by statewide California law enforcement agencies and submitted to ATF to be traced.
  • 16,162 firearms were traced by Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies with the majority traced by the LA County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department.
  • Statewide, recovered handguns outnumbered long guns by nearly 2 to 1.
  • 50% of all firearms recovered in California were recovered in Los Angeles County, and 21% were from the City of Los Angeles.
  • In Los Angeles, recovered handguns outnumbered long guns by more than 2 ½ to 1.
  • 1,238 crime guns were traced by Orange County law enforcement agencies in 2009.
  • 1,521 crime guns were traced by Los Angeles ATF Agents as part of ongoing investigations in 2009.
  • There were over 3,000 crime guns recovered and traced in Southern California from youths 18-24 years of age.

A key component of ATF’s enforcement mission is the tracing of firearms on behalf of the thousands of nationwide federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement agencies. Analyzing the comprehensive trace results gives ATF Los Angeles the ability to track illegal trafficking patterns and dismantle the organizations that put firearms into gang members and violent felons’ hands. ATF also gains insight regarding the types of criminal offenses committed in Southern California.

ATF views the most pertinent information gathered from a firearms trace as the individual purchaser and the time-to-crime (TTC) statistic. The TTC refers to the time period from the initial sale of the weapon by the federal firearms licensee to its recovery by law enforcement. Every gun with a TTC of less than two (2) years is looked at by ATF analysts, with an intense focus on those guns with a TTC of less than one (1) year. Time-to-crime less than one year may be a very strong indicator of illegal firearms trafficking.

I attribute our successes as a federal agency to the positive interaction and collaboration with our state and local partners in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Tracing this amount of guns has given us a good baseline in determining the source of crime guns in Southern California. We are following up diligently on these leads, said Torres. On January 1, 2002, the state of California enacted mandatory crime gun tracing through ATF.

Guns Recovered by Police Agencies in California & Traced by ATF [a]
State of California Los Angeles County City of Los Angeles Notes
Trace Totals 32,964 16,405 50% 6,882 21% (% based on % of total CA traces)
Handguns 21,312 65% 10,699 65% 4,947 72% (% based on % of State, County or City traces, i.e. 65% of guns recovered in LA County were handguns)
Long Guns [b] 11,580 35% 5,785 35% 1,925 28% (% based on % of State, County or City traces, i.e. 35% of guns recovered in LA County were long guns)
  1. The Southern California Regional Crime Gun Center validated trace data for these entries prior to submission to the NTC. Date of study is 1/1/09-12/31/09
  2. (Rifles, Shotguns, Destructive Devices, Machine Guns)

The below chart reflects firearm traces submitted by police agencies in several counties of the ATF LAFD area of responsibility for the current year and the preceding years of 2007 & 2008.

ATF, LAFD Trace Summary, by county. Dataset to follow.

ATF, LAFD Trace Summary, by County
County Year Total
2007 2008 2009
Los Angeles 9,876 13,479 16,162 39,517
San Diego 983 1,109 1,793 3,885
Orange 594 450 1,238 2,282
San Louis Obisbo 14 50 352 416
Ventura 413 427 435 1,275
Riverside 1,009 869 1,145 3,023