Reports released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) on Wednesday show traces of crime guns that originated in the United States but ended up in Mexico or Central America were down by a wide margin in 2016.
One report shows traces of U.S.-sourced Mexican crime guns by the ATF’s National Tracing Center dropped from 17,784 in 2015 to 13,452, a decline of more than 4,300 traces or nearly 25 percent. That’s the fewest number of Mexican crime guns the ATF has traced in at least the last five years. The previous low point came in 2013 when the ATF traced 16,053 Mexican crime guns.
Similar reports from 2015 and 2016 show ATF traces of U.S.-sourced crime guns found in Central American countries down as well. Traces done in cooperation with the government of El Salvador fell from 4,068 in 2015 to 2,718 in 2016, a 33 percent decrease. Traces done in cooperation with the government of Panama fell from 688 in 2015 to 152 in 2016, a 77 percent decrease. Traces from Guatemala also saw a decrease of about 20 percent.