Posted 9 months ago on Feb. 15, 2013, 7:39 p.m. EST by Shayneh
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
ATF’s National Tracing Center
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Tracing Center (NTC) is the country’s only crime gun tracing facility. As such, the NTC provides critical information that helps domestic and international law enforcement agencies solve firearms crimes, detect firearms trafficking and track the intrastate, interstate and international movement of crime guns.
Pursuant to the Gun Control Act of 1968, ATF is the sole federal agency that is authorized to conduct firearms tracing. The NTC is authorized to trace a firearm for a law enforcement agency involved in a bona fide criminal investigation. Several programs within the NTC receive, manage and disseminate firearms information in conjunction with firearms tracing to support the international law enforcement community in the effort to combat violent crime and firearms trafficking.
Mission Firearms Tracing: The firearms tracing process is a valuable service provided by ATF to the global law enforcement community. Firearms tracing is the systematic tracking of the movement of a recovered firearm 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 discovers a firearm at a crime scene and wishes to know the origin of that firearm in order to develop investigative leads. That information helps to link a suspect to a firearm in a criminal investigation; identify potential traffickers; and, when sufficiently comprehensive tracing is undertaken in a given community, detect in-state, interstate and international patterns in the sources and kinds of crime guns. ATF processed more than 340,000 crime-gun trace requests for thousands of domestic and international law enforcement agencies in fiscal year 2009.
ATF traces U.S.-sourced firearms recovered in foreign countries for law enforcement agencies in those countries. eTrace 4.0: This web-based, bi-lingual (English and Spanish) firearms tracing system is available to accredited domestic and international law enforcement agencies to assist in the tracing of U.S.-sourced firearms. eTrace is a paperless firearms trace request submission system and an interactive firearms trace analysis tool that provides an electronic exchange of crime gun incident-based data in a secure web-based environment. Through eTrace, law enforcement agencies can electronically submit firearms trace requests, monitor the progress of traces, retrieve completed trace results and query firearms trace-related data. eTrace includes analytical and download capabilities for ATF’s firearms trace information, including selective field searches and statistical reporting.
eTrace has registered more than 2,800 law enforcement agencies, including agencies in 29 foreign countries. The eTrace system currently has more than 17,000 individual law enforcement user accounts. International tracing supports joint law enforcement projects through programs such as the Southwest Border Initiative and the Caribbean Community Initiative. Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) Theft/Loss Program: FFLs are required by law to report to ATF the theft or loss of firearms inventory. In turn, ATF investigates such thefts, seeks prosecution where appropriate and manages the recovery of firearms. Each year, thousands of firearms are reported as lost or stolen. The Stolen Firearms Program works to identify and track firearms recoveries. ATF’s program ensures that appropriate notifications are provided, firearms are identified, and support is available. The program supports affected FFLs and investigators of firearms thefts, including those within ATF, the U.S. military and domestic and international law enforcement agencies. Interstate Theft Program: ATF maintains the Interstate Theft Program, which is a voluntary reporting program that handles the theft or loss of firearms from interstate shipments. Since there is no legal reporting requirement regarding such activity, there is a risk that these thefts will not be reported or investigated because of questions regarding jurisdiction. ATF provides a standard form and process by which the shipper, carrier and/or consignee can report such losses. Under the program, hundreds of reports of thefts and losses from interstate shipments are received, managed and disseminated to ATF offices around the country for investigation each year. Obliterated Serial Number Program: ATF provides serialization and other firearms identification forensics expertise to assist in the positive identification of firearms when serial numbers have been partially obliterated or have been partially recovered. ATF’s Obliterated Serial Number Program allows law enforcement agencies to identify recovered firearms whose origins have been masked by serial number destruction or alteration. ATF uses the recovery information to identify firearms trafficking patterns and related crimes. Out-of-Business Records: Federal firearms licensees (FFLs) that discontinue business are required by law to send all firearms transaction records to the NTC. Out-of-business records are integral in the firearms tracing process and other law enforcement investigations. The NTC receives an average of 1.3 million out-of-business records per month. Since 1968, ATF has received several hundred million such records. ATF’s Out-of-Business Records repository is the only one of its kind in the world. Records Search Requests: ATF utilizes out-of-business FFL records to assist in the investigation of firearm thefts when incomplete identifying information is available. ATF receives thousands of such requests each year from law enforcement jurisdictions where an individual firearm owner has no record of the firearms identifiers and the FFL from whom the owner purchased the firearm is no longer in business. These records have proved pivotal in other criminal investigations as well. Multiple Sales Program: FFLs are required by statute to report to ATF the sale of two or more handguns to the same purchaser within five consecutive business days. These reports are submitted to the NTC on a standard ATF form. The NTC receives an average of 194,756 reports of multiple sales from FFLs each year. These reports, when cross-referenced with crime gun trace information, serve as an important indicator in the detection of illegal firearms trafficking. They also allow successful tracing of older firearms that have re-entered the retail market.
The NTC is located in Martinsburg, W.Va., approximately 90 miles fromWashington, D.C. The facility houses ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch (which includes ATF’s Firearms Reference Library), the Federal Firearms Licensing Center, the Federal Explosives Licensing Center, the National Firearms Act Branch, the Imports Branch, the Brady Operations Branch and the Violent Crime Analysis Branch.
You can find all the info you want with regard to ATF firearms stats on the link below: There is way more info out there with regard to "tracking firearms" then you are lead to believe.
For more information about the NTC, go to www.atf.gov.