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New ATF Report on Gun Trafficking Highlights Need For Gun Industry Accountability

February 2, 2023

Report Confirms Recent Everytown Analysis: Glock is Top Manufacturer of Traced Crime Guns

WASHINGTON — Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, issued the following statements on a new report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that presents and analyzes data on “crime guns.” President Biden directed the Department of Justice to issue this new, comprehensive gun trafficking report as part of his executive actions on gun safety in April 2021, and this the first time such a report has been issued in over 20 years. 

This second volume of the National Firearms in Commerce and Trafficking Assessment report is a crucial tool in identifying the origins of crime guns and makes clear that the gun industry must be held accountable for its role in our gun violence epidemic. The report also revealed how quickly guns are trafficked into the wrong hands and used in crimes (“time-to-crime”) and makes clear the need to close the gun seller loophole, which enables unethical gun sellers to avoid obtaining a federal firearms license and having to conduct background checks. 

“Keeping guns out of criminal hands requires going right to the source — and that means holding the firearms industry accountable for their role in our gun violence crisis,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “This report underscores how the proliferation of ghost guns and trafficked guns is putting innocent Americans in the line of fire, and also how we need ATF to ramp up the pressure on anyone who is profiting off illegal firearms — including those making them.”

“The gun industry is making billions of dollars in profits every year while 110 people are shot and killed every single day and hundreds more are wounded,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “There must be accountability for those negligent sellers and illegal gun traffickers that are helping fuel this epidemic and this data from the ATF and Biden-Harris Administration is an important piece in that effort.” 

Findings from the report include:

  • Between 2017 and 2021, pistols were the most frequently traced crime guns, and of the 1,306,804 pistol crime guns traced within the U.S. during that period, nearly 20% were manufactured by Glock, 14% were manufactured by Smith & Wesson, and 12% were manufactured by Taurus.  
  • Glock 9mm pistols were the most frequently traced crime guns by make, type, and caliber, accounting for almost 7% of all crime guns traced between 2017 and 2021.
  • A recent, separate data analysis conducted by Everytown for Gun Safety in partnership with 31 members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a nonpartisan coalition of current and former mayors that is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, also found the top manufacturer in the data provided was Glock in 19 of the cities. In fact, according to data provided by the participating cities, on average, more than 1.5 times more Glocks were recovered than the second leading source of crime guns. In 2021, four gun manufacturers accounted for over half of the recovered crime guns: Glock (21.1%), Smith & Wesson (13.5%), Taurus (13.0%), and Ruger (7.0%).
  • Many crime guns moved very quickly from purchase to recovery in a crime: 46% were recovered less than 3 years after their purchase, including 9% that were recovered in under three months.
  • The number of suspected privately manufactured firearms (e.g., ghost guns) recovered by law enforcement agencies and submitted to ATF for tracing increased by 1,083% from 2017 (1,629) to 2021 (19,273). ATF attributes this dramatic rise in submissions to both increased criminal use of these firearms and enhanced awareness among law enforcement that the ATF will process trace requests for privately manufactured firearms.
  • While more than 56% of the privately made firearms recovered and traced did not include manufacturer information on any part of the firearm, of the privately made firearms with a manufacturer name identified, more than 88% were identified as Polymer80, Inc.

This continues to be the strongest gun safety administration in history, as evidenced by President Biden’s signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, confirmation of an ATF director for the first time in seven years, historic executive actions to address gun violence, his long record of taking on the NRA and passing life-saving laws, Vice President Kamala Harris’ years of gun safety advocacy, and the unmatched gun sense cabinet they have built. President Biden has prioritized gun safety since entering office, from combating deadly, untraceable ghost guns to the Department of Justice’s development of a strategy on reducing violent crime, to finalization of the stabilizing arm brace rule, to the comprehensive strategy to address gun violence that includes efforts to fight gun trafficking, investments in community violence intervention programs, and more. 

Everytown, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action continue to work with the gun safety majority in the Senate, gun sense champions in the House, and the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure robust implementation and strong enforcement of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and our gun laws as a whole.

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