Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the launch of the Track and Trace program today in a press conference.
Track and Trace is a gun tracing program that traces guns recovered by authorities in criminal investigations. Authorities trace these recovered guns back to the buyer. PA state and local representatives, law enforcement, and the ATF are all working together on this initiative to help track these firearms.
Attorney General Shapiro, along with County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, and others in attendance stated that a small number of guns in Pa are used in a large number of crimes. This is one reason for the launch of this program.
Track and Trace has a three tiered approach, to work with law enforcement, retailers, and gun owners to protect the rights of individuals second amendment, while keeping the public safe.
“I’m committed to protecting the right of a parent who wants to legally own a gun to protect their home, but I’m also committed to protecting the right of a parent who wants to walk their child to school and not be in fear of getting shot on the street on their way,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Attorney General Shapiro said there is about 1,500 gun related deaths in PA everyday, with 520 of those homicides and 940 of those suicides. Erie County has a 30 percent higher than state average for gun violence.
Some of the goals Attorney General Shapiro outlined were for the task force to meet regularly to analyse gun trends, work with consumers to prohibit illegal gun transferring to prohibited individuals (people unable to buy firearms), and to work with law enforcement and ATF to trace a guns origin.
ATF Special Agent Don Robinson, Philadelphia Field Division, stated ATF’s firearm mission is to stop gun traffickers and trigger pullers. State authorities use e-trace to track guns, and National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) to trace ballistics of weapons used in criminal investigations.
Attorney General Shaprio responded when asked if a gun is still traceable when its serial number has been filed off. His response was lab personnel have ways of raising serial numbers, and in most cases can retrieve them to continue the trace.
“It is not enough to confiscate a gun and lock it away. Somewhere, we must trace the history of that gun to determine how it ended up in the hand of that criminal. A trace, which is required by PA law, shows us who first bought the gun, and where they bought it from. This gives law enforcement an incredible amount of information to assist in the investigation,” said Attorney General Shapiro.