ATF Releases 2016 U.S. Firearms Trace Data Report

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WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) released firearms trace data today for all U.S. states and territories for calendar year 2016. Data was gathered from ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC), which is the nation’s only crime gun tracing facility. Trace data relates to firearms recovered by law enforcement. For calendar year 2016, the NTC traced more than 364,000 firearms.

In 2016, 289,223 firearms were recovered and traced in the United States, of which 211,384 were traced to a final retail purchaser. Comparatively, in 2015, 271,018 firearms were recovered and traced in the United States, of which 190,538 were traced to a final retail purchaser. The majority of the traces involved 9 mm (more than 67,000) and .22 caliber (more than 35,000) firearms. The top three types of firearms traced last year were pistols (more than 172,000 traces), revolvers (more than 44,000 traces) and rifles (more than 40,000 traces).

Trace information provides valuable investigative leads to law enforcement and can link a suspect to a firearm in a criminal investigation. Firearms traces help identify potential firearms traffickers by detecting in-state, interstate and international firearms trafficking patterns, including the sources and types of crime guns; specific trend data for ATF and its law enforcement partners, and information on the movement of a firearm from the manufacturer or importer through the distribution chain to identify its first retail purchaser.

The released firearms trace data offers a description of firearms recovered and traced in each state along with the source states of the firearms recovered.

In addition to recovered and traced firearms per state, the report includes recovery location information, the average time from first purchaser to recovery in a crime, and the criminal offense associated with the firearm.

ATF is dedicated to reducing firearms trafficking and firearms-related violent crime. For more information on ATF or to view the 2016 firearms trace data, please see our web site at

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