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Presidential Memorandum -- Tracing of Firearms in Connection with Criminal Investigations

Presidential Memorandum -- Tracing of Firearms in Connection with Criminal Investigations

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Published by Matt Sullivan
A memorandum from the President for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies regarding tracing of firearms in connection with criminal investigations.
A memorandum from the President for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies regarding tracing of firearms in connection with criminal investigations.

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Published by: Matt Sullivan on Jan 16, 2013
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01/26/2014

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THE WHITE HOUSEOffice of the Press SecretaryFor Immediate Release January 16, 2013January 16, 2013MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIESSUBJECT: Tracing of Firearms in Connection with CriminalInvestigationsReducing violent crime, and gun-related crime in particular, isa top priority of my Administration. A key component of thiseffort is ensuring that law enforcement agencies at alllevels -- Federal, State, and local -- utilize those tools thathave proven most effective. One such tool is firearms tracing,which significantly assists law enforcement in reconstructingthe transfer and movement of seized or recovered firearms.Responsibility for conducting firearms tracing rests with theDepartment of Justice's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms,and Explosives (ATF). Over the years, firearms tracing hassignificantly assisted law enforcement in solving violent crimesand generating thousands of leads that may otherwise not havebeen available.Firearms tracing provides two principal benefits. First,tracing is an important investigative tool in individual cases,providing law enforcement agents with critical information thatmay lead to the apprehension of suspects, the recovery of otherguns used in the commission of crimes, and the identification ofpotential witnesses, among other things. Second, analysis oftracing data in the aggregate provides valuable intelligenceabout local, regional, and national patterns relating to themovement and sources of guns used in the commission of crimes,which is useful for the effective deployment of law enforcementresources and development of enforcement strategies. Firearmstracing is a particularly valuable tool in detecting andinvestigating firearms trafficking, and has been deployedto help combat the pernicious problem of firearms traffickingacross the Southwest border.The effectiveness of firearms tracing as a law enforcementintelligence tool depends on the quantity and quality ofinformation and trace requests submitted to ATF. In fiscalyear 2012, ATF processed approximately 345,000 crime-gun tracerequests for thousands of domestic and international lawenforcement agencies. The Federal Government can encourageState and local law enforcement agencies to take advantage ofthe benefits of tracing all recovered firearms, but Federal lawenforcement agencies should have an obligation to do so. IfFederal law enforcement agencies do not conscientiously traceevery firearm taken into custody, they may not only be depriving

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