Over the The Trace, they’re tracing the number of traces performed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (And Really Big Fires). But even the staunch gun control advocates at Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun agitprop machine have a trace of doubt about the benefits of the process . . .
Every police department in the United States has the option to submit a gun to the ATF for tracing. Historically, many departments have submitted them only in high-stakes cases. A successful gun trace provides information on where a firearm was manufactured, and who first imported or sold it. If the gun changed hands several times following its original sale, police are tasked with tracking the weapon through its various owners.
That extra legwork can disincentivize police departments from submitting guns in low-priority cases for tracing. They say that learning the provenance of the firearm isn’t not going to help them get a conviction, or that they just don’t have the time to do the research and paperwork.
The words “why bother?” spring to mind — both for someone like me who thinks the ATF should be disbanded (saving taxpayers over two billion dollars) and for law enforcement agencies, who don’t. Bother submitting firearms for an ATF trace, that is.
Both The Trace’s article and the ATF itself are not-so-curiously silent on the number of eTraces that led to a conviction. What’s the bet you can round the percentage of bad guys jailed because of one of those 400k+ eTraces — not to mention the millions of eTraces processed since 1990 — to zero?
But getting comprehensive trace information is still important for the ATF. A trace that might not help a local police department could still provide the federal agency with valuable information about how the illegal gun market functions, or perhaps shed light on a gun store connected to traffickers.
Translation: the antis want ATF data to bolster their civilian disarmament jihad. Like constantly trotting out the number of Mexican “crime guns” the ATF eTraced to America. (The Iron Pipeline!)
A stat representing a small fraction of the total number of guns confiscated by the Mexican military and police, including firearms Uncle Sam donated to the Mexican military and police that somehow went walkies, and a number of guns the ATF knowingly allowed Mexican drug thugs to buy at U.S. gun stores without intervention.
See how that works? Or, in fact, doesn’t?