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Sole crime gun tracing facility in the country helps solve crimes

Posted at 4:28 PM, Dec 18, 2017

A program aimed at finding out where guns used in crimes were purchased is helping solve those cases. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Tracing Center is the country's only crime gun tracing facility. The goal is to trace guns used in crimes and provide investigative leads for law enforcement agencies to help solve those crimes.

The tracing begins when a police department discovers a firearm at a crime scene and contacts the ATF for help in finding out the background of the gun. ATF agents trace the guns back to the first point of retail sale. 

The NTC is only authorized to trace a firearm for a law enforcement agency involved in a bona fide criminal investigation. 

ATF Public Information Officer Suzanne Dabkowski said the program does help solve crimes.

"It helps a lot. The shorter time to the crime for the firearm. People still remember," said Dabkowski. "It can lead to someone who knows something about what happened," added Dabkowski.

Last year, more than 10,000 guns were recovered and traced in Ohio.