When guns are recovered at crime scenes, officials can trace them back through the chain of custody using the federal system. But a lack of consistent requirements across the country undermines this critical tool to help stop gun trafficking. These 12 states require law enforcement to trace every crime gun they recover; Delaware, Illinois, and New Jersey also require that ballistics evidence be entered into a separate federal database. A full discussion on Crime Gun Tracing and Gun Trafficking is here.
Between 2017 and 2021, the United States recovered over 1.4 million crime guns—with nearly 400,000 of those guns having crossed state lines after they were purchased.