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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Fact Sheet

Field Division: 

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 1, 2013
Contact: Public Affairs Divisionwww

ATF Fact Sheet - National Tracing Center

The Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968 requires federal firearms licensees (FFLs) to report multiple sales of handguns to the same purchaser [18 U.S.C. § 923(g)(3)]. The sale of two or more handguns must be reported if they occur at the same time, or within five business days of each other.

In August 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was authorized by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to initiate similar reporting requirements on the multiple sales related to certain rifles for a period of three years. Multiple Sales For Certain Rifles requires all federal firearms licensees in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas to submit reports of multiple sales or other dispositions to an unlicensed individual of two or more rifles within five consecutive business days having the following characteristics: (1) semiautomatic; (2) a caliber greater than .22 (including .223/5.56 mm); and (3) the ability to accept detachable magazines.

ATF has long used multiple sales information to detect, investigate, and prevent firearms trafficking. ATF views the recovery of one or more firearms used in crimes that were part of a multiple purchase as an indicator of firearms trafficking, particularly if one of the firearms was recovered a short time after the multiple sale occurred (known as a short time–to–crime).

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