Guns Found Here
The cop shows might have lied to us by making gun tracing seem fast and easy. When a gun needs to be traced, the information is sent all the way to the Firearms Tracing Division, which is located in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
The Gun Control Act established this division back in 1968 in response to various high profile assassinations.
Currently there are 67 million pages to look through and each page represents one firearm. The amount of paper is so overwhelming that thousands of boxes are stored in the parking lot inside shipping containers.
With more gun stores that McDonald’s, Starbucks, and supermarkets combined, there are a lot of pages that have to be sorted through. The National Tracing center handles roughly 8,000 traces per day and each one is related to a crime that was committed with that particular firearm.
Every time a licensed dealer goes out of business the law requires that the owner turn over all the records to the tracing center. Sometimes the records arrive damaged by fire or flooding, and sometimes they arrive written on toilet paper. Nothing can be thrown away because they may contain critical information that could help in a criminal investigation.
The National Rifle Association lobbied congress in 1986 to prohibit the creation of a national gun registry without realizing that what they saw as an invasion of privacy could actually save lives.
At this time the ATF National Tracing Center receives about two million records per month.
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