ATF: Average “Time to Crime” for “Crime Guns” is 11.2 Years

 ATF-recovered guns (courtesy

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) has just released their 2012 statistics on “crime guns.” Click here to view the “firearms trace data.” Note the difference between the term “crime guns” and “firearms trace data.” There isn’t any. The ATF labels any gun run through their eTrace system a “crime gun”—whether or not it was used in a crime. For example, firearms reported stolen (but not used in a crime) and firearms “observed” by law enforcement at a gun show (but not used in a crime). As Wikipedia reports, info from this intentionally misleading statistical sample is inherently flawed, anyway . . .

Firearms trace data, however, are limited and may be biased by several factors:

• traced firearms are generally recovered by law enforcement, and they may not be representative of firearms possessed and used by criminals;

• there remains significant variation over time and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction as to “when, why, and how” a firearm is recovered and selected to be traced; and

• a substantial percentage of recovered firearms cannot be successfully traced for several reasons

In the lead-up to the death of US Border Patrol Brian Terry in 2010—gunned down by drug thugs wielding firearms enabled by the ATF—the Bureau was shamelessly, maliciously manipulating data on the guns recovered by the Mexican police and armed forces.

The ATF intentionally left out non-eTraced guns recovered at Mexican crime scenes (including thousands of fully-automatic firearms sold to the Mexican police and Army by the U.S. government) to claim that 90 percent of all guns used by Mexican cartel members came from US gun stores. They labelled this transfer the “iron river.”

It was bullshit. The ATF was eventually forced to walk back the numbers. And now, once again, the ATF’s manipulating stats to fluff its feathers and assist gun grabbers seeking to portray America as awash in “crime guns.” Here’s the Bureau’s press release on the stats:

ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC) is the nation’s only crime gun tracing facility. The NTC provides critical information that assists domestic and international law enforcement agencies solve firearms crimes, detect firearms trafficking and identify trends with respect to intrastate, interstate and international movement of crime guns. The NTCtraced more than 344,000 crime guns in calendar year 2012.

See? There were 344 thousand crime guns in 2012! If you’re looking for a shred of truth in the ATF’s anti-gun agit-prop click here and then click on the bottom link to check out their “time to crime” numbers. 

According to the survey, the average “time to crime” (the period between first sale and police recovery) is 11.2 years. That’s the average. Even if we accept the idea that all the guns in this database were actually used in a crime, which we can’t, we can only conclude that criminals are using old guns.

Or hold onto their guns for a long, long time. If you turned off the metaphorical spigot today it would still take more than a decade to see any appreciable drop in criminal access to firearms.

Statistically speaking. that’s a stupid statement. But the main point remains: the ATF are a bunch of lying jack-booted thugs who will stop at nothing to subvert Americans’ gun rights. The sooner the ATF is folded into the FBI, loses its power as a federal agency and disappears, the better.