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IACP Project Safe Neighborhoods -- eTrace: Internet-Based Firearms Tracing and Analysis

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2016
2 pages
This Fact Sheet outlines the features of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives' (ATF's) eTrace method for tracking recovered firearms from the manufacturer/importer to the wholesaler or retailer and finally to an unlicensed purchaser.
This effort is part of the ATF's involvement in the International Association of Chiefs of Police's (IACP's) Project Safe Neighborhood's (PSN's), which aims to improve law enforcement's capacity to interdict firearms trafficking and disrupt gang activity. In 2005, the ATF National Training Center introduced eTrace as a web-based application that tracks recovered firearms. In 2009, ATF released eTrace 4.0, a bilingual (English/Spanish) version of the system. eTrace is provided free to authorized law enforcement agencies 24 hours a day 7 days a week. To participate, a law enforcement agency must register and sign a memorandum of understanding with ATF. Data from the interactive trace analysis module can be used to link a suspect to a firearm in a criminal investigation, identify potential traffickers, and detect domestic and international patterns related to sources and types of firearms. eTrace provides real-time data that enables law enforcement agencies to submit electronic firearms trace requests, monitor the progress of traces, retrieve completed trace results, and query firearms trace-related data in the Firearms Tracing System database. 2 notes