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Most U.S. police skip help on gun-tracking

Aug. 21, 2007 at 10:27 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Almost two-thirds of some 17,000 U.S. local law enforcement agencies don't request gun-tracking information from a federal agency that provides it.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will provide "trace information" on weapons to police and sheriff's departments provided is related to the investigation of an individual crime, USA Today reported Tuesday.

However, the ATF receives almost all requests from the same 6,000 agencies each year.

"There may be law enforcement agencies out there not asking for it because they don't think they have access to it," said ATF Acting Director Michael Sullivan.

The national Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, led in part by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, wants broader access to the trace information, saying bulk analysis, rather than case-by-case releases would help target illegal gun dealers better, the report said.

In response, Sullivan told USA Today while his agency isn't allowed to do bulk releases of data, there's nothing stopping local agencies from sharing the information they receive.

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