On June 30, Congressman Adam Schiff introduced legislation to provide policymakers, researchers and law enforcement officials with data to help crack down on illegal guns and firearm dealers and solve violent crime.
The ATF Data and Anti-Trafficking Accountability Act would require the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and Explosives to publish an annual report on gun trafficking using data collected at its National Tracing Center. These reports include detailed analyses of what types of illegal firearms are being recovered, which dealers and geographical regions they’re being recovered from, what crimes they’re being used in, and an overview of investigations by the Dept. of Justice into how they’re being purchased and diverted into the illegal market.
“America’s gun violence crisis is compounded by the tens of thousands of firearms that find their way illegally into the hands of violent criminals or those who are not able to lawfully acquire them. There are many causes of this, and not all of them are well understood. Law enforcement and policymakers are fighting back against gun trafficking every day, but our efforts are hampered by a lack of access to good data,” said Schiff. “This bill will help develop comprehensive, critical, and up-to-date data about where these guns are coming from and where they are going, so that we can hold bad actors accountable and stem the flow of illegal firearms into our communities.”
The ATF’s National Tracing Center processes trace requests every day from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that recover illegal firearms. By collecting the make, model, caliber and serial number of these firearms, the NTC can establish how the firearm got from their importer or manufacturer to their last-known purchaser and the licensed dealer where the gun was first sold, providing them with critical investigative leads and allowing them to create links between suspects and recovered weapons.