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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

May 31, 2012


Contact: ATF Public Affairs Division

(202) 648-8500

ATF Releases United States Firearms Trace Data for 2011

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today released firearms trace data for all individual states and territories for calendar year 2011.

Firearms tracing is the systematic tracking of a recovered firearm as it moves from its manufacturer or introduction into U.S. commerce by the importer through the distribution chain (wholesaler/retailer) to the first retail purchase. A firearms trace is typically conducted when a law enforcement agency recovers a firearm at a crime scene and needs to know the origin of that firearm in order to develop investigative leads. That information can help to link a suspect to a firearm in a criminal investigation, identify potential traffickers, and detect in–state, interstate and international patterns in the sources and types of crime guns.

ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC) is the nation’s only crime gun tracing facility. The NTC provides critical information that assists domestic and international law enforcement agencies solve firearms crimes, detect firearms trafficking and identify trends with respect to intrastate, interstate and international movement of crime guns. The NTC traced more than 319,000 crime guns in calendar year 2011.

ATF is dedicated to reducing firearms trafficking and firearms–related violent crime.

Last month ATF released trace information for firearms recovered in Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. For more information or to view the 2011 firearms trace data, please see our web site at