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Firearms reporting


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ (ATF) National Trace Center is our nation’s only firearms tracing facility. It provides gun ownership and trafficking information to law enforcement agencies and tracks the intrastate and international movement of firearms. The gun center does not get the actual guns, and tracers don’t search for fingerprints or do other forensic work. Instead, the tracers reach out to the manufacturer to try and find the retailer. From there, the gun tracers hope to get the name of the purchaser.

The 2004 Tiahrt Amendments is a law that drastically limits the ability of ATF and other law-enforcement agencies to use and disseminate trace data. Trace data is used to link guns found at crime scenes to manufacturers, dealers that originally sold the weapon, and the identity of the weapon’s owner. Tiahrt barred ATF from disclosing any trace data to the public, shielded trace data from subpoena in civil actions, and prohibited data from being admissible as evidence in legal proceedings. Gun safety advocates say this information is basic to analyzing gun crime data and trends. They say it could help police departments track down sellers of illegal guns and solve crimes. Gun group advocates say that repealing the Tiahrt Amendment would lead to a rash of lawsuits against gun dealers.

Pending Legislation: S.974 - Gun Records Restoration and Preservation Act
Sponsor: Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ)
Status: Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Chair: Sen. Dick Durbin (IL)












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Poll Opening Date
November 22, 2021
Poll Closing Date
November 28, 2021


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